GP practices face six-figure remediation bills

Practices could face bills for tens of thousands of pounds because GP leaders fear NHS England will renege on a pledge to fund remediation for doctors who struggle with revalidation.

Dr Beth McCarron-Nash: remediation deal took time
Dr Beth McCarron-Nash: remediation deal took time

NHS England has said funding for remediation should be split between the doctor and area teams until a permanent policy is agreed - and suggested its contribution would be capped at £10,000.

The GPC hit out at NHS England guidance on remediation, warning that the BMA backed the roll out of revalidation last September on the basis that it would be funded.

GPC negotiator Dr Beth McCarron-Nash said: ‘We were very clear about what we felt was acceptable and that the cost of remediation should be borne by the NHS.

‘It took a long time to reach this agreement.’

Londonwide LMCs medical director Dr Tony Grewal said in some cases GPs who struggle with revalidation will have to retrain, which could mean them being away from their practice for up to a year.

‘This is not what the GPC agreed to,' he said. 'Locum cover costs about £80 an hour, which is £640 a day.

‘In the most extreme cases GPs would have to retrain and go back to being a GP registrar which could take three months to a year. It is enormously variable.’

Based on this rate, locum cover for a year could cost £166,440, leaving practices with huge bills if NHS England's contribution is capped.

BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter has written to NHS England, calling the split level funding inappropriate ‘in light of the commitment that I received in September’.

NHS England guidance published in June said that remediation costs ‘should be agreed locally on a case by case basis and linked to the local business needs’.

It reads: ‘As a guiding principle and based on historical practice and the consensus of current practice in area teams, it is suggested that a split funding arrangement between the area team and the individual has been the norm.

'It is therefore suggested based on this historical practice that areas teams may pay up to 50% of costs of remediation up to maximum of £10,000, but that the individual practitioner should pay the first 50% and the total should include all on costs. Where the clinician is not an NHS England employee salaries will not be paid. Funding would apply to costs arising from conditions or outcome of formal assessment.’

NHS England’s deputy medical director Dr Mike Bewick said: ‘There was agreement between the BMA and NHS England on the transition arrangements up to 2014/15 to provide support for remediation for GPs. Further discussion will follow on future arrangements for remediation at regular meetings with the BMA.’

NHS England's commitment to fund remediation covered England alone. The BMA has called for remediation to be funded UK-wide.

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