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New £150m Covid fund to cover all additional GP costs until March

New £150m Covid fund to cover all additional GP costs until March

The £150m fund NHS England will inject to keep GP services running throughout the Covid vaccination campaign is the sum of additional pandemic funding for practices ‘until March’, NHS England has clarified.

Last week, Pulse reported that NHS England expects GP practices to ‘remain open and accessible to all patients’ while vaccinating the population against Covid, and that it would distribute £150m to CCGs to facilitate this.

Announcing the funding this week, an NHS England letter outlined how the fund will be distributed as well as a number of conditions placed on receiving it.

The letter said: ‘The £150m fund represents the total available additional Covid funding for general practice until March 2021, except for arrangements for potential Covid vaccine delivery which would be in addition.’

The letter said said the fund will be ‘immediately allocated through ICS to CCGs’ for ‘the purpose of supporting the expanding general practice capacity up until the end of March 2021’.

Although commissioners control the fund, the letter added that CCGs ‘should not introduce overly burdensome administrative processes for PCNs and practices to secure support’.

The letter also outlined how the money should be used – with money held back if criteria are not met.

Conditions attached to the funding include practices returning activity to ‘at least prior levels’ and making ‘significant progress on learning disability health checks’.

The letter said: ‘Where an individual practice is not yet accurately recording activity that is broadly back at its own pre-Covid levels, it is expected to do so as part of accessing the fund.’

It added that the funding is expected to support seven ‘priority goals’:

  • Increasing GP numbers and capacity;
  • Supporting the establishment of the ‘simple Covid oximetry@home model’, with further guidance to follow;
  • Taking ‘first steps’ in identifying and supporting patients with long Covid;
  • Supporting clinically extremely vulnerable patients and maintaining the shielding list;
  • Making ‘inroads’ into the backlog of appointments, including for chronic disease management and routine vaccinations and immunisations;
  • Making ‘significant progress’ on learning disability health checks, with an expectation that all CCGs will ‘without exception’ reach the target of 67% by March 2021, and taking action to improve ethnicity data recording in GP records;
  • ‘Potentially’ offering backfill for staff absences where this is agreed by the CCG, required to meet demand and the individual is not able to work remotely.

It said: ‘ICSs and CCGs will be expected to achieve these goals, and confirm they have spent the money fully within general practice.

‘The funding is non-recurrent and should not be used to fund commitments running beyond this financial year.’

ICSs and CCGs are ‘encouraged’ to put the fund towards the creation of additional salaried GP roles that are ‘attractive to practices and locums alike’, the letter added.

It said: ‘The fund could also be used for the employment of staff returning to help with Covid, or to increase the time commitment of existing salaried staff.

‘And in line with commitments already made in the GP contract, support will be available to establish flexible pools of employed GPs (including returners) and other staff to deploy across local communities.’

Each STP or ICS will also have access to an additional fund of up to £120,000 to support the recruitment and deployment of GPs, the letter said.

It comes as GPs are gearing up to deliver a mammoth Covid vaccination programme alongside this year’s expanded flu campaign.

The announcement was pre-empted by an open letter from primary care minister Jo Churchill thanking GPs for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic last week.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Turn out The lights 11 November, 2020 10:12 am

Roughly £2 per patient nationally ,will not go very far will it Nikki especially when you are trying to conscript us into giving a vaccine which looks like it may generate a lot of additional work in one way or another.

Cameron Wilson 11 November, 2020 1:31 pm

When you consider the billions blown on the multitude of dubious actions/items over the past six months and contrast that to the support given to General Practice, that tried and trusted, reliable part of the NHS it is demoralizing as it is predictable. Not for the first time, it feels we are being set up to fail. The tone of your organisation Nikki is the exact opposite of what you purport to be. You may get us to work like donkeys for next few months but rest assured you and your masters will reap what you sow, you could easily cut the slack out of some of the box ticking nonsense we go through but even when asking us to work 12hrs a day every day, you chose not to do so. If we treated our staff like that, we would be up before a tribunal and deemed totally unreasonable. This is not a whining whinge but the sad observation of a long standing GP who can see the daily damage that micromanagement has delivered.

John Glasspool 11 November, 2020 1:33 pm

£150m eh? So, very roughly, £1 per dose (in effect) £12 Bn blown away on Baroness Dildo Harding’s failed T&T system. With no transparency about contracting process. I think Primary care needs to just walk away. “Over to you Matt”.

Dave Haddock 11 November, 2020 3:56 pm

Money will disappear on arrival at CCG, as has happened before.

Why not simply pay more for each vaccination given and stop trying to micromanage everything?

Is there any downside whatsoever in declining to get involved?

Kevlar Cardie 11 November, 2020 4:29 pm


Patrufini Duffy 12 November, 2020 12:32 pm

Be grateful if Pulse could get a FOI for the expenses of this, and the last Covid Fund. What exactly was claimed for? I’d particularly like to know about the superpractices, private GP partnerships and conglomerates.