GPs denied patient DES pay

NHS England area teams across the country have used minor technicalities to withhold pay for the patient participation group (PPG) DES.

Patient groups: DES pay withheld
Patient groups: DES pay withheld

GP leaders and practices have said omissions being punished would have been accommodated by PCTs, and area teams' hardline approach was a cost-cutting exercise.

GP reported in October that patients at Gordon House Surgery in Ealing, west London, had spoken out after a £12,000 PPG payment was withheld because the practice failed to put a link on its website.

Other practices have reported similar experiences, and GP leaders say the problem is widespread.

Medical director for Londonwide LMCs Dr Tony Grewal said several appeals in London had been rejected. NHS England was applying the 'absolute letter of the law', he said.

South London GP Dr James Heathcoate said his practice lost more than £12,000 because it used a patient-friendly, edited version of the PPG report on its website, rather than publishing the full document.

'In the past, people would have had some flexibility,' he said. 'NHS England doesn't have the capacity to interact with practices on a one-to-one level.'

One west London practice lost about £4,000 because it published the PPG report online late, despite having completed the DES work.

A GP at another west London practice said NHS England was not interested in complaints, after the area team took back £11,000 for missing a deadline to upload the PPG report - a charge the practice denies.

'We've done over and above what we needed to,' the GP said. 'But it is not interested. It's about trying to claw money back from GPs.'

Dr Grewal said it was a 'new reality' for practices. 'It is within their remit to refuse to pay on a technicality and they seem very happy to do that.'

LMC leaders in other parts of England report similar concerns. Essex LMC chief executive Dr Brian Balmer said there had been a number of apparently 'arbitrary' decisions.

Wessex LMC chief executive Dr Nigel Watson said a number of practices had payments withheld and were turned down at appeal. 'They've refused to pay, even when practices can show they've done the work.'

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said area teams' 'more remote' relationship with practices was partly to blame, but 'clearly NHS England is looking for savings'.

An NHS England spokeswoman said the PPG DES was assessed against published criteria and GPs could dispute decisions. For 2013/14 there will be a unified approach across London.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

NHS sign

Plans to recruit 1,000 new link workers to support GP practices this winter

NHS England has set out plans to recruit an additional 1,000 social prescribing link...

BMA House

BMA prepares to ballot junior doctors on industrial action

Junior doctors will be balloted over industrial action if the government does not...

Typing on a laptop

NHS 111 systems could be offline until next week following cyber attack

NHS 111 systems could be offline until next week following the cyber attack on a...

The NHS App in the Apple App store on a smart phone

NHS England piloting online patient registration for GP practices

A new system that will allow patients to register with a GP surgery online is being...

satisfaction scale

Which parts of England have the highest and lowest GP patient satisfaction?

Patient satisfaction with GP services varies widely between PCN and ICS areas across...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Improving menopause care

During August we’re bringing you some of the best interviews from series one of the...