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GP practices to be paid £650 to open Easter Saturday morning

Exclusive GP practices in one area of England are being offered £650 per session to open on Easter Saturday morning and are asked to sign up by Wednesday this week, according to an area team email seen by Pulse.

Practices across the West Midlands have been offered £150 per hour for the GP covering the three hour session and £200 per session for the remaining staff and overhead costs.

This is the first indication as yet about the funding on offer for opening over the Bank Holiday weekend, and the national NHS England office has as yet been unable to confirm whether the deal will extend across England.

Pulse revealed last week that commissioners across England have been asked to ensure routine GP cover on Easter Saturday as part of ‘continuing operational resilience’ because A&E standards were not being met.

In a note to practices, the Birmingham, Solihull & The Black Country area team and the Arden, Herefordshire and Worcestershire area team wrote: ‘Further to previous correspondence regarding GP cover for Easter Saturday (4th April 2015), we are keen for practices to offer sessions if possible and have agreed a costing.’

‘The remuneration per session (3 hrs) is as follows: £150 per hour for the GP covering and £200 per session for the remaining staff and running of the session (based on 1 GP, the remuneration for 1 session is £650).

‘Please confirm to you wish to participate (confirming sessions and cover) at earliest convenience to allows us to assess impact and by close of play on Wednesday 11th March at the latest.’

GP leaders have said that the system has previously been able to cope with normal services, and that this Easter should be no different.

Birmingham LMC executive secretary and GPC lead for contract and regulations Dr Robert Morley said he believed this was a national funding offer and that it was up to each practice to decide if it was adequate for them to choose to open.

He said: ‘It is a matter for practices to determine whether it is adequate to provide the contracted service bearing in mind the individual circumstances of the business. Each practice has to determine all the different element of costs to it of opening and staffing the surgery and providing the contracted service throughout the session.’

He added:‘The £150 per hour per GP does not equate to the GP earning that amount of money – it merely represents an element of the gross funding for the service but it will be the bottom line not the top line funding which determines GP partners’ earnings form this.’

It comes after NHS managers asked GPs to work on New Year’s Day in some areas because of fears over winter pressures.