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Scottish regions to abandon QOF early in preparation for new contract

Three regions in Scotland will abandon QOF and work together in clusters to test new ways of working in preparation for a revised GP contract in 18 months.

GPC Scotland chair Dr Alan McDevitt said pilot practices will have extra support from professionals including physios, nurses, podiatrists and health care assistants – perhaps based at GPs’ premises – and there will be additional funding from the Scottish Government’s £60 million primary care fund.

GPs at the pilot practices will work closely with these other professionals, so that patients phoning a practice with a sore shoulder for example may be referred directly to a physio, ideally for a same-day appointment.

It comes as Scottish health secretary Shona Robison confirmed earlier this year that the QOF will disappear when the country’s new GP contract in introduced in April 2017, and Government officials are currently in negotiations with GPC Scotland about what form this contract will take.

A pilot in the Inverclyde region involving 16 practices could be up and running before Christmas and two other geographical areas will follow early next year, he said.

Dr McDevitt said: ‘The practices won’t have to do any of the reporting that they do currently for QOF. They will have additional staff such as healthcare assistants who could carry out things like vaccinations.

’There will also be more nursing staff and allied health professionals available and linked to the practices. We think this will relieve the pressure on GPs. These practices will get a substantial increase in the staff to cope with patient demand.’

He added that the extra professionals ’would not necessarily be employed by the practice’, but the GP would oversee the team.

Dr McDevitt, said he hopes practices will continue to do ‘QOF-type actions’ even though they will not have performance-related pay.