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GPs face cut in value of QOF points per patient, experts claim

The amount practices are paid per point under QOF is likely to fall under the Department of Health’s plans to revise the way they are calculated, GP experts claim.

The move will mean that the way QOF payments are calculated will be updated to reflect the current average list size, but GPs say this will mean the points value per patient will fall over time.

The DH says that the value of QOF points has been inflated by 16% because the average list size has increased over time, but the way QOF payments has been weighted is still based on list sizes from 2002.

In a letter to the GPC published today, the DH said it proposed to reform the Contractor Population Index weighting calculation to reflect current list sizes from April 2013. It also says that they plan to artificially increase the published price per QOF point by 16% to reflect the increase in value to practices since the framework was introduced.

The CPI is used to allocate QOF payments to practices relative to their list size, and any increase in average list size would reduce the amount practices would receive for the QOF activity.

The letter to Dr Laurence Buckman says: ‘The current reward of a QOF point is now around 16% higher than the stated face value of each point because the list size weighting no longer reflects average practice list size but rather reflects the position in 2002. 

‘The Department therefore proposes to increase the face value price of a QOF point in 2013/14 by 16% to recognise the actual price that is paid to the average practice.

‘At the same time we propose to reform the CPI weighting so that from 2013/14 onwards it is based on the actual average practice list size at the start of the last quarter before the financial year in question so that the price of QOF is transparent. This would be a cost neutral change in 2013/14.’

Dr Gavin Jamie, a GP in Swindon who runs the QOF Database website, said the change would mean that unless there are annual increases in the value of QOF indicators GPs will lose out.

He said: ‘This is really nasty. The points value per patient will fall unless negotiations go really well.’