Welsh GP contract deal cuts QOF to boost core practice pay by £16,000

Almost £16,000 per average practice will be moved from the QOF into GP practices' core pay from 2015/16 under a two-year Welsh GP contract deal unveiled on Monday.

Dr Charlotte Jones: contract deal (Photo: Ray Farley)
Dr Charlotte Jones: contract deal (Photo: Ray Farley)

The contract, which will begin in 2015/16, will see 102 points - worth around £15,800 to an average practice - removed from the QOF. The contract deal will fix the bulk of GP contract arrangements for a two-year period, although the care home DES and diabetes DES will be reviewed in 2016/17, as well as fees for vaccinations.

GPC Wales chairwoman Dr Charlotte Jones said: ‘This agreement, reached with the Welsh government, will give practices a degree of stability knowing what their financial flows from the GMS contract will largely be.

‘The change to QOF recognises the high-quality care embedded in general practice and enables practices to continue to focus on managing the individual patient rather than simply chasing targets.’

Welsh health minister Professor Mark Drakeford said: ‘The two-year agreement reached with GPC Wales directly addresses GPs’ concerns about unnecessary bureaucracy.’

Support for struggling practices

The contract also introduces a programme to ‘assess and support the sustainability of GP services for patients in rural and deprived communities in Wales’.

Dr Jones, who announced the scheme to GPs at the Welsh LMCs conference in Cardiff, said the programme would help any practices facing difficulties, including practices that received 15% or more of their core funding from MPIG correction factor payments and were now seeing this eroded.

The initiative will provide management, workforce or financial support to eligible practices that apply to take part. Local health boards and LMC representatives will be assessing applications for support.

‘We recognise the many pressures facing practices and believe these changes, including the sustainability framework, which will support individual practices where needed, will be of benefit to practices and patients alike,’ Dr Jones said.

Online access

Practices will have to increase online access to GP appointments and repeat prescriptions via the My Health Online website under the Welsh contract deal.

Professor Drakeford said there was an ‘ongoing need to improve access to primary care services’ and that the contract ‘provides a good platform to continue the improvement of the provision of core services provided by GPs’.

The changes to QOF in Wales will bring the total number of points on offer broadly in line with that in the 2014/15 deal in England. In England the QOF had 559 points in 2014/15, compared with 669 in Wales.

*This story has been updated - the Welsh government has confirmed the number of QOF points being dropped is 102, not 101 as it claimed in an earlier statement.

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