GP contract overhaul puts productivity targets into QOF

The DoH has announced 96.5 QOF points will be reassigned to indicators focused on reducing referrals and emergency admissions through community-based services.

Dr Buckman: 'I am pleased the government has recognised the need to increase practice expenses'
Dr Buckman: 'I am pleased the government has recognised the need to increase practice expenses'

As part of the 2011/12 contract deal, the extended hours scheme will continue but GPs will receive less funding. Around £60m released by this will fund a new programme to 'ensure GP practices become more responsive to the needs and wishes of patients.'

GMS practices will also receive a 0.5% uplift to cover rising expenses, delivered through an increase in the value of each QOF point from £127.29 to £130.51. This is to be used by practices to fund pay increases for practice staff earning less than £21,000 a year, said the DoH.

Three clinical directed enhanced services (DESs), for alcohol reduction, learning and disabilities health check, and osteoporosis, will be extended by one year.

As well as the implementation of NICE recommendations, 96.5 points will be reassigned to new 'quality and productivity indicators' focusing on 'reducing hospital outpatient referrals and emergency admissions by using alternative care pathways in the community, and through more effective prescribing.'

NHS Employers predict that if GP practices can 'mirror the same level of performance as the top 25% of practices' in these areas, it will save £800m a year.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said he was 'pleased the government has recognised the need to increase practice expenses'.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said the agreement will secure a 4% efficiency gain from primary care, 'in line with the requirement for the rest of the NHS.'

'Every penny saved will be invested back into patient care, including to directly improve further the quality of patient services in primary care,' he said.

The agreement covers England, Scotland and Wales but is still under consideration in Northern Ireland.

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