Five-day emergency QOF review process revealed

QOF can now be changed within five days if new evidence suggests indicators need to be axed, a NICE review committee has said.

Concerns had been raised that the review process did not previously include a speeded review process.

At its meeting in Manchester this week, NICE’s QOF advisory committee announced that it would now be able to review important new findings within three to five days.

One of the subcommittee’s of NICE’s QOF panel will examine the evidence and discuss the findings by teleconference. A review paper will then be sent by email for the committee as a whole to approve.

The lack of any process for speeding review had been raised in response to criticism of QOF’s  HbA1c targets. The ACCORD and ADVANCE studies, published in June 2008, suggested these targets may not benefit, and could harm, patients. But no process existed to allow the framework to be changed outside it's usual 18-month cycle.

Committee chairman Dr Colin Hunter said the process was unlikely to used frequently, but that it might be needed in some instances, for instance if research suggested new risks from a particular drug.

The committee also decided at the meeting to put forward a set of indicators for erectile dysfunction in diabetes which will now be piloted before consideration for inclusion in the 2013/14 QOF.

The committee also announced that it would include DEP1 in its review of depression indicators, following repeated concerns raised by GPs about the appropriateness of these targets.

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