New QOF indicator boosts demand for NICE patient information and renews emphasis on electronic distribution
The benefits of NICE advice are reflected in the latest programme of incentives offered annually to GP surgeries in the UK. This programme, known as the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), is a voluntary scheme that GPs can sign up to. It rewards practices for providing good quality care.
As part of the indicators for 2009/10, GP practices are asked to provide details of how many women have been given information on long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). This could be at the time - or within a month - of receiving emergency contraception.
NICE produced a patient information leaflet on LARC in October 2005 to support its clinical guideline on the topic. The leaflet ‘Long-acting reversible contraception: Understanding NICE guidance' explains the different options available.
As a result of this new GP incentive, demand for our leaflet has rocketed. During 2008, requests for copies reached a maximum of 300 a month. Since April, when the new indicator was released, demand has been overwhelming - in one month alone over 5800 copies were requested.
In response, NICE immediately reprinted several thousand copies.
However, like any other part of the NHS, our resources are limited and the leap in demand led to a rethink on how to encourage people (clinicians and the general public) to make more use of electronic versions of our documents.
In the case of LARC, for example, an easy to read black and white version of the leaflet was uploaded to our website, so that GPs can print it off from their desks using a black and white printer. (Colour versions may not be quite so easy to read when printed off using a black and white printer.)
In addition, NICE has added a statement to the leaflet encouraging healthcare professionals to incorporate this information into their own literature.
GP practices can still get hold of printed versions of the LARC and other ‘Understanding NICE guidance' leaflets (phone 0845 003 7783 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and quote the appropriate reference). However, copies are now limited to 50 per practice.
Introduced in 2004 as part of the general medical services contract, the QOF contains groups of indicators against which practices score points - and financial rewards - according to how well they perform.
The indicators cover everything from clinical treatment, such as the treatment of coronary heart disease and hypertension, to the prevention of ill health and the promotion of good health - such as cervical screening and contraceptive services.
Since April, NICE has been overseeing the process for reviewing and developing the QOF.
Issued: 8 June 2009
This page was last updated: 10 May 2010