Labour candidate backs 'anti-QOF'

A Labour activist has proposed introducing an 'anti-QOF', under which GPs would lose money for inaccessible services.

Talking to GP at the Labour conference last week, Alex Hilton, editor of the Labour Home blog and the party's candidate for Chelsea and Fulham, argued that the performance-related element of practice income was currently asymmetrical.

GPs can earn more for improving some services, but cannot be penalised for neglecting others.

As a solution, Mr Hilton suggested an 'anti-QOF' scheme, under which money would be clawed back from practices where services were deemed to be inadequate.

This would include situations in which patients attended A&E with conditions which should have been tackled by their GP.

Such a scheme would incentivise practices to save the health service money by keeping patients out of hospital, he said.

NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon said that the 'principle that practices that contain their own smoke and provide accessible services is actually quite sound'.

He added: 'You should reward practices that do more and punish those that do less.'

However, he added that Mr Hilton's idea risked penalising individual practices for patient behaviour they had little control over.

Factors such as rurality, ethnicity and culture could also affect the behaviour of its patients, he said.

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