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Charging for our PCO-employed staff

PCO-employed community nurses help us with a number of tasks in our practice – will we be charged for all of these next year?

It will depend on the service provided. If PCO community nurses help you provide essential or additional services then it is reasonable to expect them to continue in that role.

This is because staff costs have been built into the global sum – used to supply essential and additional services – but many practices were historically paid in kind by using PCO nurses rather than receiving adequate staff funding directly. Where this money has not been transferred into the global sum it is reasonable that the nurses should continue to help provide the service.

This is also the case for treatment room nurses in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Enhanced services benchmarked pricing includes staff costs. Under these circumstances the PCO may wish to charge you for their use. But in the case of childhood vaccinations and immunisations and influenza immunisations there has been no change to the overall level of payments and, therefore, there should be no change to the staff funding or provision arrangements.

Moreover, where PCO-employed nurses are attending a patient to provide a non-contractual service (such as wound dressing) then this is not something the PCO can charge the practice for as it falls within their community provisions. Also, practices have often reciprocated by giving community staff 'free' accommodation in their premises.

If the PCO were to request charges for their staff it would be perfectly reasonable for the practice to ask for appropriate charges for accommodating PCO staff.

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