Exclusive: QOF should be scrapped or cut back in next contract, say GPs

Nine in 10 GPs believe that the QOF should be scrapped completely or scaled back in next year's contract, with funding salvaged from dropped indicators moved back into core contract pay, a GPonline poll has found.

QOF: Many GPs now believe the framework should be scrapped
QOF: Many GPs now believe the framework should be scrapped

A total of 87% said it should be scrapped or cut back. Almost half (47%) of the profession say QOF should be ‘scrapped completely, with all funding moved into GP practices’ core pay’ in the 2016/17 contract, the survey of almost 300 GPs suggests.

A further 29% called for it to be slashed by half or more, while one in eight said it should be reduced by a smaller amount.

GP respondents said that although the scheme was ‘initially a good idea’, it had ‘had its day’ and ‘the evidence base for it is gone’. One warned that QOF ‘takes the valuable clinical time away from patients and doctors’.

Unrest with the QOF has come to a head this year, with both the RCGP and the Family Doctor Association (FDA) calling for it to be scrapped.

QOF scrapped

Scottish GP leaders confirmed to GPonline that the framework will be axed when the country’s contract is next renewed in April 2017, while delegates at the UK LMCs conference narrowly voted against endorsing a call to scrap the QOF earlier in the year.

Less than one in 10 (8%) said the QOF should be ‘kept unchanged’. A smaller number (5%) said they thought QOF should be increased in size and bolstered with additional indicators.

‘I worry that, if scrapped completely, quality of care will slip back – GPs are under so much pressure at present,’ warned one GP.

Others thought the decision not so clear cut: ‘QOF is not evidence-based and very demoralising, but practices that look after patients really well should be rewarded.’

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