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Practices denied thousands of pounds for unplanned admissions DES

Exclusive Practices are missing thousands of pounds in payments for the avoiding unplanned admissions DES after NHS IT systems twice failed to accurately report their achievement.

Many practices using EMIS and SystmOne systems are still missing payments despite the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) running a second round of data extraction, after the first round failed.

The GPC has said it was ‘unacceptable’ that IT systems had let practices down yet again, after a long-running saga of payment chaos.

The HSCIC claimed that the problems affected a ‘significant minority’ of practices, but was unable to provide figures.

One practice in the east of England told Pulse that it was missing £10,000 in funding, with its report showing it had apparently registered zero patients who were most likely to have an unplanned admission, despite having in fact registered the 2% of its list as required by the DES.

The latest payment issue has come about after the chaotic rollout of the Calculating Quality Reporting System, which is intended to automatically calculate QOF and enhanced service achievement.

But it has been plagued by technical issues and delays since its intended launch date two years ago.

This year the unplanned admissions DES is measured at six month intervals, with practices required to identify and notify new patients at risk of admission, implement care plans, manage hospital discharges and undertake regular reviews.

November was set to be the first fully automatic upload, but practices received a bulletin from the Health and Social Care Information Centre last week stating: ‘GP practices using TPP and EMIS clinical systems have been affected by problems collecting the avoiding unplanned admissions (AUA) enhanced service GPES information.

‘As a result, the AUA collection will be re-run for TPP and EMIS customers on Tuesday 10 November and be complete by Friday 13 November.’

But HSCIC has admitted that there have been subsequent problems with the re-run.

An HSCIC spokesperson told Pulse the situation was ‘ever changing’, adding: ‘We are aware that there have been some difficulties in collecting information about the AUA enhanced payment service, which have affected the timing of payments to a significant minority of GP practices.

‘We are working hard to resolve the issues and the majority of affected practices will find that their AUA data has now been processed and will be visible in CQRS for review and approval by the end of today.

‘For the minority of practices still affected we apologise for any inconvenience caused.’

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse the committee was aware of the payment delays, saying further workload issues were a ‘huge hidden burden’ on practices and management staff.

He added: ‘It’s completely unacceptable that the central IT systems from the NHS have let practices down yet again.

‘It’s quite understandable why practices are getting increasingly angry at the extra workload that is being dumped on them. They’ve been promised time and time again that these things would be fixed, but there doesn’t seem to be any sign of that.

‘NHS England has to up its game and deliver.’

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘Clearly it’s vital that these systems work properly. We are aware of the issues and will be working closely with the HSCIC to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.’



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