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Independents' Day

BMA issues correction to advice about GP sickness claims

Practices may not be able to claim full sickness reimbursement if a GP is off more than once within a year, the BMA has said.

Previous claims will be counted towards sickness reimbursement allowances if the same GP is off more than once within a 12-month period.

This is an update to previous guidance, in which the BMA had said each period of absence was treated separately for the purpose of reimbursement.

But it has now issued a correction to this claim, featured in a Pulse Q&A last October, which says 'any claim for locum cover for sickness in the previous 12 months will be counted toward the total 52-week claim period'.

The scheme allows for the full agreed amount to be paid for the first 26 weeks of leave, after which half of that fee will be paid for the next 26 weeks. The 52-week claims period begins after the initial two-week qualifying period.

A BMA spokesperson said: 'For example, if a practice claims for 12 weeks of cover, then the GP returns for three months and then goes off sick for 20 weeks: the first 12 week period would be covered to the higher rate, then the first 14 weeks of the second absence would be paid at the higher rate (totalling 26 weeks at the higher rate), and the last six weeks would be paid at the lower rate.'

The sickness reimbursement scheme, which makes practices eligible to recieve funding towards the cost of cover for a sick GP, came into effect in April 2017. It allows practices to claim 'clearly stated sums' from NHS England, the maximum being £1,734.18 per week.

In order to recieve this funding, the GP in question must be absent for longer than two weeks and provide a fit note.

Pulse's Q&A has been updated to reflect the BMA's correction.


Readers' comments (5)

  • Not enough to cover the costs of replacing a 9.5 session partner with a locum.Pays for6 sessions.These people are out of touch with the market forces in the pressure cooker.If they don’t value us this is what you get.The end my friends.

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  • Does that mean that the second period of sickness does NOT require the initial 2 week absence without reimbursement? Surely if you are considering them together like one continuous absence, then there should not be a requirement for 2 weeks absence first.

    Also the way the funding limits work means it is totally unfair on full time GPs.

    Why should a 4 session GP off for 2+26 weeks have their locums covered in full (apart from the first 2 weeks)
    But a 9 session GP off for 2+26 weeks be 56k out of pocket for the same period of sickness?
    Assuming a locum cost of 433.5 GBP/ session.

    And what about an 8 session GP who works at one GP surgery.
    And an 8 session GP who works 4 sessions at one surgery and 4 sessions at another surgery.
    My calculations are that if they both took 2+26 weeks off, the second GP would be 45k better off.

    Are we really in the business of encouraging more and more GPs to move to part time, while complaining about the shortage of GPs at the same time?

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  • What's the use of this reimbursement if NHSE acknowledges they have received your sickness paperwork twice finally reimbursing a first time 2 week illness after one year. Scares you to take further treatment if you are in Kent and Medway !! Or do they target just a few BMEs? Is this due to racism ?

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  • Took Early Retirement

    Kent and Medway seems to often be in the "bad news" sections. I wonder why? I admit, Medway is the pits of the world: I know, I was born in Gillingham and lived there till I was 17.

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  • If the same managers who were at the helm when PCT/Trust got into doldrums and failed are now heading both the CCG and NHSE - then you have broth that can be toxic!

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