QoF frozen as part of swine flu deal

  • 15 September 2009

No changes will be made to the Quality and Outcomes Framework next year and some indicators will be dropped in 2011-12 under a deal agreed by the British Medical Association and NHS Employers on the swine flu vaccination programme.

The UK-wide agreement means GP practices will be paid £10.50 for every patient given the swine flu vaccine, at £5.25 per dose. The vaccination programme is due to begin in the autumn, subject to the vaccine being licensed, and will target nine million people identified as being most at risk from complications.

The Department of Health said the payments to GPs would help surgeries to contact patients, administer the vaccine and, if necessary, take on extra staff.

NHS Employers agreed with the BMA’s General Practitioner Committee not to introduce any changes to the QoF next year to allow practices time to prepare for the vaccination programme.

In 2011-12, it will also release the 28 points recommended for retirement by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). NHS Employers said NICE will then pilot suggested new indicators and if appropriate, include them in recommendations for future indicators.

The QoF will continue in 2009-10. But if GP practices vaccinate at least 3% more at risk patients for swine flu than they vaccinated in the 2008-09 uptake of seasonal flu they will get a 10% drop in the upper and 20% drop in the lower thresholds of QoF targets PE7 and PE8, covering advanced access and offering patients an appointment within 48 hours.

Money to fund the agreement will come from the DH in the form of a directed enhanced service (DES). Health secretary Andy Burnham said the deal represented good value for money as it would reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment.

He added: “I am glad that we have reached a fair deal with the GPC and I am pleased that GPs will continue to play a key role in the fight against swine flu. They have already worked incredibly hard in what have been very difficult circumstances to help their patients.”

Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC chairman, said the programme would involve a lot of additional work for practices but that general practice was used to running large vaccination programmes.

He added: “We are confident that GPs and their teams will have the resources they need in order to run the swine flu vaccination programme smoothly and efficiently.”

Other elements of the deal include an agreement that data collection on childhood vaccinations for the third quarter of 2009 will be delayed by six weeks to mid February and district nurses will vaccinate all housebound patients in line with arrangements for seasonal flu.

NHS Employers said it was now finalising the details of a DES to support the implementation but in the interim primary care organisations should start discussions with practices on plans to implement the swine flu vaccination programme.

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