BMA Scotland report says QOF 'cutting inequalities'

The QOF is continuing to reduce inequality in health services, a report by BMA Scotland has concluded, as NICE called for suggestions for the 2012/13 framework.

NICE has launched an online forum, open until 8 March, allowing primary care staff and others to suggest changes to the 2012/13 indicators.

Meanwhile, BMA Scotland concluded in its report that the QOF has cut gaps in clinical quality and boosted diabetes, asthma and hypertension care.

GPC Scotland chairman Dr Dean Marshall described the report as 'good news' for the NHS.

It should demonstrate to government the importance of evidence-based care, he added.

He said GPs were improving the quality of life of patients with a range of conditions, including asthma, diabetes, depression and dementia.

'Research has shown that improvements in managing these conditions in general practice, through QOF, is reducing outpatient visits and hospital admissions,' he said.

The gap in clinical achievement between areas of deprivation has narrowed to a 'non-significant level', according to the report.

BP monitoring and control have 'improved substantially' since the QOF was introduced, the report said. Annually, 43,000 strokes and 83,000 cases of IHD would be prevented in the UK by successful BP control, it added.

One recent study showed the introduction of the QOF was 'associated with an acceleration in improvement for diabetes and asthma', while Asthma UK reported lower hospital admissions in England where QOF achievement was higher.

Suggestions for QOF changes submitted via NICE's online forum will be vetted and suitable topics passed to the institute's QOF advisory committee. The final decision on inclusion in the QOF will be taken by NHS Employers and the GPC.

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