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NHS England to top up practices’ QOF payments if impacted by Covid-19

NHS England will make a ‘one-off adjustment’ for practices who earn less this year as a result of coronavirus (Covid-19) activities, it has announced.

In a letter sent to GP practices today, NHS England medical director for primary care Dr Nikki Kanani and director for primary care strategy and NHS contracts Ed Waller said that an analysis will take place to determine the impact of the virus on QOF activity.

They said: ‘QOF activity for 2019/20 is largely complete and QOF calculations will be made as usual.

‘However, given the priority that may need to be given to Covid-19 work, we will undertake a piece of analysis to confirm the impact and will make a one-off adjustment for practices who earned less in 2019/20 than 2018/19 as a result of Covid-19 activities.’

The letter added that QOF income for 2020/21 will be protected ‘as necessary’ to respond to the outbreak.

Annual patient reviews – including those under QOF – can be ‘deferred if necessary’, it added.

It said: ‘These can be deferred if necessary (possibly to recommence from October) unless they can be viably conducted remotely and/or in exceptional cases in person or by home visit as per local clinical discretion.’

A letter from NHS England’s chief executive sent to NHS managers two days ago had already promised to protect QOF payments in 2020/21.

All GP practices in 2020/21 will ‘continue to be paid at rates that assume they would have continued to perform at the same levels from the beginning of the outbreak as they had done previously’, Mr Stevens said.

Meanwhile, PCNs should continue work on the care home and cancer diagnosis network DES service requirements amid the outbreak of coronavirus.