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Contract changes bring huge cut in QOF work

Cutting pointless targets and bureaucracy will free up GP time says BMA

Louise Prime

Friday, 15 November 2013

The changes that the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee has negotiated to the GP Contract will cut bureaucratic box-ticking and unnecessary targets in general practice, freeing up GPs’ time to allow them to focus on their patients’ needs, it claimed this morning.

The BMA said that the GPC had sought in its “constructive talks” with NHS Employers to relieve the workload pressure on GPs – and that as a result, a total of 338 points have been removed from the Quality and Outcomes Framework. Of these, 238 QOF points – worth about £290m – will be made part of the core GP funding.

A further 100 points will fund part of a new enhanced service for patients with complex needs, with an overall budget of £162m, aimed at preventing unnecessary hospital admissions and A&E attendances. Emergency providers will have easier telephone access to GPs so they can ring them to discuss whether or not a patient needs admission.

It has also been agreed that every person aged 75 years and over will be assigned a “named, accountable GP” who is responsible for ensuring that they receive coordinated care.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul (pictured) said: “GPs are facing unprecedented pressures on workload with rising demand and limited resources ...

“The government has listened to the concerns of the BMA and reversed the adverse impact of last year’s contract changes, which resulted in the introduction of unnecessary targets and excessive paperwork, freeing up resources for GPs to use their clinical judgement, not a checklist, when treating their patients.

“This will not only free up GPs to spend more time focusing on treating patients, but will also mean that valuable resources will be reinvested in general practice to improve frontline care. We have also negotiated changes that will encourage GPs to provide more personalised care for vulnerable patients at risk of hospital admission, with improved access and other measures to better coordinate their care.”

Other changes to the contract mean that GPs will have a contractual commitment to monitor the quality of out-of-hours services that their patients use; and, from December 2014, general practice will face the Friends and Family test. New IT systems will be introduced so that patients can book appointments online, and access their summary care record.

Dr Nagpaul added that the GPC was pleased to have negotiated a stay of execution for seniority payments. He said: “We recognise that the government has expressed a determination to phase out age related pay progression across the public sector, and we remain concerned at how the removal of seniority will affect GP retention. However, we are pleased to have negotiated for these to remain in place for the next six years for those currently receiving them. We have also secured a commitment that all the savings made will be reinvested back into general practice budgets and will not be lost to the profession as a whole.”

He concluded: “The BMA believes that through constructive talks we have reached an acceptable deal that will help to relieve workload pressures on GPs and is a first step towards enabling general practice to meet the challenges that it faces in the coming years.”

NHS Employers: Contract changes 2014/15

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