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QOF to be removed in Scotland by 2017, promises health minister

The Scottish Government has committed to completely removing QOF from the GP contract by 2017, the minister for health in Scotland announced today.

Speaking at the RCGP’s annual conference, Scottish health secretary Shona Robison said the QOF’s ‘time had passed’ and confirmed her department was working with the BMA to develop an alternative system in time for the new Scottish contract to be implemented in 2017.

Describing plans for the new contract, which will be three years and is set to radically overhaul general practice in Scotland, Ms Robison said: ’I can..  announce today that I’ve instructed my officials to work with the BMA to dismantle the Quality and Outcomes Framework in preparation for the new contract in 2017.’

She added: ’We’ll do that by developing a transitional arrangement for quality in 16/17 in Scotland. The QOF has delivered many innovations but its time has passed. Scotland’s GPs need a new and different future starting in 2016.’

Ms Robison said she wanted the new system to be based on ’values-driven governance that reflects and is sensitive to the different needs of different communuties you serve, allowing the  best use of expertise to be shared across clusters of practices’.

The removal of QOF in Scotland has been on the cards in the past few months, after the Scottish LMCs conference voted for the framework to be removed in March, a motion that was supported by the GPC.

Under proposals being looked at by Scottish ministers, GPs will move ‘as close to salaried as possible’, and will give up employing practice staff and potentially have contractual limits set on their workload.