Quality premium removed from Bill but not scrapped

Plans for a quality premium to reward successful GP commissioners will be dropped from the Health Bill, the NHS chief executive has said.

DoH: premium overhaul (Photograph: I Bottle)
DoH: premium overhaul (Photograph: I Bottle)

However, the payment mechanism will not be scrapped altogether. The government instead plans to set out in detail how it will work, with tough new rules on how commissioning groups can earn the payment, and what they can use it to pay for. The move follows BMA warnings that the plans could be seen as paying GPs to deny patients treatment.

Speaking at the Commissioning conference in London last week, Sir David Nicholson said it was important to get the quality premium right.

Sir David said he was keen to avoid the public thinking that the money was going 'directly into the pockets of individuals'.

'I think it is something we can work through, that we can make sense of if we take it out of the Bill directly,' he said.

The DoH response to the listening exercise said: 'We will revise the provisions in the Bill on the quality premium.'

It said the premium would 'reward clinical commissioning groups that commission effectively and so improve the quality of patient care and the outcomes this leads to'.

It added: 'Great care will be needed to design rules on when a quality payment can be reduced or withheld. We will also change the Bill so that regulations can be used to make provisions for how commissioning groups can use any quality payment awarded to them.'

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