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Physical activity to be removed from QOF

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The failure of GPs to properly use the NHS Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) - the government's voluntary incentive scheme - will result in a dramatic slimming down of the service in 2014.

Disappointingly, among the incentives to be scrapped from QOF are the ones relating to assessing physical activity.

The scrapping of physical activity assessments will come as a blow to the health and wellness sector, as intervention programmes linked to it - such as Sport England's Let's Get Moving initiative - have been proven to be highly successful.

According to ukactive, if used effectively, physical activity could be used by the NHS to manage and prevent more than 20 conditions and diseases - such as coronary heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

It seems, however, that some GPs remain unconvinced and unaware of the benefits of physical activity. Others have described the QOF in general as increasing "tick-box medicine" while adding to the bureaucratic burden on practices - and contributing to an "unmanageable" rise in workload.

The slimming down of the QOF is seen by some as a personal victory for Chaand Nagpaul, the new chair of the General Practitioners' Committee (GPC).

Nagpaul took up the GPC post in August and in his first open letter to GPs called for the withdrawal of QOF targets that 'do not benefit patients'.

David Stalker, CEO of ukactive, responded to the news by calling for more education and training to be given to GPs and health professionals on the benefits of physical activity.

He said: "Improving the training of primary care professionals on the specific health benefits of physical activity, and making evidence based interventions available to healthcare professionals, have to be the next steps to achieve a healthier and more active nation.

"Irrefutable evidence is growing daily that physical activity is an effective way for healthcare professionals to prevent, manage and treat a number of chronic conditions."

In total, the QOF - a voluntary scheme for GP practices in the UK that rewards them for how well they care for patients - will be slimmed down by about 40 per cent under the reforms from April 2014.

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The failure of GPs to properly use the NHS Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) - the government's voluntary incentive scheme - will result in a dramatic slimming down of the service in 2014.
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