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LMC meets area team over underpayment fears

GPs in London have met with the local area team over concerns that they are still being underpaid due to struggles identifying ‘incomprehensible’ statements from NHS England.

Londonwide LMCs raised the issue last week after GPs were concerned that they were not able to identify the increased global sum payments from the removal of 40% QOF points and several major DESs.  

NHS London has said that the correct payments are being made but the LMC has said that, despite ‘significant effort’ by NHS England, practices are still reporting issues with identifying statements including being unable to distinguish whether the payments are coming from NHS England, CCGs or local authorities, no details about what the payments are for and problems in interpreting statements.

Practices have suffered significant disruption to payments in the past year, primarily because of payment responsibility transferring from PCTs to CCGs, NHS England and local authorities in April 2013.

This latest problem comes after NHS England stated the payment issues would be addressed by April 2014, and follows Pulse’s report from April that an error with the BACS system had delayed payments for thousands of practices.

A spokesperson for NHS England London area team said that all global sum payments to GP practices across London ‘have been paid correctly and uplifted to reflect the re-investment as a result of the reduction in QOF.’

However, Londonwide LMCs confirmed that although payments were arriving, practices were still reporting issues in several areas. A spokesperson for Londonwide LMCs said: ‘NHS England has made a significant effort to address some of these issues by working not only with their family health providers but also with us.’

‘We have a joint finance group which we have informed NHS England needs strengthening and representation from all the relevant teams/departments and we are in the process of reinstating this with them.’

Sessional GP and medical director of Londonwide LMCs, Dr Tony Grewal, told Pulse that payments in London were a ‘bloody mess’ and practices were concerned they weren’t being paid the right amount.

Dr Grewal told Pulse: ‘One of the problems at the moment is that the payment schedule which is sent out to practices on a monthly basis, are completely incomprehensible.’

‘They’re coded and there’s no key to the codes, and there’s no way of telling what you’ve been paid for, what you haven’t been paid for, whether you’ve been overpaid or underpaid or whatever.’

He added: ‘At the moment, the whole thing in London is a bloody mess; good practices are having massive problems with cash flow for all sorts of reasons.’

A spokesperson for NHS England (London) told Pulse: ‘We are not aware of any issues with GP statements. From feedback we believe that most GP practices understand their statements.’