My role


The proposed new GP contract drops men's health

Despite widespread fanfare about named GPs being responsible for the care of their elderly patients, the bonfire of QOF points got little attention despite the end of incentives to ask men about diabetes and ED.

The BBC ran the story that Frail patients to be given named GP to co-ordinate care. The Guardian did mention men's health at the end of New GP contract to move focus from targets to patients, says Hunt.

One of the newer items in the Quality and Outcomes Framework, QOF, was that GPs would ask men with diabetes about erection problems so that it could be treated and because ED can be an early sign of heart disease. GPs get points for doing things in the QOF and points mean prices. Well, extra pay.

In short, the link between diabetes and ED was seen as so important that GPs were incentivised to identify the problem which could then be treated. In 2011, the MHF worked with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Men's Health to highlight the importance of this issue.

As reported in the professional press, about 40% of QOF points will be wiped out. The argument is that GPs should be free of targets. Now Pulse, the magazine for GPs, reports there may be no change in bureaucracy as a result of the change.

We think there's a reason these incentives were introduced in the first place. Men were not being asked about ED, their quality of life was not improved and potentially fatal heart problems were not caught. Once asked, they could be offered treatment to fix it. 

Based on the comment by the BMA's Dr Vautrey in the Guardian article, we can expect a return to inaction and expecting men to suffer in silence.

"we had to keep reminding men with diabetes about their impotence by asking them every time they came to see a GP about their erectile dysfunction. It was wholly insensitive."