NHS England confirms plan to add practice managers to £20,000 golden hello scheme

NHS England hopes to extend the £20,000 golden hello scheme for first-time partners in general practice to include practice managers, its primary care medical director has said.

NHS England director of primary care Dr Nikki Kanani
NHS England director of primary care Dr Nikki Kanani

The golden hello scheme was agreed as part of the 2020/21 GP contract deal and opened to applications on 1 July after being delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Golden hello payments are available to people taking up partnership roles in general practice for the first time after 1 April 2020 - and can be claimed not only by GPs who become partners, but also nurses, pharmacists, physios and a number of other clinicians.

NHS England primary care medical director Dr Nikki Kanani told a primary care webinar this week that officials are hoping to expand the offer to include practice managers.

Golden hello payments

'Because we had to get it out for 1 July, at the moment it applies to clinical partners,' she said. 'But what we do want to do is extend it so that our practice managers can be part of it as well. We are working on that now and will get that out as quickly as possibly.'

Dr Kanani said she was aware of 'a number of new pharmacy colleagues who have come on board' through the golden hello scheme.

NHS England is also hoping the scheme can attract GPs into partnership roles, however - amid an ongoing decline in numbers of GP partners that appears to be accelerating. Official data published last month showed that the number of full-time equivalent GP partners in England had dropped by more than 3,600 in the past four years alone.

Financial risk

Accountants, meanwhile, have warned that practices with potential applicants for the golden hello payments must take a cautious approach to ensure they are aware of potential hidden costs and risk.

Practices could struggle to claw back payments if a new partner chooses to move on within five years, and face legal costs to renew partnership agreements - while individual applicants could see some of the extra income cancelled out by losing other tax benefits, accountants say.

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