Delayed DES payments will compound cashflow problems, warns GPC

Delays to £21m in dementia DES funding will compound cashflow problems for GPs, and vindicate warnings that the DES was too complex, the GPC has said.

Data entry: practices forced to enter data manually missed deadline
Data entry: practices forced to enter data manually missed deadline

Payments worth £21m for the 2013/14 dementia DES will be delayed because NHS IT problems left one in five GP practices unable to meet a 2 June deadline for entering achievement data.

The GPC said it had warned from the outset that the dementia DES could cause delays, because payments cannot be made until all practices' data has been submitted.

Practices in England have been allowed an extra two weeks to enter achievement data manually for the 2013/14 dementia DES, after officials accepted the original deadline was 'too short'.

Payments worth £3,300 on average

One in five practices in England were unable to enter their data in time and now have until 16 June to do so. All practices in England will have to wait until at least mid-July for payments originally expected to be made at the end of June. The payments are worth £3,300 to an average practice and £21m across England.

The extended deadline is the latest in a series of problems with the Care Quality Reporting Service (CQRS) system. The Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), which runs the CQRS, said the extension meant dementia DES payments for all practices would be delayed until July. GP practices must manually update the CQRS with their data or risk not receiving any payment.

HSCIC reported that one in five practices had yet to enter data. A spokeswoman said NHS England had realised the original date 'might be too short' for some practices. A deadline for area teams to review the data has been moved to 27 June.

The HSCIC spokeswoman added: 'We will communicate this to all GP practices and payments will be made in July 2014. We apologise for any inconvenience.'

BMA wanted simpler system

GP reported last month that GPs would face problems with IT systems that gather data and calculate payments until 2015.

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'We've always been concerned about the dementia DES. It relies on payments based on aggregate data of all practices nationally.

'It's also made it difficult for practices to know what they're likely to be paid.

‘We would have preferred a simpler system where practices were aware of payments per dementia assessment beforehand.

'In many ways this vindicates our concerns.

‘This isn’t the only payment that has been delayed, and collectively these have meant that many practices have not been receiving timely payments and running into cashflow difficulties.’

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