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Some childhood immunisation programmes may now be unviable, shows latest QOF scores

by Beth Gault
12 October 2022

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Practices struggled with vaccination and immunisation QOF targets in 2021/22 meaning certain programmes may now become unviable in some areas, analysis has shown.

Only 8.1% of practices were able to achieve the maximum vaccination and immunisation QOF score of 64 points in the year.

The analysis found that MMR was a particularly challenging area, with just under half of practices (44%) earning no points at all for administering an MMR dose between 12 and 18 months. Typical achievement was 91.1%, but this was the equivalent of attaining 9.4 points out of a possible 18.

Similarly, nearly half (46%) of practices obtained no points for giving two doses of MMR to children between one and five years, while 29% fell below an 80% uptake threshold. The typical achievement was 88%, just above the 87% lower threshold, which represents 8.5 points out of a possible 18. Only 16% of practices attained the full 18 points in this area.

The practices that were below the 80% threshold are at ‘significant risk of a financial hit that may make their childhood vaccination programme unviable’, according to QOF expert and GP partner in Swindon, Dr Gavin Jamie.

This is because, he explains, practices with uptake below 80% may also forfeit Item of Service payments equivalent to half of the eligible population, as stated in the General Medical Services Statement of Financial Entitlements Directions 2021.

Dr Jamie, who runs the QOF Database website, said: ‘The range of achievement for which QOF points were awarded was very limited and the number of points was high meaning that quite small changes in vaccination take up caused large variations in payments.’

He added: ‘Vaccinations and immunisation remains a difficult area for many practices and I don’t expect to see that changing this year. Ultimately, it will be for practices to decide what is appropriate, feasible and viable to offer in this area.’

The analysis also found that a third of practices got no points for DTP vaccine administration, which requires infants to have three doses before eight months. A third received the full 18 points.

It comes after it was revealed last month that NHS England would be contacting parents about 750,000 missed MMR doses.

Read the full analysis here.