7 Aug 2020

COVID-19 updates for practice funding

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Further guidance has been released by NHS England setting out income guarantees, work expectations and additional funding for COVID-19 related expenses, a summary of this is set out below. For additional funding claims, a form can be found here. Claims MUST be submitted by 15th September 2020.

Investment and Impact Fund (IIF)

  • Commences 1st October 2020;
  • Funding for April to September 2020 has been paid as support monies to PCNs at 27p per weighted patient;
  • Funding from October 2020 will be used to reward PCNs for performance against IIF indicators.

Staff reimbursements

For clinical and non-clinical staff taking COVID-19 related sick leave or who were shielding and were unable to work remotely, practices should offer full pay between 23rd March and 31st July 2020. Practices were unable to use the Furlough Scheme and so funding is available via NHSE.

  • For GPs, reimbursements can be claimed from day 1 to day 14 of sick leave (between 23rd March and 31st July 2020) at the rates set out below and any absence after this is funded via the normal sickness locum reimbursement rates via NHSE;
  • For non-GP staff, reimbursement can be claimed for the entire period of absence between 23rd March and 31st July 2020.

For additional staff capacity requirements, CCG approval needs to be sought and then the practice can apply for funding (subject to commissioner approval). Funding can be claimed between 23rd March and 31st July 2020 unless covered by the Care Homes provision, in which case, funding can be claimed up to 30th September 2020.

Rates of reimbursement:

  • GP Partners – maximum of 2 sessions per week, maximum of £289 per 4 hour session plus employers NI (despite the fact that partners are not subject to employers NI) and employers pension;
  • Salaried GPs – funding can be claimed at the rates paid to the GP in February 2020;
  • Temporary salaried GPs - £200 per session plus employers NI and pension;
  • Locum GPs - £200 per session plus employers NI and pension;
  • Other staff – current rates of pay but subject to approval of requirement.

From 1st August 2020, funding will cease but where practices have required additional staff due to COVID-19, this can be reimbursed if agreed with the commissioner;

Bank holiday opening attracted additional funding for staff but also for additional facilities management charges such as cleaning and utilities. Claims can still be made for these if made prior to 15th September 2020.

Other reimbursements

  • PPE costs will be reclaimable (further guidance will be released) for purchases made 1st March to 31st July 2020. Deadline 15th September 2020;
  • Additional costs incurred due to COVID-19 will be reclaimable for costs incurred 1st March to 31st July 2020. These can include additional cleaning, additional clinical equipment such as thermometers and oximeters as well as costs of minor physical adjustments such as Perspex screens and barriers. Deadline 15th September 2020.

Enhanced services

  • Minor Surgery and Violent Patients DESs – payments as per last year’s activity for 1st April 2020 to 30th June 2020;
  • CHI DES – local commissioners may offer income protection for Q4 of 2019/10 and Q1 of 2020/21 only. Data will need to have been submitted through Open Exeter on time and practices need to demonstrate that their performance has been negatively impacted by COVID-19 activities and that it had a material impact upon funding (i.e. previously higher 90% targets were achieved but during this period, lower 70% targets were achieved);
  • Commissioners are encouraged to restart LESs and pilots to step up routine and non-urgent services where they had been suspended and fair pay arrangements should be in place.

QOF

  • Major expansion of the Winter Flu Campaign to include over 50s;
  • Focus on both early cancer diagnosis and care of people with learning disabilities;
  • Requests to maintain accurate disease registers, prescribing indicators and cervical screening indicators with delivery rates as close as possible to normal performance;
  • Subject to the delivery of the revised and simplified QOF requirements, QOF income is to be guaranteed. Further information to be released.

Appraisals

  • Appraisals were initially suspended (except for exceptional circumstances) as part of the COVID-19 support package and will be reintroduced but no dates have been announced yet;
  • Post COVID-19 appraisals are to be ‘re-imagined’ with less requirements for supporting documentation from GPs;
  • GPs who were due to revalidate between 17th March 2020 and 16th March 2021, have had their revalidation dates postponed by one year.

Changes from 1st July 2020:

  • If de-prioritised, these services should now resume:
    • New patient reviews (including alcohol dependency)
  • Routine medication reviews
  • Over-75 health checks
  • Clinical reviews of frailty

Although these may be deprioritised again if there are local outbreaks.

  • Shingles vaccination programme is reinstated;
  • Requirement for practices to engage with PPGs is reinstated;
  • Practice asked to resume normal complaints management activities;
  • PCSE will resume routine list reconciliation and data quality checks;
  • Dispensing practices asked to resume dispensing list cleansing activities;
  • DSQS reinstated 1st August 2020 with income up to 30th July 2020 continuing at previous year’s funding level. Practices need to confirm their intention to participate in the scheme with the commissioner.

Expected to continue until at least 30th September:

  • Suspension of reporting requirement for Friends and Family Tests;
  • Suspension of requirement for individual patient consent for electronic repeat dispensing;
  • Care homes costs continues to be claimable;
  • Increased appointment slots that must be made available for direct booking by 111 to 1 slot per 500 patients (minimum).

We are here to help you navigate these new updates so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need assistance or advice.