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QOF activity could become unprofitable, accountants warn



Accountants have warned that reforms to the QOF indicators mean GPs might have to pick and choose activity to stay profitable.

The BMA revealed last week that practices will face a £31,000 gap in QOF funding next year unless they work much harder under the proposed contract deal.

Bob Senior, head of medical services at accountancy firm RSM Tenon, told Pulse removing points from the organisational to the clinical domain would hit practices hard.

‘Increasing the thresholds will undoubtedly make the business case for carrying out some work difficult to justify,’ he said.

Dr Gavin Jamie, a GP in Swindon who runs the QOF Database website, agreed that some of the ‘observing indicators’ such as checking weight in diabetes and smoking status would not be worth it.

He said: ‘The payment per patient is in pennies. It’ll become the case that if it’s in front of you it might be worth doing, but not much more than that.’

Dr Una Duffy, chair of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire LMC, said her practice was already looking at what activity it could stop before April, and urged the GPC to take action.

She said: ‘GPs are between a rock and a hard place trying to save money but offer services to patients. We need to draw a line in the sand somewhere and we don’t seem to be doing that. Nothing happens and we’re faced with more of the same changes – we need to act.’

This comes after the GPC tempered calls for a possible boycott of commissioning from LMC leaders. 

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman told a behind-closed-doors LMC Secretaries’ Conference last week that so many GPs are already committed to CCGs that a boycott ‘wouldn’t work’.

The GPC is awaiting final details of the formal consultation on the GP contract changes for 2013/14 from the Department of Health before deciding what course of action to take.