During a webinar earlier this month, Dame Barbara Hakin was asked by clinical commissioning group (CCG) leads to explain what was known about the controversial funding mechanism.
She said: ‘It will be up to £5 a head that will be available for CCGs. One important piece of information is that a set of regulations is to be laid before parliament over the coming months.’ This is expected to be in October.
She added that payment will be made to CCGs on the basis of Commissioning Outcomes Framework attainment, as well as achieving financial balance and NHS Constitution delivery, likely to include practice access.
As well as being the DH's commissioning czar, Dame Barbara is England’s national managing director of commissioning development at the NHS Commissioning Board.
She said that final decisions on how quality premium funds would be used had still to be made. 'The use of that money has yet to be determined,' she said.
Options include giving it to practices, with or without caveats, or to CCGs. ‘We will not see the solutions on that until the regulations are laid,' she said.
Practices are unlikely to see the funding until the first quarter of the 2014/15 financial year when COF achievement is known.
The BMA opposes the quality premium because it fears the premium could leave practices open to accusations that they are not acting in the best interest of patients.
The Office for National Statistics estimated that the average practice in England had 6,487 patients in 2007. The trend since has been for practice list sizes to increase, so the value of the quality premium for the average practice could be substantially higher than £30,000.