The BMA said it has become aware of significant delays in the processing of applications for GP trainees in England to join the performers list.
GP trainees have three months from the start of their GP specialty training programme to be added to the medical performers list, and cannot legally perform primary medical services beyond this window if they are not on the list..
The BMA has warned that some applications are not being processed within this three-month period, which could have ‘serious implications’ for trainees and practices. The union has sought legal advice on the issue.
The process is managed by Primary Care Support England (PCSE), part of outsourcing firm Capita, and should take 12 weeks, according to the PCSE website. A spokeswoman for Capita said applications were being processed on time ‘in the vast majority’ of cases.
Urgent advice to trainees says they should inform their employer ‘in a timely manner’ if they discover their application has been delayed.
Performers list delays
If their application is approaching its three-month limit, GP trainees should contact their NHS England local area team to ask for help.
NHS England ‘could intervene urgently to consider the application, irrespective of whether Capita considers it to be complete, and to see whether it can be progressed to allow you to continue working’, the BMA said.
‘In the event that the necessary documentation has not been provided by the deadline, the NHS England local area team will be notified and will decide if the application should progress or further information is required,’ it added.
Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘We've issued this urgent guidance as we have concern that some GP trainees could be at risk because they are working without the proper legal processes being completed.
‘We've had reports of delays in the application process to the national performers list and trainees receiving inconsistent advice.
'We've raised this urgently with NHS England and Capita and insisted that they resolve any issues immediately so that no GP trainee is put in any situation of legal jeopardy.’
A Capita spokeswoman said: ‘We are working to support NHS England to ensure that every application is processed correctly. In the vast majority of cases, where applications are supplied with all supporting documents they are being processed within the required timeframes.’