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NICE launches consultation on 2013/14 QOF

NICE, the healthcare guidance body, has opened a public consultation today on potential new indicators for the 2013/14 Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). Anyone with an interest in health, including health professionals, patients, community groups and voluntary organisations, is encouraged to take part. Comments are welcomed via the NICE website (www.nice.org.uk) and stakeholders are asked to consider issues including any unintended consequences of introducing individual indicators, or what factors might hinder their implementation.

The "menu" includes two proposed indicators on diabetes, including offering advice to male patients who have a record of erectile dysfunction. There are also five potential indicators to improve care for people with rheumatoid arthritis, and a set of tightly linked measures on cholesterol.

The new list of 20 potential indicators has been developed following recommendations from the QOF committee meetings, and indicators have been or are currently being piloted in representative practices across the UK to test their feasibility and acceptability.

It is worth noting that the indicators out for consultation today are not the final indicators. The QOF advisory committee will consider results of the piloting and consultation feedback in June 2012 before recommending which of these potential indicators should be included in the NICE 2013/14 QOF menu.

NHS Employers (on behalf of the four UK health departments) and the General Practitioners Committee (GPC of the British Medical Association) will then ultimately decide which indicators will be included within the 2013/14 QOF. The final QOF indicators will be published by NHS Employers (NSHE).

Dr Fergus Macbeth, Director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE, said: "This consultation on potential new indicators is an integral part of NICE's process for QOF. It provides the opportunity for anyone to contribute to the development of indicators for the 2013/14 Quality Outcomes Framework. We value this input highly and any feedback will help the QOF Advisory Committee decide which indicators will be put forward for publication on the NICE menu for the QOF.

"The final menu of indicators, to be published on the NICE website in August 2012, will support healthcare professionals to deliver good quality patient care, based on the best available evidence."

Ends

Notes to editors

About QOF

1. The consultation will take place between Monday 9 January and Monday 6 February 2012.

2. Introduced in 2004, the Quality and Outcomes framework (QOF) is an annual incentive scheme that rewards GP practices in the UK for implementing systematic improvements in quality of care for patients. The QOF operates through a points system which rewards GPs for their performance in relation to groups of indicators. These payments range from those relating to clinical and health improvement topics such as coronary heart disease and hypertension to patient experience topics such as the length of consultations. NICE's role is only concerned with the clinical and health improvement indicators.

3. NICE took over the arrangements for managing the new process of developing indicators and reviewing the existing indicators in April 2009. It established a new independent Primary Care Quality and Outcomes Framework Indicator Advisory Committee responsible for reviewing existing QOF indicators and recommending new ones before producing a national "menu" of approved indicators which will be made available through the NICE website.

4. Topic suggestion for the 2013/14 Quality and Outcomes Framework took place in February 2010 and September 2010. Topics prioritized by the committee for indicator development were put through a formal indicator development process by the NICE External Contractor (NEC). This process has two elements: first, formal consensus methods are used to reword the recommendations into indicators that are likely to be valid and can be extracted from GP clinical systems. Second, these indicators are then piloted in representative practices across England and in a smaller number of practices in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

5. Both the results of piloting and consultation comments will be reviewed by the QOF advisory committee in June 2012 which will then recommend which indicators should be approved for publication by NICE in its annual “menu” of indicators.

6. NICE will publish a proposed list of indicators for 2013/14 QOF, together with recommendations on indicators to be considered for retirement in summer 2012. NHS Employers (on behalf of the four UK health departments) and the General Practitioners Committee (GPC of the British Medical Association) will then decide which indicators will be included within the 2013/14 QOF. The final QOF indicators will be published by NHS Employers (NSHE).

About NICE

1. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance and standards on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.

2. NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:

  • public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector
  • health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments, medical technologies (including devices and diagnostics) and procedures within the NHS
  • clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.

3. NICE produces standards for patient care:

  • quality standards - these reflect the very best in high quality patient care, to help healthcare practitioners and commissioners of care deliver excellent services
  • Quality and Outcomes Framework - NICE develops the clinical and health improvement indicators in the QOF, the Department of Health scheme which rewards GPs for how well they care for patients.

4. NICEprovides advice and support on putting NICE guidance and standards into practice through its implementation programme, and it collates and accredits high quality health guidance, research and information to help health professionals deliver the best patient care through NHS Evidence.

This page was last updated: 06 January 2012

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