GP practices in Leeds have been given permission to drop the majority of QOF for the rest of this reporting year to free up ‘headroom and clinical capacity’.
The move agreed between Leeds LMC and the three CCGs will allow practices to drop 80% of QOF requirements and be paid at either their 2016/17 achievement rate or their 2015/16 year end – whichever is highest.
In a letter to practices GP and commissioning leaders say the decision should allow practices to ‘meet demand for urgent appointments’ without a significant impact on patient care.
GPC deputy chair and assistant medical secretary of Leeds LMC, Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse the move was possible because the Leeds CCGs had fully delegated commissioning.
He said: ‘Removing the need for practices to chase QOF targets so that they can focus on patient care is the right decision.’
And he added: ‘We have called on NHS England to do the same, as well as ensure they continue to put pressure on central government to deliver additional resources that GP services badly need.’
NHS England chief Simon Stevens have admitted QOF has ‘reached the end of its useful life’ and are working on a replacement for 2018/19. Last month Jeremy Hunt pledged to ’release GP time’ to support urgent care, with a hastily deleted tweet from the official DH channels suggesting the QOF reporting deadline would be extended by a few weeks.
Last month Welsh health secretary Vaughan Gething announced practices could opt out of any QOF indicators, except flu vaccinations and the domains related to practices working in clusters, until April.
What is the opt-out?
The letter states: ‘Practices will have the option of flexibility to suspend some elements of routine QOF related workload for the remaining 16/17 period.
The highest of 2015/16 or 2016/17 will be used to calculate next financial year’s aspirational payment, but the letter recognises many practices may have already completed elements of the QOF.
But Leeds practices must continue reporting six domains through to 31 March:
- Maintenance of all validated disease registers
- Influenza targets (CHD007, STIA009,DM018,COPD007)
- Cervical Cytology targets CS002
- Palliative care: PC002
- Cancer: CAN003
- Areas related to treatment and diagnosis including AF006/007; HF002/003/004;PAD004; MH009/MH 010