Practices given July deadline to complete COVID-19 staff risk assessments

GP practices have been given until 22 July to complete risk assessments for all staff at potentially increased risk from COVID-19, including those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups.

GP risk assessment deadline (Photo: Virojt Changyencham/Getty Images)
GP risk assessment deadline (Photo: Virojt Changyencham/Getty Images)

An NHS England letter dated 24 June told practices to make ‘significant progress’ with assessments ‘within the next two weeks’ and to complete the process for all at-risk staff in the next four weeks.

GPs have also been asked to inform staff how they can access occupational health support after NHS England confirmed it had commissioned occupational health services for primary care.

Primary care organisations are legally responsible for securing appropriate occupational health assessments including staff risk assessments for their employees, NHS England warned.

Occupational health

Commissioners, primary care networks (PCNs) and practices have been asked to review current occupational health capacity and access to these services for staff.

The announcement comes after the BMA called for GPs to have access to occupational health services during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the letter to practices, NHS England's chief people officer Prerana Issar said some staff were ‘yet to have their risk assessment completed’, warning that completing risk assessments was a ‘vital component’ of protecting staff.

Practices have been asked to publish the following metrics from their staff reviews:

  • Number of staff risk-assessed and percentage of whole workforce.
  • Number of BAME staff risk assessments completed, percentage of total risk assessments completed and of whole workforce.
  • Percentage of staff risk-assessed by staff group.
  • Additional mitigation over and above the individual risk assessments in settings where infection rates are highest.

COVID-19 risk assessment

The letter says this information should be made available to all staff and must be overseen by senior partners or business owners.

NHS bosses also signposted updated guidance from NHS Employers and pointed towards practical tools and case studies on deploying risk assessments in primary and secondary care on the NHS England/Improvement website.

NHS England asked practices in April to begin risk assessing staff at potentially increased risk.

Earlier this month the BMA recommended that all BAME staff should be risk assessed to consider whether they should see patients face-to-face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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