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QOF payments rerun after data glitch leaves practices out thousands of pounds

10 May 2017

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An incorrectly reported practice split and significant changes to some practice registration numbers led to incorrect QOF figures being sent to the majority of practices in England, an NHS Digital investigation has found.

Following reports from practices that 2016/17 QOF payment figures were significantly lower than those for 2015/16, NHS Digital and NHS England investigated the problem.

However, GP leaders in parts of England have said the glitch led to ‘cash flow issues’ with some practices told they would be receiving £5,000 less than they were expecting.

Dr Anu Rao, medical officer for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland LMC, said the error caused ‘immense confusion’ and worry during the five weeks before the QOF calculations were rerun overnight on 2 May.

Dr Rao said: ‘The period leading up to the resolution caused problems with financial structuring and modelling for practices and of course it has an impact on payments to practice staff.

‘Most practices have some form of contingency which they’ve had to dip into to maintain their balance.’

In a letter sent to LMCs last week, NHS Digital said: ‘An investigation has identified that while the correct formula and calculations were used, there was a problem where a practice split was incorrectly reported to the Exeter system in January.

‘In addition there were a small number of practices that had significant changes in practice registration numbers and patient disease registers, which impacted on the national prevalence adjustments. This resulted in an incorrect adjustment to GP practice achievement.’

NHS Digital told Pulse that there was ‘no evidence’ that this error, which they said affected the ‘vast majority’ of practices, had happened before.

A spokesperson added that NHS Digital is carrying out an incident review, after which further measures will be put in place ‘to reduce any risk of this happening again’.