A team of GP academics and the Royal College of General Practitioners have been appointed to lead an overhaul of Quality and Outcomes Framework indicators.

The Department of Health announced in March that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence was to take over the development of the QoF indicators, despite objections from GPs who were concerned that it did not sufficiently understand primary care.

NICE has now awarded the contract for reviewing existing indicators and proposing new ones to a group led by Professor Helen Lester, deputy director of the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre and a part time GP.

The appointment of Professor Lester and another GP, Dr Colin Hunter, as chair of NICE’s QoF indicator advisory committee, has eased some fears about the changes.

Professor Lester told the Healthcare Republic news service it was “critical” that GPs were involved in reviewing the indicators.

She said: “QoF is such an important part of what we do in primary care that not having a group grounded in primary care reviewing the indicators would feel wrong.”

The NPCRDC bid for the work with the RGGP and will work alongside the University of York’s Health Economics Consortium. No other bidders have been officially named.

NICE has asked the team to develop ten new indicators a year. After the advisory committee meets for the first time in June, work will start at the beginning of October and indicators will be piloted in 30 practices.

This will be followed with further piloting in another 30 practices in April 2010. The committee will help decide which indicators are piloted and then passed to the BMA’s GP Committee and NHS Employers for further negotiation.

Professor Lester continued: “We are delighted to be working with NICE. We hope we can encourage an evidence-based approach not only to the content of the indicators themselves, but also to the development and review process.

“We can now ensure that new indicators make sense to primary care practitioners and work across systems and settings and ensure unintended consequences are spotted and addressed before a national roll out.”

Link:Quality and Outcomes Framework