IT chaos to hit GP workload and pay until 2015

Practices will continue to face hours of manual data entry and delays in claiming payments from enhanced services, as problems with IT systems are set to persist throughout the financial year.

Data entry: practices face extra workload
Data entry: practices face extra workload

Support to enter enhanced services data from the current year into the Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS) will become available in two phases starting from June - three months after the start of the financial year, which could set payments back for some services.

Practices will also have to continue manually entering their data to receive payments, as the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES) will not work for many enhanced services throughout the whole 2014/15 financial year, but is planned to be introduced for some at an unspecified date.

By the beginning of next financial year, the GPES system will not have been working as intended for over 20 months since its launch, a delay GPC leaders have declared ‘unacceptable’.

In the 2013/14 financial year, the CQRS supported 12 enhanced services. But practices have not been able to enter their achievement data onto the CQRS since April, as data for the new 2014/15 financial year was incompatible with the 2013/14 enhanced services supported by the CQRS.

Practices have been forced to wait until the CQRS is updated to support the 2014/15 enhanced services, which will take place in two phases throughout the 2014/15 financial year.

‘On-going failure’

HSCIC said their services needed to be updated on an annual basis to ‘reflect contractual arrangements made through negotiations between NHS England and the GPC’, despite several remaining unaltered or only slightly changed.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said it would have been better for practices if the ability to enter data had been made available sooner. ‘It should have been available at the start of the financial year,’ he said.

He added: ‘The on-going failure of GPES and CQRS to work together to enable automatic extraction is creating a major additional workload for practice managers. The slow progress in sorting out this problem is unacceptable.’

In the first phase of the rollout, practices can expect the CQRS to support six of the enhanced services from 30 June 2014, with payments for these services slated to commence from July.

This means practices will be faced with delays until July for payments on some of these services for the April-June period.

Phase one

The six enhanced services to be supported from June are as follows:

  • Rotavirus vaccination programme 2014/15
  • Learning disability health check scheme 2014/15
  • Facilitating timely diagnosis for people with dementia scheme 2014/15
  • MMR aged 16 and over vaccination programme 2014/15
  • Meningitis C (freshers) vaccination programme 2014/15
  • Hepatitis B (newborn) vaccination programme 2014/15

Three of these services are monthly programmes that should have begun at the start of the financial year in April 2014 (MMR, meningitis C and hepatitis B). GP practices will need to manually enter the data for the missed three months and continue to do so until April 2015 in order to receive their achievement payments.

GPES is not scheduled to undertake automatic extraction of this data at all this financial year.

But HSCIC revealed that it was ‘working to identify timescales for automated extractions of rotavirus, learning disabilities and dementia’, the other three enhanced services.

Although it is still unclear exactly when this will be, practices should expect automatic GPES extraction of data for these enhanced services sometime in the 2014/15 year. In the meantime, they will have to continue entering this data manually.

Phase two

The CQRS is also expected to support the other six enhanced services in phase two of implementation, which will be introduced ‘later in the financial year’.

HSCIC assured that, as the vaccination programmes do not commence until August and September, practices should not miss out on payments for these in the meantime.

These services, to be added later this year, include:

  • Alcohol-related risk reduction scheme
  • Avoiding unplanned admissions: proactive case finding and care review for vulnerable people enhanced service
  • Seasonal Influenza vaccination programme
  • Pneumococcal vaccination programme
  • Childhood Seasonal Influenza vaccination programme
  • Shingles (routine and catch up) vaccination programmes

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