Begin QOF talks to avoid disputes, BMA warns

Practices must hurry to negotiate plans for new QOF targets or risk missing strict deadlines and being drawn into disputes over achievement, the BMA has warned.

Dr Vautrey: 'Both practices and PCTs need to work quickly now if they want to implement the first step of these indicators'
Dr Vautrey: 'Both practices and PCTs need to work quickly now if they want to implement the first step of these indicators'

Targets for quality and productivity indicators with PCTs must be agreed by the end of June.

Failure to do so may mean practices miss mid-year deadlines for calculating achievement and pay for indicators worth 96.5 points. Practices would then have to dispute achievement claims with PCTs.

As part of the 2011/12 QOF, practices must draw up goals for improved performance in prescribing, referrals and emergency admissions. They must agree to improve three areas of prescribing, peer review the plans and measure outcomes achieved.

BMA guidance released last week urges practices to discuss the data needed to create draft targets with PCTs. This must be completed by 30 June.

These talks should establish the ‘expectations’ about the type of data required, the BMA said. This will ensure practices do not begin to create targets in areas for which data are unavailable.

The BMA said it expects PCTs that are unable to provide data ‘within a reasonable timeframe’ to extend deadlines. Performance against the indicators created will be measured from January to March next year.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘Clearly, both practices and PCTs need to work quickly now if they want to implement the first step of these indicators, and we would encourage them all to do so, and for PCTs to be flexible in their approach.’

He added: ‘This guidance is to support those who may be having difficulty and we hope it will help resolve any problems. ‘

The BMA guidance also includes a ‘ready reckoner’ tool, allowing practices and PCTs to work out achievement for prescribing indicators.

Details of the new indicators were released only after the beginning of the QOF year.

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