As many of you are probably aware the site has had information about the potential loss of cash to practices under the government's proposed imposed changes to the QOF in England. If you have not seen this you can click on the link on the left of each of the practice pages. There is also table of the changes effects at PCT level.
Of course now that we have these statistics we can look at the breakdown a little. As I have said before the threshold changes will mostly affect those who have had most problems in meeting the targets. The practices that have tended to have lower score have tended to be those in more deprived areas. A reasonable hypothesis would be that more deprived practices tend to loose out more.
We can go onto test this. Helpfully the deprivation index for most practices was published as part of last year's GP patient survey. We can put all of this together in a spreadsheet and work out the loss per patient for the threshold changes and overall for whole set of changes. Not difficult as we have practice list size from the QOF data as well.
As it turns out there is a correlation between the deprivation and the cash lost through threshold changes at practice level. For the mathematically minded the correlation is 0.13 - not particularly strong but it is there. In practical terms the thousand least deprived practices are to loose 62 pence per patient whilst the thousand most deprived practice will loose 84 pence per patient - a difference of 12 pence. For a "typical" practice of 5891 patient this works out at £1,287 per year between the most and least deprived practices.
This all looks pretty bleak but there is another factor that works against this effect. The removed points take more from practices that have gained all of these points in the past. Statistically these tended to be practices in the least deprived areas. If we bring in the removed points then the effect almost disappears. The correlation drops to 0.03 which is small enough to be ignored.
So balance is restored - whether by luck or judgement! It does however give some idea of the less obvious effects of changes to QOF.