I have come to the conclusion that the QOF is a neat way of allowing patients to absolve themselves of any responsibility for their health.
At least once a year we call them in to tell them to eat more healthily and take more exercise or they will have to take more pills. For some it is an alarm bell and they sort themselves out; for most, it is another person nagging them, they have done their bit by turning up, and anyway, they have these shiny new pills that will take all the fat away, ease their joint pain or lower their blood pressure.
We rarely get to the heart of why the patient is overweight or has hypertension and, in any case, is it possible to control blood pressure without pills, or is it unavoidably in the genes?
In my opinion the Western medical model is deeply flawed, with a mechanistic approach to disease and illness.
Care for the whole person (and you can’t do that in 10 minutes) and you might have a chance to make a difference. Where do we start to change culture?
Perhaps there is a lot we can learn from non-Western medicine, especially if we can re-empower people to decide for themselves about managing their health.
From Dr Alice Hodkinson,
Saffron Walden, Essex
Is the QOF encouraging patients to take no responsibility for their health?