COVID-19: toolkit for GPs and GP practices

Funding

Location: England Wales Scotland
Audience: GPs Practice managers
Updated: Tuesday 23 March 2021
Topics: COVID 19, GP practices

Funding in England

Income protection

Global sum was paid at the agreed rates for the whole of 2020/21.

QOF payments for 2020/21 was calculated differently to normal. Some indicators were based on achievement, some are awarded in full and some will be income protected. Read more in our QOF COVID briefing.

The minor surgery DES (directed enhanced service) was suspended and income protected from 1 January until 31 March 2021. A similar provision was intended for the additional service income related to minor surgery within the global sum.

CCGs were instructed to suspend any locally commissioned services from 1 January until 31 March, except where they were specifically in support of vaccination, or other COVID-related support, with payments for practices protected.

DSQS payments remained in line with the normal requirements.

IIF (investment and impact fund) payments from October 2020 to March 2021 were based on achievement of the six indicators set out in the IIF guidance.

PCN clinical director payments

In recognition of the role of PCN (primary care network) clinical director in managing the COVID vaccination response, further funding for PCN clinical director support was initially provided until March 2021. GPC then secured the extension of this funding into the first quarter of 2021/22.

This is equivalent to an increase from 0.25WTE to 1WTE for those PCNs where at least one practice is participating in the vaccination programme enhanced service. This funding will be able to be flexibly deployed by PCNs as required.

COVID-19 support fund

NHSEI released details of an additional £150m funding to support practices in England until 31 March 2021.

GPC England has secured an additional £120m for general practices from April 2021. Whilst the funding will be available to all practices it will be weighted towards those practices involved in the vaccination programme.

The extension of the fund will be from 1 April to 30 September 2021. £120 million of revenue funding will be allocated to systems, ringfenced exclusively for general practice, to support the expansion of capacity until the end of September.

Monthly allocations will be £30m in April and May, £20m in each of June and July and reach £10m in August and September.

General principles

Reimbursements will only be made where the additional costs are not offset by the income protection.

Practices will be required to submit evidence and assurances as part of claims, along with a declaration form which states that they are true additional costs in line with the rule laid out in the guidance.

Local commissioners will manage the claims process via S96 funding and must approve claims for funding.

A post-payment verification process will require a sample of claims to be reviewed and verified.

What to do now

Practices should:

  • review additional costs already incurred and submit claims to the commissioner.
  • discuss with commissioners any anticipated further costs that might require approval.
  • request information from commissioners about the claims process.
  • keep records and evidence of additional costs. 

 

Funding in Wales

It was agreed between Welsh Government and GPC Wales that elements of the Welsh GMS contract would be relaxed during the pandemic. In Welsh Government’s initial letter regarding this on 17 March, the guiding principle was outlined that practices will not be financially penalised for the changes to the contract.

Enhanced services

Practice income for services that are relaxed will be guaranteed until 30 September 2021 at levels equal to activity during 2019/20. Post-payment verification has also been suspended for this duration.

Access standards

Practices still required to complete the majority of applicable standards. The achievement for access standard 2 (calls answered) at the end of March 2021 will be carried forward. The achievement for this standard is counted the same as at March 2020, with practices retaining the ability to evidence achievement if they didn’t last year.

Premises rent valuation

An extension to the NHS (General Medical Services - Premises Costs) (Wales) Directions 2015 has been agreed, and therefore the directions will be amended to show that a delay on rent valuations will remain in place until 31 March 2022.

Funding in Scotland

BMA Scotland has secured agreement from the Scottish Government that no practice should be left out of pocket as a result of responding to the COVID emergency.

A revised SFE (statement of financial entitlements) has been negotiated for the duration of the current pandemic, including this provision and setting out additional financial support that practices should expect.

Practices have been issued a share of £20million as an advance on the costs that will be reimbursed under the revised SFE. Further advances can be accessed by practices from their health board if required. Spending using these funds should be recorded using the template provided to practices and a reconciliation will take place in July.