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Practices hit by flu payment chaos over Christmas holiday period

GP practices across England have been forced to review flu and pneumococcal immunisation data manually over the Christmas break to avoid delayed payments, after yet further chaos with the NHS GP data extraction system.

A letter sent by NHS England just two days before Christmas informed practices using EMIS or TPP (SystmOne) they had until midday today to submit all their information – or they would miss out on payment in January.

The letter explained to EMIS practices their November childhood flu immunisation data could be missing altogether, while November payments for seasonal flu immunisations had been miscalculated.

Practices on EMIS and those on TPP(SystmOne) were also informed their pneumococcal vaccination payments had been wrongly calculated.

NHS England said it was working with the GP IT system providers and the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) to sort out the problem - which affects practices across the whole of the country - and would reimburse practices for any shortfall.

But GP leaders said the situation was ‘unacceptable’ for practices that were already struggling with extra workload and under tight financial constraints.

The letter to practices from one NHS England area team, seen by Pulse, warned practices their payments could be delayed if they missed two deadlines. It gave practice until 10am today to get data submitted and then until midday to ‘declare payments’.

It then stated that ‘on receipt of your completed submission forms, we will amend your data for you and email you to inform you that this had been done, you must then declare the payment by midday on 4 January 2016 for a January payment’.

It added that ‘failure to declare by the midday deadline will result in the payment not being made by February 2016’.

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘We are working with the providers (EMIS and TPP) and the HSCIC to identify the issues and the impact this may have had on any practice which is affected.

‘Once these matters are resolved, any shortfall will be reimbursed to the practice as soon as possible.’

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said it was ‘completely unacceptable that yet again NHS England commissioned IT systems are failing practices and adding yet more workload on to already overworked practice staff’.

Dr Vautrey added that he and other GPC members were ‘hearing from angry and frustrated practice managers who are having to cope with manually reviewing this data in order to secure essential payments’.

He said: ‘When many practices are struggling financially, every penny counts and it’s important that the system supports practices and ensures the cashflow is not compromised by these kinds of payment delays.’

The Health and Social Care Information Centre said in a statement: ‘We continue to work closely with NHS England, EMIS and TPP to rectify these problems and apologise for any inconvenience caused.’

The disruption over immunisation payments comes as many practices are already facing shortfalls of thousands of pounds after delays in payments for the unplanned admissions DES, which were due in mid-November.

The DES payment delays - which have left some practices as much as £10,000 out of pocket - were also partly down to data extraction problems and miscalculations with EMIS and TPP (SystmOne).

Readers' comments (8)

  • Omnishambles. Again.

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  • Check, check and check our checks, we have enough to do. There have been enough problems with CQRS and for time constraints to be imposed like this is totally unfair. Isnt it about time that there was a one size fits all. Lighten our load, dont give us more...........

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  • NHSE staff point their underworked, incompetent, critical fingers at GP practices and their performance and yet NHSE must be one of the most chaotic and shambolic outfits going. Practices are being bullied into submitting data in ridiculous timeframes to avoid negative consequences. Why do the incompetents at NHSE never face any consequences? They just become promoted to their level of incompetence.

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  • Is this breach of contract -in which case class action county court
    Is this total incompetence and not breach of contract invoice the delayed payment with interest charges -and then class action if not paid plus interest and costs for any charges that result from delayed payments

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  • State sponsored corruption at it's best - the system is set against you - why go to the casino, come to primary care and enjoy the same loaded dice.
    No porkies here:)

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  • This is what the Gov.UK site says about late payments:

    1. When a payment becomes late

    You can claim interest and debt recovery costs if another business is late paying for goods or a service.

    If you haven’t already agreed when the money will be paid, the law says the payment is late after 30 days for public authorities and business transactions after either:

    the customer gets the invoice
    you deliver the goods or provide the service (if this is later)

    You can agree a longer period for payments from one business to another - but if it’s longer than 60 days it must be fair to both businesses.

    Looks like (Anonymous | Sessional/Locum GP04 Jan 2016 1:47pm) may well have a point!

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  • ...and this will all get so much better when C****pita takes over the administration of the system (coming to a town near you shortly).

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  • Why should we expect better from NHSE - arn't they the very people who used to run PCTs (badly)

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