Election 2010: Tories plan to cut QOF share of GMS

Conservative GP says QOF should become more challenging and bring lower share of total income.

Dr Charlson: QOF income to fall
Dr Charlson: QOF income to fall

The GP contract may in future rely less on QOF, a Conservative party health expert says.

A GP close to the heart of Tory health policy said that QOF may make up a smaller part of practice income and become 'more challenging'.

Dr Paul Charlson, chairman of the Conservative Medical Society, said the QOF is 'an area of interest' and 'needs to be used as a tool that is more challenging'. The QOF currently provides about 22 per cent of GP income, he added.

If the Tories won the election, they would seek advice from an expert, such as a part-time GP, and deputy director of the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, Professor Helen Lester, in revising the QOF, Dr Charlson said.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said the GPC shared the view that reducing reliance on QOF was desirable. But shifting income away from the clinical indicators would reduce prevalence-dependent cash for practices, he warned.

'This would affect the money going to practices in poorer areas. How would you take money out without producing a hole in GP income?' Dr Buckman said.

Dr Jonathan Steel, health policy adviser to the Tories and a dispensing GP in Gloucestershire, said he was 'not sure' if any money coming out of QOF would go into the global sum.

Dr Buckman said that while politicians see QOF as a challenge to drive change, GPs view it as a resource to pay their staff. 'Nothing will happen suddenly,' he added.

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