On 5 August health bosses released details of how practices could claim back additional costs such as staff cover and consumables through the COVID support fund. The August update, however, did not provide details around claiming back PPE costs, which it said would come at a later date.
NHS England's latest primary care bulletin confirms that details around the process and cut-off dates for PPE costs will be announced soon, and urges practices to register on the DHSC PPE portal to continue to access free PPE.
The update comes as GPs and LMCs in COVID hotspots warn that practices need more support to deal with the second wave of the pandemic, including additional funding for COVID costs.
In May the government confirmed that practices who had paid for PPE out of their own pocket would be reimbursed for any equipment recommended by Public Health England (PHE). The PPE portal was rolled out in April to help GP practices and smaller care homes secure vital supplies amid shortages.
NHS England said it was working with the government to develop a process to reimburse practices for infection control requirements from 27 February 2020.
It said: 'Information on the process and cut-off dates for this reimbursement exercise will be announced shortly and providers must register on the DHSC PPE portal to ensure they can continue accessing their COVID-19 infection control PPE free of charge.
'We will be working with representative bodies in the coming weeks to ensure the processes are a good fit for each contracting group. Any PPE obtained from a source other than the PPE Portal after the cut-off date(s) will not be reimbursed.'
The BMA recently warned that chronic shortages of PPE across the NHS during the first wave of COVID-19 earlier this year cannot be repeated during the second wave.
It has called on the government to publish evidence behind its latest PPE strategy, which was shared on 28 September. It has promised a four-month ‘strategic stockpile’ of PPE.