National Institiue for Health and Clinical Excellence

Annual Review - 2009/2010

NICE has a key role in QOF and our recommendations will help tackle health inequalities

Driving up quality of care in general practice

NICE has played a major role in shaping the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) in 2010/11, by recommending new indicators to help improve the care of patients with conditions such as diabetes, dementia and mental health problems.

The QOF is a national scheme which rewards GP practices in the UK for implementing improvements in the quality of care for patients. Under the scheme, GP’s practices score points according to their level of achievement against a series of indicators.

NICE took on the role of developing and reviewing QOF clinical and health improvement indicators in April 2009, following a public consultation.

An independent QOF Advisory Committee, made up of 30 members drawn from the four UK nations, was set up to oversee this work.

The committee meets at least twice a year and has the job of prioritising suggestions for new clinical or public health topics; making recommendations for indicator development; considering the outcome of piloting and consultation, and making the final indicator recommendations.

The committee also reviews current QOF indicators, considering levels of achievement and trends over time in achievement levels. The committee also considers indicators in light of new evidence, including evidence of unintended consequences as well as the results of cost effectiveness evidence.

In August 2010, NICE published a menu of new indicators to be considered for inclusion in the QOF in 2011/12, and made recommendations on indicators that should be retired following analysis of current achievement levels 

NICE’s recommendations were considered by NHS Employers, on behalf of the UK Health Departments General Practitioners Committee on behalf of the British Medical Association, before being applied nationally to the QOF.

Dr Colin Hunter, Chair of the QOF Advisory Committee and a GP in Aberdeen, says: “I'm confident these potential new indicators for 2011/12 QOF, together with our recommendations on which indicators can be retired, will drive up quality of care across general practice.

“NICE has a key role in QOF and our recommendations will help tackle health inequalities and, importantly, target resources where they are most needed.”

NICE’s role in QOF