Under the proposed plans, practices could lose over £5,000 if they fail to invite a diabetes patient to eight annual care checks, but NICE has stopped short of recommending the bundled indicator to include all nine recommended annual checks for diabetes patients, as the ninth test – a retinal screen – was deemed to be out of GPs’ control.
The development of a bunded indicator was approved for development by the Primary Care QOF Indicator Advisory Committee last week, and is likely to include current indicators for measurement of HbA1c, cholesterol, blood pressure and foot checks. Practices would have to carry out all the specified checks in each patient before they are awarded the points for the indicator.
Pulse revealed in July that ministers had written to NICE to ask it to explore the practicality of raising QOF thresholds and creating a ‘composite’ indicator in QOF for diabetes.
The GPC has said bundling diabetes indicators will be ‘demotivating’ to GPs, but was backed by the influential House of Commons Public Accounts Committee last month.
NICE said it was unable to say at this stage which indicators might be included in the bundled indicator and whether it would replace or supplement the existing diabetes indicators.
A NICE spokesperson said: ‘There is a lot more work to be undertaken over the next 16 months before any potential indicators to be considered for development could enter the QOF.
‘Some stages of this work will include piloting in general practice, and full public consultation to provide the opportunity for everyone with an interest to contribute to the development of indicators.’
NICE’s indicator development team will report back to the committee in June, and if approved the indicator will be piloted in GP practices for at least six months. The earliest such an indicator could enter the QOF would be April 2015.