GPC urges 2014/15 QOF rethink

The GPC will call for the withdrawal of QOF targets that 'do not benefit patients' in GP contract talks for 2014/15.

Targets introduced in 2013/14 including one that incentivises use of the GP Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQ) for hypertension patients are among those the GPC will seek to remove.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey told GP the committee would warn NHS England that the profession has lost confidence in the QOF because it has become 'too much of a micromanagement tool'.

Many GPs had doubts over the validity of newer QOF targets that did 'not feel appropriate', Dr Vautrey said. 'GPPAQ in particular is a classic example,' he said.

A NICE analysis of the scheme found it would take up 120,000 hours of GP time a year to complete the questionnaire with hypertension patients and cost practices more to deliver than they were paid for it.

The clinical value of the checks has also been questioned.

Dr Vautrey added that targets requiring GPs to ask about contraception every year 'just because it is in QOF' were not clinically appropriate.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul has written to GPs urging them to complete a poll on rising workload, morale and the GP contract.

'With 2014/15 contract negotiations just about to get underway, GPC will argue for the removal of elements of the QOF that do not benefit patients, the removal of bureaucratic and non-evidence based demands on our time,' the letter said.

It called for an expansion of general practice premises, GPs and other staff. It continued: 'We need to persuade the government of the value of this "invest to save" strategy.'

An NHS England spokeswoman said: 'We want to see a stronger role for general practice, at the heart of more integrated, community-based services for patients. We are keen to explore all possible ways of reducing unnecessary workload.'

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