'Scrap upper thresholds of QOF indicators', urges DoH review

Upper thresholds on quality indicators should be scrapped to incentivise practices to offer all patients best quality care, a DoH review of health inequalities has argued.

BMA deputy chairman Dr Vautrey is against dropping upper QOF thresholds
BMA deputy chairman Dr Vautrey is against dropping upper QOF thresholds

NICE said its quality framework review committee would consider calls in Professor Sir Michael Marmot's 'Fair society, healthy lives' review for indicator thresholds to be raised to provide ‘100% coverage' and reduce health inequalities.

But GP leaders said they opposed dropping upper limits for quality indicators. The thresholds were put in place to protect patients, BMA deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said.

‘Not all patients can or should be treated in line with guidance or pushed to outcome levels that are inappropriate or unsafe for them,' he said. ‘You can never say 100% in medicine.'

RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field said the college was keen to further examine the review's suggestions.

‘Now that the Marmot Review has highlighted this issue we'd want to look at what this section alludes to,' he said.

‘We'd be interested to look at evidence submitted as we are aware of research that suggests QOF is starting to narrow the inequality divide.'

NICE's QOF review committee examined upper indicator thresholds last summer. It suggested that raising upper thresholds may increase health inequalities because practices in deprived areas would struggle to reach higher achievement levels and may lose funding.

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