QOF frozen in new GP contract as 1m obese patients added to vaccination scheme

QOF indicators and the total number of points will remain unchanged in the coming financial year, while more than 1m morbidly obese patients will become eligible to receive the seasonal flu vaccine, the revised GP contract for 2017/18 reveals.

Contract: QOF frozen for 2017/18 (Photo: Paul Starr)

The 2017/18 contract confirms that the QOF will be frozen over the next year while a working group – to be set up immediately – discusses what will become of the scheme from April 2018.

The value of a QOF point will increase in value to take into account growth in the population as well as any increase in average practice list size – but the number of points available and the wording of the indicators will remain unchanged.

A number of changes for vaccinations and immunisations will come into effect from this April, when the new contract takes hold.

Flu vaccination

Patients who are morbidly obese will now be included as an at-risk cohort eligible to receive the seasonal influenza jab, with £6.2m in funding added to the contract to accommodate this.

Four-year-olds will be removed from the childhood seasonal influenza enhanced service and instead be transferred into the school vaccination programme which covers older children.

Eligibility for pregnant women to receive the pertussis vaccine will be reduced from up to 20 weeks pregnant to 16 weeks pregnant.

The upper age limit for the MenACWY programme will fall from ‘up to 26th birthday’ to ‘up to 25th birthday’.

Shingles vaccine

Eligibility for the routine shingles vaccine will change to include patients up to the date they turn 70, rather than on 1 September in their 70th year. They will now be eligible for the catch-up programme until the date they turn 78.

The hepatitis B, HPV, MMR, meningococcal B, pneumococcal polysaccharide and rotavirus programmes will roll over unchanged.

The contract also confirms that all practices will be required to allow data to be collected for the National Diabetes Audit (NDA) from July 2017.

Changes to the Learning Disabilities DES mean that practices will now be paid £140 instead of £116 per health check following increased investment from NHS England. Practices can also use a voluntary template developed by NHS England to conduct the checks.

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