QOF may perpetuate health inequalities

The QOF may perpetuate health inequalities and should be overhauled to improve standards of care, according to a King's Fund report.

Dr Dixon said aspects of the QOF need to be changed
Dr Dixon said aspects of the QOF need to be changed

Continuity of care has reduced under QOF and this may have negatively affected health inequalities, the report said.

The report, ‘Tackling Health Inequalities in General Practice’, was commissioned as part of the King’s Fund GP Inquiry. Evidence showed that health inequalities were reduced effectively by improving continuity of care.

However, this has reduced under QOF, the report said, and performance remains lowest among practices in deprived areas.

This imbalance in QOF achievement may have therefore blocked efforts to tackle health inequalities, it argued.

The report warned against removing exemption reporting, however. It said although this may increase coverage to more vulnerable patient groups, it could cut QOF earnings and negatively affect the doctor-patient relationship.

Dr Michael Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance, said: '[Practices in deprived areas] have to work hard for QOF points – maybe this is something to recognise in future.'

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