Exclusive: Scottish GP contract will 'move on' from QOF in 2017

GPs in Scotland will no longer be paid for hitting QOF targets from 2017, according to the chairman of the Scottish GPC.

Dr Alan McDevitt: moving on from QOF (Photo: Douglas Robertson)
Dr Alan McDevitt: moving on from QOF (Photo: Douglas Robertson)

The GP contract will 'move on' from QOF under a deal that will take effect from April 2017, when the current fixed three-year deal for Scottish GPs expires, Dr Alan McDevitt confirmed.

Dr McDevitt told GP the QOF ‘was not the way of the future’ and it was time for it to evolve ‘to take into account the fact that many patients have co-morbidities’.

The next Scottish contract will grant GPs the authority to change their local QOF to make it better suited to the patients in their community by freeing the system up from being ‘tied into a national structure’, he said.

He added that the concept of QOF had driven improvements, and any future Scottish contract would aim to ‘keep the benefits without many of the difficulties’.

Dr McDevitt’s comments came shortly after delegates at the 2015 Scottish LMC conference voted in favour of scrapping pay-for-performance QOF in the next contract, which will not come into effect until April 2017.

Time to 'move on'

He previously promised that the contract would be unrecognisable from the UK’s in an interview with GP.

‘I think the principles of QOF are sound and I think it did transform many aspects of care, but it needs to move on,’ Dr McDevitt said.

‘There's nothing wrong with the process, it just doesn’t need to be what I spend my time doing. We don’t want GPs having to do what other doctors could do.

‘The next contract will not involve us providing a service, but predominantly providing medical expertise and advice. Other parts of the community services team will do services and that might well include a QOF-type arrangement carried out by staff working in my practice with my patients.

More flexibility

‘The GP will have staff operating the QOF in practice and will look at the results and outcome from the QOF process, but they won’t employ the staff that delivers it and they won’t get paid dependent on the results.

‘If we manage to get cluster groups to work, the GP’s job will be to make sure quality is maintained by whoever is delivering that.

‘You monitor the QOF of the future to make sure it delivers. And if it doesn’t deliver, you should have the authority to fix that problem. It should also be much more flexible to your particular community’s needs and not be tied into a national structure of what disease-orientated quality will be.’

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