GPs yet to receive thousands of pounds in QOF pay amid PCSE problems, says BMA

Around 1,000 GP practices have yet to receive QOF payments potentially worth up to six-figure sums due to problems with Primary Care Support England systems, the BMA has said.

QOF achievement payments - worth 30% of the total value of points - should be paid to practices by the end of the first quarter of the next financial year, meaning achievement payments for 2020/21 are due around now.

For an average-sized practice, maximum QOF points were worth around £110,000 in 2020/21. For larger practices, the sums involved are significantly higher - with acheivement payments alone potentially worth in excess of £100,000.

A BMA newsletter, however, says that the association has been contacted by 'concerned practices and GPs' about disparities in information and problems finding information within a new pay and pension system launched at the start of June by Primary Care Support England.

GP payments

An update to practices from the BMA said: 'Past statements migrated to the new system are not showing the same level of detail as previously. PCSE have informed us that they are working on this but advise that users can access those statements in full on Open Exeter in the meantime. This is not a satisfactory situation, and we will be pursuing it until it is resolved.

'Around 1,000 practices have not yet received their QOF achievement payments for this month. PCSE is adamant they have a solution and are working to ensure these payments are made this month, within contractual timeframes. PCSE has written to affected practices.'

Northumberland LMC medical secretary Dr Jane Lothian told GPonline that practice managers in the area were 'tearing their hair out' over problems with the PCSE system.

She said half of practice managers across the area had replied quickly to a query about problems they were experiencing - some on behalf of themselves and other colleagues - and none had replied to say they had no problems with the system.

Incorrect data

'It's not the same thing for all of them, it's a range of different problems,' Dr Lothian said. She said practice managers had flagged problems with GPs missing from records, or in other cases doctors appearing who should no longer be there - echoing a problem reported in 2019 that left practices paying pension contributions for doctors who no longer worked there.

Some practices were unable to access records altogether, while others reported incomplete information or incorrect deductions. One practice with a financial year end due shortly reported that it was unable to access data it needed for accounting purposes via the PCSE system, Dr Lothian said.

She said the lack of information had left practices unable to reconcile payments they had received with the records - leaving some unclear over whether payments received matched what was owed.

Dr Lothian warned that large missing payments could create 'immense problems' for practices, potentially even leaving them unable to pay staff unless the discrepancies were resolved shortly.

Remedial work

The BMA newsletter added: 'We continue to meet regularly with PCSE to highlight issues about missing and incorrect data and poor usability. We are extremely concerned about the volume of these and have emphasised the need fo them to be resolved urgently. We will monitor and pursue the progress of this and other remedial work over the coming weeks.'

Deborah Wood, chair of the Association of Independent Specialist Medical Accountants (AISMA), backed plans to offer practices better online access to financial records, but said the PCSE online system was 'not fit for purpose' in its current form and must be fixed immediately.

Ms Wood, healthcare services partner at MHA Moore and Smalley, said AISMA members had identified 'numerous problems' with the new system - including being unable to login and inaccurate fee statements.

She added: 'Pension submissions through the online system do not deal with the legacy problems that remain in the National Health Application and Infrastructure Services (NHAIS) systems. This will increase the time and effort needed to correct pension records.'

GPs have previously called for Capita to be stripped of its contract to run PCSE after problems with the service.

Capita has been contacted for comment.

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