Chris Johnstone, GP, Paisley, Renfrewshire I was disappointed by the tone of Daloni Carlisle's article on GPs' financial incentives for the quality and outcomes framework (news analysis, page 16, 26 May). It was anti-GP and suggested that GPs did not deserve the quality and outcomes money.
The article says GPs 'won' points that they had in fact earned. The contract was aimed at raising practices to the high levels that many had achieved prior to QOF - but had not been rewarded for under the old contract.
In the past, many practices provided a high quality service - and GPs took home less money because it cost them more to provide that service. Now quality is being rewarded, and all practices have been encouraged to attain good standards.
The article also says the Department of Health planned its funding around the expectation that 74 per cent of practices could achieve 750 points. This is true, but the article fails to remind readers that the DoH originally expected 90 per cent of practices to achieve 900 points. This was a much more realistic target, but it was reduced for expediency when it looked like the contract it might not be accepted. It is the DoH's fault that primary care trusts have been underfunded, not GPs'.
The QOF has made a big difference to patients' health and their experiences in primary care. I am surprised at the anonymous manager saying prescribing patterns have not changed much. This is certainly not my experience in our local healthcare co-operative. We have prescribed many more daily defined doses of effective drugs. This has not led to a significant cost rise as many of these drugs came off patent last year and the large increase in prescribing has gone unnoticed as the drugs are a lot cheaper.
The QOF is not perfect. It has only run for one year and will be improved in future years. But it is certainly not as bad as your slanted article suggests. It has led to better patient care and rewarded GPs appropriately for good care and management.