'Politically motivated' QOF plans will cost general practice millions

DH plans for the largest-ever overhaul of QOF would strip £15,000 from every practice, introduce 'unworkable' targets and siphon off cash to pay for 'politically driven' enhanced services, the GPC has warned.

DH proposals are 'unworkable', the GPC says
DH proposals are 'unworkable', the GPC says

In a letter to GP members, the GPC attacked the government's proposals following the collapse of five months of negotiations earlier this week as 'bad for doctors, bad for patients and bad for general practice'.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman wrote that despite 'year on year improvements' in QOF, the 'proposed imposition' from the government would have 'very significant' impact on practice contracts.

Plans to raise indicator thresholds could wipe £126m off the value of QOF - equivalent to 1.7% of overall practice funding, or an average of £15,000 from every practice per year.

The GPC said it was prepared in negotiations to raise some QOF thresholds. But, it added, 'increasing thresholds in this indiscriminate way shows little regard for the overriding responsibility of GPs to treat patients as individuals'.

Dr Buckman added: 'The government’s implication that doctors do not already seek to maximise the benefits to patients of the QOF is disgraceful.'

Government plans to take 15% of funds out of the organisational domain in QOF to be used for new enhanced services threatens workload, the GPC said.

'This not only forces GPs to take on swathes of unresourced new work, but also worryingly moves money from an evidence based vehicle to channel it into schemes which are undeveloped, un-negotiated politically driven government whims,' it said.

The GPC said it was willing to accept some of NICE's proposed new indicators. But it said the DH's decision to force through all of NICE's proposals would lead to 'impractical' targets in general practice - for instance, basing QOF payments on referral to rehabilitation schemes that may not be available in all parts of the country.

'This will cause problems for both practices and patients,' the GPC said.

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