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QOF should be scrapped but metrics retained, says Jeremy Hunt


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The QOF should be scrapped, however the metrics should still be measured, former health secretary Jeremy Hunt told Pulse Live today.

The chair of the House of Commons health committee made the comments during his keynote interview at Pulse’s flagship conference, held on Monday and Tuesday this week in London.

He said that ‘we should look at scrapping QOF’ and there should be ‘freedom and flexibility’ about how money is spent in general practice.

He told GPs: ‘I think we should still measure all of the things that we measure in QOF, and be completely transparent about what proportion of patients are getting their diabetes tests and so on.

‘But we should look at replacing it with [contracts] which basically say that based on people’s availability and in regards to social deprivation, you might get £500 pounds a year for everyone between 80 and 90 and £7 a year for everyone under 14, whatever it is.’

He added: ‘Just try to give people sums of money and then give them the freedom and flexibility and then be completely transparent about the metrics that matter to the NHS.’ 

Pulse revealed this month that stricter QOF thresholds will see a number of GP practices lose tens of thousands in income from child immunisations – including one practice set to lose £66,000.

During an evidence session last month for the health and social care committee’s inquiry into the future of general practice, inquiry leader Mr Hunt asked RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall if it was ‘time to scrap QOF’, to which Professor Marshall said: ‘Yes, from a college perspective, I think we should.’

Professor Marshall added at the time that the current system ‘doesn’t make sense whatsoever’.

Mr Hunt previously expressed a wish to scrap QOF back in 2014 at an NHS Clinical Commissioners conference. However, the framework was still in place when his tenure as health secretary came to an end in 2018.

Parts of QOF and the IIF were suspended and income-protected until this month to free up GP capacity for delivery of the expanded Covid booster programme.

It comes as Mr Hunt and the BMA have joined forces to launch a new campaign titled ‘Rebuild General Practice’.

Speaking at a launch event for the campaign last month, the former health secretary said the ‘Uberisation’ of general practice – with continuity being lost in favour of convenience – is the wrong way to go and will harm patient safety and care.

READERS' COMMENTS [7]

Nisha Nair 26 April, 2022 7:24 pm

My worry is that if QOF income stops more surgeries will close down unless that money is added to core contract depending on previous year’s QOF income. If we get paid only £7 for a child, that is another hit on the income. Children use GP surgeries a lot.

Patrufini Duffy 26 April, 2022 7:49 pm

There is obviously a general idea that someone in the DoH / set of advisers that do not want UK General Practice to exist. And do not want UK doctors to stay or flourish. Let’s say some Yale and Harvard graduates, who got in like snipers? Might be good for Pulse to explore who really is puppeting this, what’s the conversation being had over wine and canapés, you know, in the Cayman Islands or an investment bank or health insurers back door?

Wendy Kitching 27 April, 2022 9:55 am

He is just clearly showing his poor understanding. Payment based on age is nonsense as in the most deprived areas with the poorest health outcomes people aren’t living till they are 85 ! We need that extra income 20 years earlier than the leafy suburbs of London as that is when our patients become unwell. Age based income will simply increase health inequalities

Kosta MANIS 27 April, 2022 12:14 pm

Asking Jeremy Hunt to help save the NHS is like asking Putin to lead a Build Back Ukraine campaign.
For the record, on 21 July 2016, the front page of the BMJ showed a smiling Jeremy Hunt stepping over the ruins of the NHS with the caption What’s the plan Jeremy? (https://www.bmj.com/content/354/bmj.i4036). The picture could easily be from Mariupol today after another Russian bombardment.
It is beyond comprehension why the BMA is rehabilitates this man, responsible among others for shredding project Cygnus, meant to protect us from ….pandemics!
No doubt this scion of the noble Hunt family will come out of the enquiry led by the Rt Hon Baroness Heather Halletts smelling roses and with a gong.
Well done BMA!

David Turner 27 April, 2022 1:28 pm

The QOF should be scrapped…….

I agree. Why then Jeremy did you not scrap it when you were in a position to do so, instead now bleating about it from the side lines where you have no power to do anything about it?

Kevlar Cardie 27 April, 2022 2:42 pm

Wake up, people.

This has nothing to do with Hunt’s supposed “passion” for the NHS and everything to do with him playing a modest hand as well as possible before a Tory leadership election: keeps him in the public eye with favourable purrings from the Tory shires.

He won’t give a monkey’s if he becomes their next vleader.

Patrufini Duffy 27 April, 2022 3:27 pm

I agree Kevlar. He scrapped enough in tenure with Prof Field et Al.