NICE to develop alcohol screening QOF targets

GPs could be asked to screen certain patients for alcohol misuse, after NICE advisors approved the development of new QOF indicators, but proposals for depression targets were rejected as 'unworkable'.

Strong evidence for clinical and cost effectiveness of alcohol screening.
Strong evidence for clinical and cost effectiveness of alcohol screening.

At a meeting in Manchester last week, NICE's QOF advisory panel agreed to develop an indicator to screen for alcohol misuse and offer a brief intervention for a subset of patients.

Advisors said screening the whole practice list was impractical and contrary to current guidance from the UK National Screening Committee.

Instead, any indicator accepted into the QOF would focus on screening those people with a condition particularly worsened by heavy drinking, such as hypertension.

The panel heard how there is now strong evidence for the clinical and cost effectiveness of alcohol screening and brief intervention.

One GP member had warned that QOF was 'not really the right tool to look at a public health problem'. Others said some patients may feel the approach is too intrusive.

But the group agreed that alcohol misuse remained a 'big concern' and a clinical issue for primary care.

NICE's indicator development team will report back in June with the wording for the potential target. If approved by advisors, this would then be piloted among GP practices.

However, the panel rejected plans for indicators on longer term antidepressant therapy for people with depression as it 'just doesn't work in the QOF'.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Close up of hand holding sample tube with 'Omicron' handwritten on side

Government urged to 'free up' GP practices and expand steps to control Omicron

GPs have called for immediate action such as suspension of QOF to allow practices...

(Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images)

Coronavirus: Key guidance GPs need to know about COVID-19

GPonline provides an overview of the key guidance relating to coronavirus, including...

External wall of GP surgery with wording 'medical centre'

‘Utterly toxic’: GPs speak out over abuse and physical attacks on practice teams

GPs have condemned a rise in verbal and physical attacks on practice staff - warning...

Artist's image of a spiked virus

Javid warns of 'substantial risk' from new COVID-19 variant

The highly mutated COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 'may pose a significant risk to public...

Desk with lettering 'LMC conference'

LMCs reject 'outdated' GMS contract and demand move to item of service payments

LMCs have voted to scrap the 'outdated and inadequate' GMS contract and to replace...

GPs at an LMC conference waving green voting cards in the air

LMCs demand ringfence on enhanced services cash and clear GP representation in ICSs

LMCs have called for a ringfence on enhanced services funding, along with a guarantee...