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Hunt wants to drop all QOF targets

BMA warns some targets have helped improve care

Adrian O'Dowd

Friday, 02 May 2014

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) has voiced his enthusiasm to drop all Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) targets for GPs.

The BMA, however, has rejected his suggestion, saying QOF had helped improve standards of patient care and supported GP practices.

Mr Hunt, speaking at the annual conference of NHS Clinical Commissioners held in London this week, said he wanted to “restore that strong bond between doctor and patient at a local level outside hospital”.

“That's why we've changed the GP contract bringing back named GPs for those aged 75 and over and removed 40% of the QOF targets - and I'd like to remove the lot of them if I could.

“I think continuity of care is absolutely core to the vision we all want in terms of out-of-hospital care for people with chronic and long-term conditions.”

For the 2014-15 QOF, a total of 182 points are being removed from the clinical domain, 33 points from the public health domain, and 33 points from the patient experience indicator, to be transferred into core funding. In addition, it has been agreed to remove three points to the new Learning Disabilities enhanced service.

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the BMA’s GP committee told OnMedica: “We sought to rationalise and reduce QOF because of the burden it was placing upon GPs and the way it was being used to micro manage practice and to disempower the professionalism of GPs.

“There may be scope to reduce QOF further, but we need to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. QOF has been a valuable way of ensuring good treatment of patients with long-term conditions right across the country and ensuring a standard of care.

“We would need to be careful to understand what would replace it. The key thing is we maintain good standards of care for patients and enable real resource to support what practices need to do.”

Picture credit: Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

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