There is presumably some schedule behind the production of new business rules for QOF. These are the rules that govern the data extraction from practice systems and are negotiated across all four countries. For this reason they tend to be a bit of a camel.They pop up every six months or so, and the version numbers seem to increase by 0.5 each time. Counter intuitively it is the ones ending in .5 that are the big ones but with version ten of the business rules being recently released what is new?
Well not a lot. This has its downsides. Mental health is still a bit of a mess with its Hotel California register (once you are on it you can never leave). For the most part this will be something of a relief to practices who don't fancy changing all of their codes again.
There are a few changes worth noting. Firstly smoking exception codes have disappeared, but only for Records 22. The exception codes (for informed dissent and unsuitability) are still there for high risk groups counted in the smoking indicators.
Also in relation to smoking patients under 20 with asthma are no longer in the high risk group. I don't know why, especially as patients of that age with diabetes, heart disease or strokes are still in there, but there you go.
More important changes have been made to dementia assessment. There is now a specific code for annual review ( 6AB ) and the old, vaguer, codes no longer count.
In a similar vein the old LVD exception codes no longer apply (those starting 9h1 ) and have been superseded with 9hH codes.
My suggested action plan for practices would be
- Check the review codes for dementia (especially on templates) since April and make sure they are 6AB
- Check the exception codes for heart failure (templates again) and make sure you are using 9hH codes