NICE backs five new public health measures for 2012/13 QOF

GP negotiators will consider whether to adopt five new public health measures into the QOF, including to incentivise an offer of treatment to teenage smokers and exercise intervention for inactive patients.

A NICE advisory committee yesterday put forward a range of proposed indicators for the QOF 2012/13. Negotiators will use this ‘menu’ of indicators to decide which will be added to next year's framework.

Under the proposals, GPs would be required to record smoking status of all patients aged 15 and over, and then be paid based on the proportion offered support and treatment for their addiction.

GPs would be required to assess the activity levels of all hypertensive patients using the General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQ) tool. They would also be paid based on the number ‘less than active’ that are offered a brief intervention.

But the committee scrapped plans to include new measures to tackle obesity in QOF, citing a lack of evidence base to incentivise an offer of referral to a weight management programme.

On Wednesday, a Conservative think-tank had called for the measures to be included in the QOF, saying they 'must be prioritised' in the face of the obesity epidemic facing the UK.

The indicators proposed would have added a waist circumference measurement to the existing register of BMI, and paid based on the proportion of obese patients offered weight management advice or referral to a weight loss programme.

In explaining the committee's decision, chair Dr Colin Hunter said obesity is important but that the area needed further research to provide better evidence that such interventions were sufficiently cost effective to be included in the QOF.

In other proposals to the QOF 2012/13, patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) would be added to the range of conditions included in the existing indicators Smoking3 and Smoking4. These currently incentivise the recording of smoking status and an offer of smoking cessation advice and support to patients with chronic diseases.

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