Practices must now report any coronavirus-related staff absence to NHS England on a new national tracker.
It said: ‘We have launched the Covid-19 staff absence tracker and practice staff should use it to report Covid-19 related absence from work.’
Practice staff should report if they are unable to work due to caring responsibilities, symptoms of coronavirus or a confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis using the tracker and by phone to their line manager, NHS England added.
NHS England ‘does not access’ individual absence records but will ‘produce reports in aggregated form (numbers) for the purposes of monitoring absence and managing the response to the Covid-19 emergency nationally’, it said.
The tracker aims to help employers ‘plan for maintaining key activities’, as well as keeping a ‘regular check’ on staff wellbeing, it added.
It can be completed by the staff member themselves, their line manager or others such as a relative and requests some ‘essential information’, NHS England said.
Practice staff should continue to log non-coronavirus-related absences following ‘standard procedures’, it added.
It comes as the new GP standard operating procedures announced that all vulnerable patients shielding from coronavirus should now have a named clinical lead.
And practices were told they should assess where urgent and routine treatment has been delayed and ‘focus’ on resuming chronic disease treatment and prevention.