Around 20% of GP practices in the UK may have errors in their end of year returns for the Quality and Outcomes Framework because of a fault in their INPS system, it has emerged.

INPS issued a fix for the fault on Thursday and has advised all practices to run a new QoF report. It says practices that identify a discrepancy between the new report and their original submission will have to make a claim for the difference to their primary care trust or health board.

The problem came to light after practices transmitted their results to the Quality Management and Analysis System (QMAS) in England on 31 March.

A number of practices using INPS’s Vision system reported potential errors in the figures sent to QMAS. The problem was also found to affect practices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

INPS discovered that the error was connected to newly registered patients and said the issue was not apparent during conformance testing.

The company told practices: “Since the issue was reported we have being trying to assess the implications for each practice.

“Unfortunately, we have concluded that all INPS sites could be affected by this issue and the data on any practice’s submission could be incorrect. The level of inaccuracy will depend on patient list size, population turnover and demographic spread for each individual practice.”

Dr Peter Wiggins, deputy chairman of the National Vision User Group and a Glasgow GP, told EHI Primary Care that INPS had kept the user group closely informed of its recovery plans and he was hopeful the problems would be sorted by the end of the week.

He added: “The timescales are OK to put things right but it’s a worrying thing for practices if there are any problems with QMAS and submissions.”
Dr Wiggins said that he believed the difference between the original submission and the corrected reports would be “a small amount of money” for most practices. In his own practice he believes it amounts to 0.18 of 1% but said it was also the pride in achieving maximum points that would be affected.

Once the error came to light, INPS advised practices not to sign off their QoF submission until a fix was available. Practices who had already signed off their submission were advised to contact their PCT or health board and advise them that an adjustment might be necessary.

The company said: “We believe that figures in any audit line where the patient registered within a set timeframe (eg three months) before a reference date or age is calculated on a reference date may be affected.

“There could be errors in exception lines reporting on patients registered in the last three or nine months. Indicators with these lines potentially show incorrect figures.

Also incorrect are all Organisational Records’ statistics that are age-related ie Records 11, Records 17 and Records 23.”

INPS has issued an update for each of the four countries in the UK, with separate updates for those on their own server or on a managed server.