17 March 2013

Contract Imposition: Government's Response

Read here the Government’s response to the GP Contract 2013/14 and details of the imposition

The Information Governance Toolkit

Version 10 of the Information Governance Toolkit for General Practice went live in June 2012 and the deadline for final submission is 31 March 2013. The toolkit encompasses 13 requirements for general practice to self assess against. Connecting for Health (CfH) state that completion of the toolkit is necessary in order for practices to ensure that their CfH (or, from 1 April 2013, the Health and Social Care Information Centre) services continue to be provided.

One person from a practice will have been nominated as the IT lead and they will register for a user account and complete the online self-assessments on behalf of the practice. A link to the toolkit is available here: https://www.igt.connectingforhealth.nhs.uk/

It is recommended that practices submit their 2012/13 self assessments by the deadline.

Further information on information governance for GPs, and what is and is not mandatory, is available from the BMA website here.

Locum Employer’s Pension Contributions

The GPC realise that practices and individual locum GPs are understandably concerned about the proposed changes to locum employer’s pension contributions, which are currently paid by PCTs. The Government intends that from April 1st practices will become responsible for the payments in England and Wales.

The GPC have already made clear to the Government our opposition to this proposal, through our responses to the consultation on the draft pension regulations, which would bring about the change, and the GP contract consultation. However, although the GPC have not had anything confirmed to them as yet, but understand from the Pensions Agency that it is very likely that this change will be implemented from 1st April and that the process for making the payments will be as below.

  • Locums themselves will physically make the payment to the Local Area Team. They will pay their employee’s contribution and the employer’s contribution at the same time.

  • 'GP Locum Form A', which validates that a locum has worked for a practice, will still be used. The form will include a statement to say that the locum wishes to pension the income and will also detail the amount of employer’s contribution to be paid.

  • The same deadlines for payment will still apply – the locum will still be required to send the cheque and form by the 7th day of the month following the month in which the income was earned.

  • 'GP Locum Form B' (a record of all locum work undertaken in that month) will also be retained.

  • For GMS practices, the additional costs will be reimbursed via global sum. Practices should, therefore, expect to pay the 14% employer’s pension contribution on top of any locum fees. The GPC are seeking urgent clarification from the Department of Health as to how the costs will be reimbursed for PMS practices.

Once the GPC have received confirmation of the process for making the payments, they will be sending out a template pro forma invoice for locums to use to set out their fees in detail, including the 14% employer’s pension contribution.

Focus on excessive prescribing guidance update

The GPC has published an updated version of its Focus on excessive prescribing guidance, available here. The update includes a new section on shorter duration prescribing, highlighting that shorter duration prescribing can be associated with increased costs and decreased compliance.

Doctors and Dentists Review Body

The 2013 report of the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) was published on Thursday 14 March.

For more details see here