In response to COVID-19, new changes have been announced for the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). GPs across the UK must now implement these updates to reflect the impact of coronavirus on the health service.
QOF is a system for performance management and payment of GPs across the UK, and is designed to remunerate GPs for providing a high quality of care to their patients and funding to further improve care quality. To reflect the impact of COVID-19, the approach to QOF for 2020/21 has been revised to enable GP practices to reprioritise care not related to the virus and release capacity in practices to focus on recovery.
Recent findings suggest that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable patients in society and so the updates aim to help GPs focus their efforts on identifying and prioritising people at risk, particularly BAME groups. The changes to QOF will also help GPs to restore care in areas such as early cancer diagnosis, screening and care for people with learning disabilities.
The total points available to GPs will remain at 567 and the value of a point remains at £194.83.
Income relating to 310 points will be protected as part of the changes introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This may be based on previous performance, however there are expectations placed on this, such as ensuring high risk patients are identified and reviewed.
Performance against protected points will be monitored through CQRS, but will not be used for payment purposes.
Points available for the four flu indicators and two cervical screening indicators have doubled to 58 and will continue to be based on performance, however the payment formula has been changed.
Work must continue on the QOF prescribing indicators and maintaining disease register (worth 44 and 81 points respectively).
QI indicators have been amended to support practices to focus on actions to help with the restoration of key services to people with a learning disability and early cancer diagnosis. This will continue to be performance based although workload will be less onerous than originally planned and they are worth 37 points each.
In addition to these changes as outlined in the full guidance document, it has been announced that PCNs will receive additional payments under the new Impact and Investment Fund for achieving 70-77% provision of flu vaccinations to patients over 65, at a network level.
Dispensing practices should be aware that the Dispensing Services Quality Scheme was reinstated from 1 August and dispensing practices wanting to participate should have advised their commissioner. The requirement to undertake medication reviews for a minimum of 10% of dispensing patients has been reduced to 7.5% for the rest of 2020 and practices are being asked to prioritise higher risk patients and those who would benefit from a review.
As we move into the winter months and GPs continue to reprioritise non-COVID related health matters, it is also important to keep patients informed of changes, especially the most vulnerable.
If you’d like further clarity on the changes to the Quality and Outcomes Framework, speak to our team of medical experts today.