GPs beat private consultants to QOF review contract

A team led by GP academics and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) have fought off competition from private consultants to lead the review of QOF indicators for NICE.

Helen Lester (Photograph: NTI)
Helen Lester (Photograph: NTI)

NICE has awarded the contract for reviewing and piloting indicators, and assessing their cost-effectiveness, to a group led by Professor Helen Lester, deputy director of the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre (NPCRDC), and a part-time GP.

Professor Lester has also served as co-lead of the expert panel that has advised the GPC and NHS Employers on the QOF since its inception.

The centre bid jointly with the RCGP, and will also work alongside the University of York’s Health Economics Consortium, which will concentrate on evaluating the cost-effectiveness of indicators.

Sources told GP newspaper Professor Lester’s group landed the role ahead of management consultants and international firms often used by the DoH, although no other bidders have been officially named.

Professor Lester said it was ‘critical’ that GPs were involved in reviewing QOF indicators. ‘QOF is such an important part of what we do in primary care that not having a group grounded in primary care reviewing the indicators would feel wrong,’ she said.

RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field said GPs were best placed to make decisions that will benefit patients and deliver effective healthcare.

‘The fact that NICE has acknowledged this is a major boost for GPs and their teams,’ he said.

‘The profession can have real confidence that the indicators will be relevant and appropriate, that they will be properly piloted,’ he said.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey also welcomed the appointment. ‘Professor Lester has led the expert review panel and it is good to have that continuity,’ he said. ‘It will certainly help as NICE become involved in reviewing QOF to have the experience that Professor Lester’s group brings to this.’

  • Read this week’s GP dated 10 April for the full version of this story.
  • Are you glad a GP-led team is reviewing the QOF and not a private firm?

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