Leader: DoH fiddling puts planning on hold

Only six weeks to go and it will be April. The daffodils will be flowering, the trees in bud and the days getting longer. So little time to clean up and remove unnecessary clutter in order to make ready for the summer months and year ahead.

It is about now that most GPs will be looking back at the services their practices provided over this year and deciding which enhanced services they want a contract for next year and which areas of the quality framework they need to focus on to improve their income. Well, they would if they had full details of what the quality framework will look like next year.

Apparently the full guidance has not been released for the revised quality framework because the DoH has not signed it off, and is fiddling with the detail. How much it is fiddling with is anyone's guess - is it just semantics, whole indicators or the domains themselves?

More particularly, why are they fiddling with it two months after it was supposedly agreed and a brief outline released? Last year primary care organisations (PCOs) paid out for more on the quality framework than they had budgeted for because GPs outdid expectations. This year they will also spend more than budgeted.

One thing GPs can be sure of, this fiddling will not be to general practice's advantage; it will be about helping PCOs to spend less.

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