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ICB decommissions LES for GPs taking on additional patients from Ukraine

ICB decommissions LES for GPs taking on additional patients from Ukraine

An ICB has decided to decommission a local enhanced service (LES) supporting GP practices treating people arriving in the UK from war-torn Ukraine.

Kent and Medway ICB had introduced the extra support for GP practices taking on additional patients from Ukraine last June, but this will now be discontinued at the end of the year due to fewer practices needing support, according to the local LMC.

The LES enabled practices to first receive a payment for each Ukrainian refugee registered and then a further payment once they were given a health assessment.

Kent LMC said that the numbers of claims from practices has ‘significantly diminished’ and NHS England have confirmed that is there is ‘no longer a commissioning need’ and that the service should be decommissioned.

The LMC reminded practices that as the service will be decommissioned on 31 December any outstanding claims should be submitted before that date.

A spokesperson for NHS Kent and Medway told Pulse: ‘We introduced extra support for GP practice taking on additional patients from Ukraine last June.

‘It is no longer a requirement from NHS England to run this enhanced service and the number of practices using it has reduced. The ICB took the decision to decommission it last month.’

Last year, Ukrainians were guaranteed free access to NHS healthcare including GP appointments, urgent care centres, and hospitals.

The free care was backdated to the 24 February 2022 – the date the Russian invasion of Ukraine began – and covered anyone in the UK lawfully including those with a temporary or extended visa or here through family or other sponsorship.

Changes to legislation also ensured they had free access to Covid vaccination and medical screening.

The NHS had previously reminded GPs that proof of ID is not needed to register with a practice in its guidance on providing healthcare to people coming from Ukraine.

And GPs fleeing Ukraine received free medical indemnity membership from the Medical Defence Union and had their applications fast-tracked by the GMC to practise in the UK.