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Rheumatoid arthritis in QOF 2013/14 menu

Article: 8040872 stethoscopeRheumatoid arthritis could be added to the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) for the first time, as NICE unveils potential indicators for 2013/14.

Introduced in 2004 as part of the General Medical Services Contract, the QOF is an incentive scheme for GP practices in the UK, rewarding them for how well they care for patients.

NICE has recommended four new indicators on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which cover practices producing a register of all patients aged 16 years and over with RA, and patients with RA being assessed for cardiovascular risk and fracture risk.

Elsewhere, there are two new indicators for men with diabetes which highlight asking them about erectile dysfunction and offering advice on treatment options as needed, new indicators on offering patients with heart failure and COPD rehabilitation programmes, and further proposed indicators on hypertension and depression.

Indicators are based on the most up-to-date evidence and have been piloted across a range of practices with the support of the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

NICE has also revised wording for the diabetes indication DM13 and for the stroke indicator - stroke 8.

A number of existing QOF indicators have also been up forward to be retired or amended, including ones for coronary heart disease, chronic kidney disease, epilepsy and hypertension.

Dr Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health and Social Care at NICE said: "The new potential QOF indicators can make a real difference, helping to ensure high standards of care and improve outcomes for patients in general practice.

"These indicators are based on the best evidence and have been subject to wide consultation with professional groups, patients and community and voluntary organisations, as well as being tested across general practice to make sure they work.

"The independent QOF Advisory Committee has carefully considered the indicators before recommending them for inclusion in this final menu, and we believe that indicators on these aspects of healthcare will help contribute to high quality outcomes for patients."

Dr Colin Hunter, QOF Advisory Committee Chair, added: "On behalf of the independent QOF Committee, I'm pleased to see our recommendations for the 2013/14 QOF published today. Our independent Committee is made up of healthcare professionals and lay members with a wide range of expertise and experience, and this is essential in making sure that the new proposed indicators will make a real difference to patient care, as well as being practicable for general practice."

The final decision on which indicators will be added to the QOF will be made by the BMA's General Practitioners Committee (GPC) and NHS Employers and announced in winter 2012/13.

1 August 2012

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Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.