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GPC tells practices to ‘consider value’ of new QOF workload

The BMA has advised GPs to ‘consider the value of each QOF point’ before deciding to implement the extra work under the Government’s proposed contract deal for 2013/14.

In stark advice to practices, the union advised that practices ‘would do well to consider’ what each point is worth and ‘make their own decision’ on what is worthwhile in light of the workload that would be required to achieve it.

The advice raises the prospect that practices will decide that some new QOF work is not worth the effort, undermining previous high performance levels since the launch of the framework.

In a letter to practices sent out last night, the GPC outlined a list of ‘unworkable’ QOF indicators proposed by the Department of Health and first revealed by Pulse, including those that would add extra workload or rely on services that are not universally available or will lead to repetitive or inappropriate questioning.

It also raised concern over the retirement of some process indicators in the areas of blood pressure, epilepsy and hypertension which are clinically relevant, but will now need to be done without any resource.

The letter said: ‘The proposal to impose all clinical QOF recommendations, without reference to our negotiations, means that these important practical considerations are not likely to be taken on board, which will cause huge problems for both practices and patients. It also risks undermining the confidence the profession and patients have in QOF as a whole.

‘If these changes are made to QOF, practices would do well to consider the value of each QOF point (worth £133.76 in England in 2012-2013) and make their own decisions about whether it is worthwhile engaging in the associated work.’

‘The GPC will ensure the Government receives all of these concerns as part of our response to its consultation.’

Earlier this month, the DH launched a formal consultation with stakeholders finally outlining the full range of changes it wants to push through to the 2013/14 GP contract, including raising QOF thresholds for 20 indicators, introducing a raft of new indicators and altering the way the value of QOF points are calculated.