latest health care news


GP pay-for-performance incentive ‘morally wrong’ – Patients Association

The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), introduced to incentivise GPs to improve performance, is ‘morally wrong’, the Patients Association has said.

A new study by researchers from the universities of Michigan, Manchester and York, published in the Lancet, shows that the QOF has failed to improve patient survival rates.

The QOF, introduced in 2004, is the world’s largest primary care pay-for-performance programme and offers GPs financial incentives for fulfilling over 100 quality of care indicators.

However, the research shows that between 1994 and 2010, there was no significant difference in survival rates from conditions such as cancer and heart disease between the UK and other countries with comparable health systems.

Tim Doran, professor of health policy at the University of York's department of health sciences, said: “Previous studies have shown that financial incentives paid to providers can lead to modest improvements in patient care, but the effects on patient outcomes have been variable, and in some cases care has suffered.

“These research results raise questions about the cost-effectiveness of pay-for-performance in healthcare, and about the best way to improve population health and life expectancy.”

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “GPs need to focus on all their patients and not just those patients where they can measure or record data and get paid for it.

“Giving doctors bribes to focus on specific conditions is morally wrong and ethically wrong. GPs must focus on patient care and outcomes - their priorities should not be compromised by financial incentives.”

The Royal College of GPs has previously called for QOF to be replaced with a new funding arrangement, calling it an ‘unnecessary burden’ on GPs.

A Department of Health spokesman stated that NHS England has agreed to undertake a review of QOF in the coming year, to “see how we can best manage the system for the future”.

NHS England recently published its General Practice Forward View strategy, promising funding and recruitment increases to help deal with the crisis facing GP care.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now beyond more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News


Staying curious with the Shadow Board Programme

20/03/2019Staying curious with the Shadow Board Programme

Kirstie Stott, director of The Inspiring Leaders Network, discusses organis... more >
Fiction as Therapy

20/03/2019Fiction as Therapy

Elaine Bousfield of ZunTold Publishing – a press specialising in fict... more >


How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to s... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Personal Health Budgets: empowering individuals

20/03/2019Personal Health Budgets: empowering individuals

Jon Baker, PHBChoices director at NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) believes that the extension of Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) is a great opportunity for clinical comm... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

healthcare events

events calendar


March 2019

mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
25 26 27 28 1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >