GPC demands QOF guarantee as NICE overhauls advisory groups

GPs' role in developing QOF indicators must not be undermined by NICE plans to merge a committee that suggests targets for practices with a CCG advisory group, GP leaders have warned.

Dr Richard Vautrey: GPs must retain QOF control (Photo: JH Lancy)
Dr Richard Vautrey: GPs must retain QOF control (Photo: JH Lancy)

The QOF advisory committee will merge with the CCG Outcome Indicator Set (CCGOIS) advisory committee, NICE has revealed.

The two NICE committees will be replaced by a single indicator advisory committee. QOF experts will be brought in twice yearly to discuss QOF indicators, and other experts will discuss CCG indicators separately.

Just three out of the 16 members on the core committee will be GPs, and a further six GPs will be called in as QOF experts. Currently, 15 out of 31 members of the QOF committee are GPs.

‘It would make sense to align the NICE processes but the important point is that the result delivers recommendations that are grounded in the real world and practically deliverable by general practice,’ GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey told GP.

‘That means working GPs do need to be involved and diluting the input of general practice risks delivering outputs that will not be supported by the wider profession.’

GP reassurance

But Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive of NICE, told GP that the core committee and QOF experts will ‘act as a single decision-making group’ and that ‘the balance on the committee will not be any different from the current QOF committee’.

‘The rest of the process for developing QOF indicators isn’t changing at all, such as how we identify priorities for indicators, how we engage with the four countries that the QOF related to, how we then develop indicators, and how we test them for the QOF,’ said Professor Leng. ‘I’m confident we are we going to have the right input to the committee for issues around primary care.’

A mixture of salaried and academic GPs, as well as a GP registrar and GP partner, will be on the QOF expert panel in order to ‘mitigate against the potential financial interest GPs may have in the QOF’.

Members of the existing committees will be asked to apply for positions on the new committee before its first meeting in June 2015, to be chaired by Professor Danny Keenan - currently chairman of the CCGOIS.

NICE chairman Professor David Haslam said: ‘The establishment of this single committee recognises the need for NICE indicators to reflect the increasing need for better integration between service commissioning and care provision.

‘As a former GP, I’m completely reassured that the planned high level of GP and practice staff input for QOF discussions will result in workable indicators that enhance patient care, whilst being sensitive to the pressures on GPs.'

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