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Network QOF likely to be in next GP contract, NHS England medical director says

by Valeria Fiore
5 December 2018

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There is some ‘reasonable agreement’ on the need to include a ‘network QOF’, a medical director at NHS England told Management in Practice.
Speaking at the Management in Practice event in Birmingham yesterday, Dr Raj Patel, national deputy medical director of primary care at NHS England said practices will be encouraged to work more collaboratively in the future.
He added: ‘There will be financial incentives around a network QOF, to say what you need to deliver for your community to improve its life.’
Dr Patel later told Management in Practice that the introduction of this ‘network-based QOF’ is still undergoing negotiations with the BMA and the GPC, as it is praxis that any chances to the GMS contract are negotiated annually between the trade union and NHS England.
He said: ‘The idea is that QOF doesn’t go away. You still have a practice-based QOF but you have a QOF that is also to encourage practices to work together. [It’s a QOF] based around natural population.’
Practices will get rewarded for the health outcomes they will make at a population level, although Dr Patel said it is still too early to say how this indicator will be measured.
He said: ‘It is still at draft stage and we still need to get final agreement with the BMA on that. However, it is likely to be part of [next year’s contract] and there’s some reasonable agreement that it ought to be.’
The BMA said it cannot comment on ongoing negotiations.
A review of the framework published in Julysuggested the possibility of collecting QOF data as a network, but said the approach had to be trialled first.
Dr Robert Varnam, clinical lead for primary care transformation at NHS England – who also attended the event in Birmingham – told Management in Practice that a series of organisations have already tested this.
Dr Varnam said: ‘There are now several CCGs in the country where either elements of QOF or elements of local enhanced services are very much done at a bigger level.
‘We hope that elements of a number of contracts, not just GMS QOF can be used more collaboratively.’
According to interim findings from the review of the GP partnership model, around 5,000 practices are now working collaboratively as part of a network.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced two weeks ago that £3.5bn a year by 2023/24will be allocated specifically to primary and community care, announcing community based 24/7 rapid response teams to avoid people ending up in hospital.
The measure was announced as part of the NHS long-term plan, which will be released by 21 December.