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QOF will be removed in Scotland by 2017, health minister pledges

The Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) will be completely removed in Scotland by 2017, when a new GP contract is introduced, Shona Robison, cabinet secretary for health, wellbeing and sport announced today at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference in Glasgow.

She revealed that her department has been working with the British Medical Association (BMA) Scottish General Practitioners Committee (GPC), and that Scotland is "quickly moving away from tick boxes and beaurocracy".

Instead the cabinet secretary said she wants "to move towards a system of values-driven governance that reflects and is sensitive to the different needs of different communuties you serve, allowing the best use of expertise to be shared across clusters of practices".

Robison said: "I can also, delegates, announce today that I have instructed my officials to work with the BMA to dismantle the quality and outcomes framework in preparation for the new contract in 2017."

"We'll do that by arranging a transitional arrangement for quality in 16/17 in Scotland. Scotland's GPs need a new and different future starting in 2016. You know the QOF has delivered many inovations but its time has passed."

QOF was introduced in 2004 as a points-based funding system but has been widely criticised for the amount of paperwork involved. 

In order to make these changes she said "good expertise and views are critical" and urged health professionals to get involved in the transformation, branding her plans a stark contrast to the "appalling" approach of English Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt.

"This collaborative partnership approach stands in stark contrast to the actions of my opposite number in Westminster... I'm appalled, frankly, at the actions of Jeremy Hunt," in terms of his "threats to junior doctors terms and conditions" Robison said, and pledged a "cast iron guarantee" that in Scotland "we will not be following his plans".