Abolish all QOF targets, says health secretary Jeremy Hunt

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested he would like to abolish the QOF.

Jeremy Hunt: goal is to remove QOF entirely (credit: Pete Hill)
Jeremy Hunt: goal is to remove QOF entirely (credit: Pete Hill)

Speaking to an audience of GP commissioners Mr Hunt explained the government had removed 40% of QOF targets as part of his drive to restore the bond between doctors and patients, but he would like to go further, abolishing all QOF targets.

GP leaders cautioned Mr Hunt not to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’.

Mr Hunt told the conference of NHS Clinical Commissioners: ‘At the heart of that changes we need is to restore that strong bond between doctor and patient at a local level outside hospital. 

‘That's why we've changed the GP contract introducing bringing back named GPs for those aged 75 and over and removed 40% of the QOF targets - and I'd like to remove the lot of them if I could.

Continuity of care is vital

He added: ‘I think continuity of care is absolutely core to the vision we all want in terms of out-of-hospital care for people with chronic and long-term conditions.’

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the QOF had brought a ‘significant improvement’ to the management of long-term conditions and helped address health inequalities.  

The framework, introduced in the new 2004 GMS contract, had become ‘far too big’ and bureaucratic, said Dr Vautrey, and was being used to micromanage practices. ‘Which is why we pushed for and achieved a significant reduction this year. 

‘While there may be scope to reduce QOF further we ought to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.’

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