NICE QOF indicators taken up
GPs will be able to provide better care for people who smoke and patients with atrial fibrillation, peripheral arterial disease and osteoporosis, following changes to the quality and outcomes framework (QOF) for 2012/13.
Introduced in 2004, the QOF is an incentive scheme for GP practices in the UK, rewarding them for how well they care for patients.
NHS Employers and the British Medical Association have accepted recommendations put forward by NICE earlier this year for the inclusion of new clinical indicators.
NICE manages the process to develop the clinical and health improvement indicators for the QOF. This involves prioritising areas for new indicator development, and developing and selecting indicators.
NICE will also recommend whether existing indicators should continue to be part of the QOF. For example, where the activity being measured has become part of standard clinical practice, there would no longer be a need to provide a financial incentive.
A rigorous process of piloting was carried out on the new indicators to ensure that they are workable within every day practice, and they were put out for consultation, before they were submitted.
Under the changes, GPs will be able to offer better care for patients with osteoporosis and peripheral arterial disease, two disease areas that have not featured in QOF before.
Seven indicators, including ones for chronic heart disease and atrial fibrillation (CHD13, AF4), will be retired as recommended by NICE.
Eight NICE recommended indicators will be included in the QOF focusing on six clinical areas, namely diabetes, mental health, asthma, depression, atrial fibrillation and smoking.
It has also been agreed to increase a number of upper and lower thresholds.
The changes will affect all four countries in the UK.
2 November 2011