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Variations in contract implementation alarm GP leaders

GP leaders have expressed deep concern over emerging variations in the implementation of the GP contract.

The BMA GPs committee has learned that some NHS England area teams are allowing practices to cease work on 341 QOF (quality and outcomes framework) points that are being retired in April in return for starting work on avoiding unplanned admissions to hospital under the enhanced service agreement for 2014/15. This has been agreed in Devon and Cornwall, and is being discussed in other areas.

But other area teams have rejected identical proposals by clinical commissioning groups and local medical committees acting on behalf of local GP practices.

In December, the GPC proposed that NHS England should draw up a single set of guiding principles to ensure consistency across local schemes. However, NHS England rejected this suggestion.

Differing stances

GPC chair Chaand Nagpaul (pictured above) said: ‘As NHS England is a single national organisation, designed to operate a single operational policy, we are deeply concerned that individual NHS England area teams appear to be adopting different stances towards attempts to agree these local schemes.

‘We believe that NHS England should have ensured a consistent approach across England.’

He said it was not too late for NHS England to produce such guidance.

Dr Nagpaul added: ‘We would not, however, support any QOF scheme or local contract that goes beyond what has been agreed as part of a nationally negotiated GP contract agreement. Such local arrangements could undermine national contract negotiations, potentially leading to worse financial outcomes for practices and, ultimately, a negative impact on patients in the long term.’

The GPC would like to hear about other local schemes being negotiated. Please leave your details below.