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LMC agrees fee with CCG to pay practices £90 per hour for safeguarding reports

Exclusive GP leaders in South-East England have negotiated a fee for GPs to invoice CCGs for compiling safeguarding reports, according to the local LMC.

Essex LMC has been in negotiations for practices in Essex, Suffolk and Hertfordshire to invoice CCGs to fill out safeguarding reports.

Chief executive of Essex LMC Dr Brian Balmer said the LMC has agreed the fee with one unnamed CCG already – of £90 per hour – and is in discussions with six others CCGs in the area.

Safeguarding reports are a contractual requirement, but GPs have pointed out that this is a time-intensive piece of work.

In July, Dr David Geddes, NHS England primary care commissioning director, wrote a letter to STP leads asking to review their support of general practice undertaking such work.

He said practices have sought payment for the reports but as the number of requests for safeguarding reports increase, there is a ‘need to review how general practice is supported’.

Dr Geddes suggested examples to improve safeguard reporting and the quality of reports, such as direct payments to a practice by CCGs under long-standing ‘collaborative arrangements’ and introducing a safeguarding local enhanced service.

The new arrangements in Essex are thought to be first example of practices being paid for safeguarding reports.

Dr Balmer said: ‘Practices are free to set their own rates but what we’ve done is said: “We and the CCG think £90 is a sensible rate.” ’

He added that the LMC has sought legal advice, and practices can charge an hourly rate because the patient is not being charged a fee and carrying out safeguarding reports is a statutory duty.

He added: ‘We’ve told practices to continue to do the work promptly and efficiently but record your hours.’

Dr Balmer continued: ‘I am hoping that another five will commit next week….For one of our CCGs to say yes, and quickly, is a bit of a bonus for us.’

The LMC’s lawyers said: ‘The CCG – having regard for the Dr Geddes letter of July 2019, and in the spirit of the new statutory guidance “Working together to Safeguard Children…” – updated February 2019, will reimburse practices/GPs the reasonable costs involved in sharing information or report writing where this is provided by the GP as part of their statutory safeguarding duty.

‘Practices are advised to invoice the CCG specifying the time involved in completing each report and the hourly rate set by the practice for this task. Practices may set their own rate and no patient can be charged for this work.

‘Practices should be aware that the CCG and LMC have agreed that a rate of £90/hour would be seen as reasonable.

‘The LMC cannot normally recommend a rate for non-GMS work because of competition law, but as patients will not be charged and in this circumstance, there is no market or competitive environment, our legal advice supports this advice for safeguarding reports.’

Earlier this summer, the BMA negotiated safeguarding reports to be covered under the state-backed indemnity scheme.