The chair of the team responsible for assessing the effectiveness of the GP bonus scheme has been unveiled.

Former Scottish Royal College of GPs chair Colin Hunter will lead the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s quality and outcomes framework indicator advisory committee.

The committee will review existing indicators - the tasks that GPs are expected to complete in exchange for payment - and recommend new ones before producing a national “menu” of approved indicators.

NICE has also confirmed that the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre – based at the University of Manchester – will research which new indicators should be introduced and review existing categories.

GP rewards

Professor Helen Lester, who will lead the research, said her team would create a “transparent and understandable” methodology for working out what GPs had to achieve before they were rewarded.

She added they would also advise on indicators that could be “safely and appropriately removed”.

But she said the centre was opposed to axing exception reporting – the controversial system which allows GPs to exclude some patients from the scheme without missing out on bonuses.

Last year, HSJ published data for the first time that revealed the GPs who exclude the most patients from their quality incentive scheme.

Professor Lester said the Department of Health would retain responsibility for policy on exception reporting, but the centre would be producing extra research on what was happening to patients who were currently being exception reported by GPs under the system.