Concerns over proposals to set Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) targets locally and the proposed role of NICE in the new system have been raised by National Voices, the new umbrella organisation established by and for national voluntary organisations representing users of health and social care in England.
The government's consultation on a proposed new process for recommending QOF indicators led by NICE ended yesterday (2 February). The Department of Health is due to publish a report on how the consultation process influenced the development of policy.
But National Voices said today (3 February 2009) that it was concerned that some of the new proposals have not been thought through. "Although QOF may be considered unwieldy," it said in a statement, "it has not been made clear why the current system should be replaced rather than improved."
The organisation also warned that the government's timeframe does not take into account the time for transferring to a new system and appears to have made the consultation process "irrelevant".
It said QOF has been instrumental in raising the promotion of key health interventions at a national level and has ensured that many people have received the care they might otherwise have missed.
David Pink (pictured), chief executive of National Voices, said: "We remain to be convinced of the benefits of allowing an element of the QOF to be set locally, and would rather that local enhanced services be better promoted and used to respond to and react to differences at the local level of primary care need.
"National Voices is also concerned that the proposal to handover the management of QOF to NICE will result in complications to what is currently a UK-wide process."