Northern Ireland Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) Information 2020/21

Date published: 29 October 2021

The Department of Health today published the achievement figures from the Northern Ireland Quality and Outcomes Framework 2020/21.

This is the seventeenth year of operation of the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), which is a system to remunerate general practices for providing good quality care to their patients, and to help fund work to further improve the quality of health care delivered. It is a fundamental part of the General Medical Services (GMS) Contract, which was introduced on 1 April 2004.

The QOF measures achievement against a range of evidence-based indicators, with points and payments awarded according to the level of achievement. The framework has four main components:

  • clinical Indicators
  • public Health Indicators (including additional services)
  • patient Experience
  • records & Systems Indicators            

Key Points


  • the average achievement in Northern Ireland was 376.4 of the 547 points available (68.8%).  Achievement across LCGs was markedly lower than in previous years, with levels in 2020/21 ranging from 65.4% in Belfast LCG to 71.5% in Southern LCG.   It should be noted that the outbreak of Covid-19 in the final quarter of 2019/2020 had a significant impact on how GP practices managed the treatment of their patients. As elements of the GMS Contract were stood down and QOF activity and reporting were suspended, QOF data for 2020/2021, including exceptions data, may have been impacted upon; it is recommended that the use of this data or drawing conclusions from it includes appropriate caveats acknowledging the unprecedented impact of Covid-19.
  • of the clinical registers collected for QOF that measure disease prevalence, prevalence was highest for hypertension (13.86%) and lowest for Osteoporosis (0.36%).
  • the average points achieved in the main domains were 221.2 points (58.2%) for Clinical, 26.6 points (76.1%) for Public Health, 10.7 points (76.1%) for Public Health - Additional Services, 18.0 points (100%) for Patient Experience and 100.0 points (100%) for Records & Systems.
  • achievement in the clinical areas ranged from 18.1% in Dementia to 99.2% in Palliative Care.  There were no new clinical areas introduced in 2020/21.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The QOF data tables and reports are published by the Department of Health (NI) via the Statistics Section of the website.  
  2. This is the seventeenth year of operation of the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). Results from previous years are available on the Department website.
  3. Despite being a voluntary arrangement, all practices in Northern Ireland have participated in the QOF since its introduction in April 2004. An agreement regarding QOF achievement was in place between the HSCB and 9 practices in relation to issues which the HSCB recognised would impact on QOF achievement in 2020/21.  These issues related to practice closures, dispersals and mergers and the subsequent impact on practices.  These 9 practices are excluded from all analysis.
  4. For statistical or data queries, please contact Information & Analysis Directorate on 02890 522700 or at
  5. For policy queries, please contact Primary Care Medical Services Branch, Primary Care Directorate on 02890 520241 or at
  6. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by email
  7. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt.
  8. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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