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GP leaders consider issuing breach notices to NHS managers over missing payments

Exclusive LMC leaders are considering advising practices to issue breach of contract notices against NHS England after some had tens of thousands of pounds missing from their rent reimbursement payments, Pulse has learnt.

NHS England told Pulse that practices in London had been affected by an ‘administrative error’ relating to monthly rent reimbursement payments.

Londonwide LMC said it has received reports of new payment problems with rent reimbursement payments from a ‘flood’ of practices across the capital, some reporting shortfalls totalling tens of thousands of pounds, and had urgent talks with NHS England yesterday.

However, since this meeting, Londonwide LMCs said it was considering advising practices to issue breach of contract notices to NHS England as a result of the problems.

This new rash of payment problems is the latest – and one of the most serious – of a long line of problems suffered since NHS England took responsibility in April 2013, with practices threatened by bailiffs after NHS England failed to process payments, and indecipherable invoices making it impossible to identify what was being paid for.

NHS England told Pulse that all payment problems would be solved by April, but practice payrolls were hit once again last month when more than a thousand practice payments were delayed by NHS Shared Business Services.

A spokesperson for NHS England (London) told Pulse: ‘NHS England (London) is aware of issues with a recent round of rent reimbursement payments. These were the result of an administrative error, which we are working to rectify.’

‘To ensure that future payments are correct, we will set up a recurring payment system, to prevent this happening again.’

NHS England was unable to tell Pulse how many practices were affected or how much money practices had missed out on.

But LMC leaders are furious at the payment issue. A spokesperson from Londonwide LMCs told Pulse: ‘In response to the payment chaos facing London practices, Londonwide LMCs is considering advising affected practices to issue breach notices against NHS England. It is unacceptable, practices are under enormous strain without this unnecessary pressure.’

‘Londonwide LMCs continues to support practices and is urging NHS England to sort this issue out as a matter of urgency.’

The LMC’s statement follows NHS England issuing breach of contract notices to practices who closed early on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve last year.

Dr Tony Grewal, medical director at Londonwide LMC and a GP in Hillingdon, north west London, told Pulse: ‘Complaints have been flooding in.’

He said: ‘I had complaints from practices in north west [London], and I’ve picked up on complaints from practices in the south, where there have been reductions in payments of – in some cases – tens of thousands of pounds on a monthly payment, with no explanation.’

Dr Grewal said GPs can expect an email update with full details from LMC leaders in the next few days.