NHS England has said that PCNs can claim reimbursement to cover additional staff working overtime.
Parental leave for staff employed under the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS) will also be reimbursed, although cover for those staff will not, according to a new FAQ document on the network DES for 2021/22.
A new suite of documents on this year’s DES revealed that PCNs will be required to offer structured medication reviews (SMRs) to patients taking opioids and gabapentinoids from1 April.
The FAQ document, published on 31 March, said PCNs claim reimbursement for additional hours above the usual whole-time-equivalent (WTE) hours worked by staff.
It said: ‘A PCN may use its additional roles reimbursement sum to reimburse additional hours worked by PCN staff.
‘This can be done at plain time rates only and the increase in WTE hours must be clearly recorded in the PCN’s claim and on the National Workforce Reporting System.’
It added that PCNs will also ‘continue to be reimbursed’ if ARRS staff go on parental or sickness leave – with reimbursement to be reduced in line with salary.
However, it said it is ‘up to the PCN as to whether they employ temporary cover or not’.
‘This may be an additional expense on top of the employer’s responsibility to pay for maternity and sickness absence, but the PCN would only be able to claim for the WTE that was absent’, NHS England added.
It also said that ARRS funding will be sustained for a ‘grace period’ of three months when positions within the PCN baseline become vacant.
After three months have passed from the post becoming vacant, PCNs will no longer be able to claim for one of the same roles under the ARRS until the baseline vacancy is filled, it added.
And the document said ARRS funding is not guaranteed once claimed but is dependent on PCNs continuing to meet the DES requirements.
It added: ‘As set out in Investment and Evolution: Update to the GP contract agreement 2020/21 – 2023/24, staff employed or engaged through the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme will be considered as part of the core general practice cost base beyond 2023/24.’
The documents also confirmed that:
- Funding will be lost for Clinical Pharmacist in General Practice Scheme pharmacists not transferred into PCNs after 30 September;
- The ARRS now includes the ‘Advanced Practitioner designation’ which applies to various roles;
- Mental health practitioners cannot be employed directly by PCNs, but must be employed by local secondary care community mental health service providers;
- The previously announced extension to clinical director funding only applies to those PCNs where at least one core network practice is signed up to the Covid vaccination enhanced service.