Statins for CVD set for QOF in 2012/13

Prescribing statins to hypertensive patients at risk of cardiovascular disease may be included in the 2012/13 QOF, after NICE's review committee approved the development of an indicator in this area.

New hypertension indicator would aim to reduce health inequalities (Photograph: SPL)
New hypertension indicator would aim to reduce health inequalities (Photograph: SPL)

However, plans to include an alcohol consumption indicator will need more consideration, the committee decided, after members raised concerns over which patients would be targeted.

NICE's indicator advisory committee met in Manchester last week to discuss proposed indicators for inclusion in the QOF for 2012/13.

Discussions centred largely on preventive measures, although members claimed some proposals were tantamount to screening.

The advisory committee recommended an indicator for prescribing statins to newly diagnosed patients with hypertension at risk of cardiovascular disease. Pilots will begin in October and it is hoped they will show the need for an indicator to reduce health inequalities in cardiovascular disease.

Once the findings of the pilots have been reported, the NICE QOF committee will present recommendations on indicators for inclusion in the 2012/13 QOF. The GPC and NHS Employers will then negotiate on which of these will be included.

The committee also backed an obesity indicator to measure BMI or waist circumference.

The proposed alcohol indicator mirrors NICE guidance issued last week encouraging GPs to ask about the drinking habits of at-risk patients, followed by brief intervention and advice.

Members agreed this was merited, but asked the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre to review the evidence on who should be included in the target group.

A new definition of the indicator will be considered in December for inclusion in the 2013/14 QOF.

Among other recommendations, members backed indicators for a physical activity questionnaire, diabetes dietary review and osteoporosis care.

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