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NHS England calls on urgent care GPs to add shifts where possible

emergency care

NHS England has written to GPs active within urgent care to ask them to add any spare capacity to support the emergency response over the coming weeks.

It said this could include GP out-of-hours as well as NHS 111 shifts, with clinician pay rates to be temporarily increased.

In a letter sent on Thursday last week (30 December), NHS England’s primary care medical director Dr Nikki Kanani called on primary care clinicians to come forward.

The letter, seen by Pulse, said that ‘the need for clinical support within [urgent and emergency care] services is immediate, and growing as a result of the Omicron variant’.

Dr Kanani said: ‘I would like to urge clinical colleagues who are providing support to these services to continue with this contribution over the coming weeks.

‘Where colleagues consider that they might have further capacity to support UEC services – additional to their contribution to the vaccine effort – I would encourage them to volunteer this capacity over the next few weeks.

‘This work can often be done remotely from home and can be for short periods of only 2 or 3 hours. Technical support to enable remote working will be provided.’

Dr Kanani added that while GPs are prioritising the Covid booster campaign, GPs choosing to work in NHS 111 services and IUC ‘will not be disadvantaged’. 

‘Pay rates will be supplemented to ensure there is an appropriate level of remuneration,’ the letter said.

In a message sent with the letter, NHS England’s Integrated Care Team told ICU lead commissioners to ‘work with your IUC providers to determine what, if any, additional hourly top up is required in your locality in order to maintain appropriate clinician staffing levels in IUC services. 

‘We do not expect the uplift in pay rates to exceed £20 per hour.’

Before Christmas, NHS England also asked GPs to step up pulse oximetry services as a ‘Covid-19 response priority’ alongside the vaccination programme.

And workload prioritisation guidance from the BMA and RCGP said GPs need to decide for themselves what workload to pause to make time for Covid booster jabs.

GP vaccination centres were paid an enhanced fee of £20 per Covid jab between 25 December and 3 January.

Note: This article was updated at 16.15 on 5 January after NHS England told Pulse it was only targeting GPs who were already active within urgent care services.


David jenkins 5 January, 2022 1:41 am

very sorry:
1) i can’t give covid jabs “because i haven’t been trained”
2) i can’t use your out of hours “toolkit”…………….you’ve guessed it……….”because i haven’t been trained”
if you want me to behave like a grown up, i suggest you start treating me like one !

lovely chatting to you all, but i got a TIG welder for xmas, and instead of busting my ar*e for some ungrateful, overpaid, unqualified administrator (who has contributed to the size of the problem) i shall be welding up my 1950 Lea Francis car during out-of-hours.

John Evans 5 January, 2022 7:24 am


‘Pay rates will be supplemented to ensure that there is an appropriate level of remuneration,’ the letter said.

A national emergency means that NHS will pay you “appropriately”. I suspect that the definition of appropriate will differ between NHSE and those risking the work.
Up to now the remuneration for intense, high risk, specialised work using professionals with at least 10yrs of training (med school and GP) has been inappropriate.

Without cast iron reassurances, now would seem to be the time to stop doing OOH shifts as the risk to your professional status will be worse than usual. I wonder what the current rate of complaints, or even GMC referral, is like for those working in the out of hours sector? It has previously been higher.

Most GPs seem to be working flat out with their day job.

Finola ONeill 5 January, 2022 10:58 am

David Jenkins: you enjoy that welder.
Nikki Kanani, NHSE and govt: perhaps stop your vindictive campaign of undermining general practice if you are hoping to persuade us to be worked into the ground.
BMA: renegotiate the contract. For pay by services provided not capitated. That 90% of consultations we do for 8%. We need to be paid properly for it.
And ditch the PCN DES or delineate it so NHSE/govt can’t use it to control and break primary care and hence the NHS.
Happy New Year folks

Adam Crowther 5 January, 2022 12:34 pm

Would love to help but am afraid all my “ooh” time is already being taken up with the additional practice work everyday (and has been for sometime now) that doesn’t ever seem to be resourced. Love to be getting paid to do extra work but when I am not working flat out spending time with my long suffering family 😞 is far more important to me than an extra £5 quid an hour after tax pension and defence fees. Let alone the hassle of complaints and threats of litigation oh and the abuse (I think you had a plan for that though!)

So wishing you all the best and hope you find someone soon

C P 5 January, 2022 12:48 pm

No thanks. Not for me. Have spent 20 odd years doing FT and OOHs until last year. New non medical business interests now also increases diversity, reduces financial risk. Ie the time previously spent working for the NHS won’t be coming back.
Once goodwill gets broken it’s a long way back for organisations.

David Jarvis 5 January, 2022 4:04 pm

THis always brings up the same issues. Most are in the chancellors gift to fix. For GP partners the first is that any extra income is in the loss of personal tax band giving a marginal tax rate of 60%. Not progressive tax but a cliff. I don’t resent paying tax per se but 60% is like doing charity work and essentially not worth bothering with. I would accept 45% tax from 100k not 150k as current with not of this sliding loss of personal allowance. Do they assume we just won’t notice or something? Time has a value. You then add tax penalties based on complex calculations that can easily be incurred at a point where you are liable and no chance of mitigation. Hard work is therefore not really rewarded so may as well put your feet up and cut your cloth for £100k.
Balls in the Govts court because providing the service is their problem not mine.

Kevlar Cardie 7 January, 2022 4:05 pm

Sorry, old bean, I’d love to help out but I’m busy smearing myself head to toe in deep heat and ramming cocktail sticks under my nails.

Dylan Summers 8 January, 2022 11:14 am

No problem NHSE. We will prioritise out of hours work.
Oh, what’s that? You still want us to priorise vaccination? No problem.
Oh, you mean you also want us to prioritise in-hours face to face consultations? Okay then.
I’m sorry, you meant you still want us to prioritise digital consulting? Right you are.

I don’t know if NHSE have realised, but priorising everything is the same as prioritising nothing.