GP practices may be affected when NHS England moves to a new system for calculating payments next month, including for global sum, QOF and vaccinations and immunisations.
NHS England said it has identified ‘a small number of practices’ that will be ‘more affected’ by the change, although the ‘vast majority’ of practices would see ‘no material difference’.
The affected GP practices are being urged by NHS England to work with Primary Care Support England to carry out ‘list reconciliation’ and ensure accurate patient list sizes are moved over to the new system so that payments are ‘correctly calculated’.
Asked by Pulse whether practices will be underpaid as a result of the system change, and whether it is certain any issues will be resolved in time to avoid this, NHS England declined to comment.
The BMA said it has ‘absolute assurance’ there are ‘robust business continuity arrangements’ in place ‘if there is a major problem’ with payments following the system change.
Practice payments are currently calculated by the National Health Application and Infrastructure Service (NHAIS) system but NHSE said this is ‘at the end of its working life’ and therefore needs to be replaced.
It has commissioned a replacement system which will calculate payments using patient demographic data provided by the Personal Demographics Service (PDS – often referred to as the Spine).
NHS England said the PDS ‘has been updated to include the registered addresses for patients that practices hold and these addresses will still be used to calculate payments’.
A letter from NHS England to GP partners said: ‘The vast majority of practices will see no material difference in payment amounts after the switch to the new system. However, we have identified a small number of practices who appear to be more affected by the change.
‘These practices have been approached by PCSE offering them the opportunity to undertake a patient list reconciliation. This will identify and rectify any differences between NHAIS and PDS and ensure that their payments are accurate.
‘If your GP practice is contacted by PCSE we would encourage you to take up this offer of list reconciliation to ensure your payments are correctly calculated in the new system. Your commissioner may also be in contact with you about this list reconciliation.’
NHS England said that it ‘remains important’ that practices continue to keep up-to-date registered lists, adding: ‘[W]e are grateful for practice participation in list cleansing exercises.’
Dr Ian Hume, BMA GP Committee premises and practice finance policy lead, said: ‘For the majority of practices, we anticipate no difference, but are taking a precautionary approach and will be closely scrutinising the early performance of the system.
‘We have absolute assurance that robust business continuity arrangements are in place to enable payment if there is a major problem.’
The news comes as NHS England paused all GP list cleansing activity earlier this year to allow practices to focus on the Covid-19 pandemic.