Doctors' leaders to meet NHS England over payment chaos
The BMA and LMCs are set to ramp up their efforts to make NHS England resolve growing concerns over payments to GP practices.
It comes as Pulse reported a range of problems including practices being paid too much or too little, funds being reclaimed, impossible deadlines and reimbursements appearing ad hoc without a reference to clarify what it was for.
The BMA has said that the current situation with some practice payments is ‘unacceptable’, with far too many payments arriving late, in an incomplete form or without accompanying communications that don’t make it clear what the payments are for.
A BMA spokesperson said: ‘The BMA will be meeting NHS England and the relevant payment agencies to express GPs frustration at these problems, as well as seek to find a remedy that ensures the system works efficiently.’
As reported by Pulse, some practices are now facing taking out bank loans, further reducing drawings or delaying the payment of their suppliers in a bid to secure their short term cash flow.
GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘We have been meeting NHS England regularly and have told them in no uncertain terms that they need to sort out delayed payment arrangements. They have assured us that this is a top priority for them but we and the practices concerned will not be satisfied until we see clear action to resolve this unacceptable position.’
In the south of England, Londonwide LMCs and Surrey and Sussex LMCs have set up a working group to try to sort out the processes locally, with Londonwide LMCs chief executive Dr Michelle Drage commenting that the situation was ‘disheartening’.
An LMC newsletter stated: ‘A working group will be set up urgently with representatives from NHSE, Family Health Services (FHS) Londonwide LMCs (Vicky Ferlia and Lesley Williams) and Surrey & Sussex LMCs (Tracey Amatt), with the objective of mapping out payment processes and ensuring the payment system becomes fit for purpose.’
And in Birmingham LMC executive secretary Dr Bob Morley said: ‘We have had meetings with the [NHS England] area team to try and mitigate matters and I have a further meeting planned next week with the Birmingham Primary Care Shared Services Agency lead to try and further understand what the causes of some of the problems might be and how they can be put right.’
NHS England has told Pulse that it has written to all LMCs to gather information of payment problems.