GPC rejects plan for local quality frameworks overseen by NICE

DoH proposals for local quality frameworks (QOFs) under NICE control have been rejected by the General Practitioners Committee (GPC).

Dr Laurence Buckman (Photograph: Wilde Fry)
Dr Laurence Buckman (Photograph: Wilde Fry)

QOF changes are proposed in the DoH consultation ‘Developing the QOF: Proposals for a new, independent process’.

They include QOF being brought under NICE’s remit and the ability for PCTs to select indicators based on local need.

The GPC today published its response which warns that proposed changes could lead the QOF to be inappropriately influenced by political imperatives and to patients receiving postcode healthcare in primary care.

The GPC argues local QOFs ‘will be seriously detrimental to the already reduced gap in health inequalities’ which the QOF achieved and may threaten consistency of care.

The response adds: ‘We do not believe that NICE is a body completely independent of government influence and do not feel that it would do a better job than the current independent expert group.

‘This would affect the profession’s and patients’ confidence in the QOF as well as risk undermining the professional relationship of GPs with their patients.’

The GPC is concerned that the decision about NICE appears to have been made already. It suggests a moratorium on change is needed to allow adequate time for the negotiation of alteration to indicators.

Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC chairman, said: ‘Even though this is an English consultation the proposed changes will have an impact on QOF across the UK. As it stands the changes proposed in this consultation will create rather than get rid of health inequalities.’

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