Vaccine payments sent to wrong practices in COVID-19 pay blunder

Payments for COVID-19 vaccines delivered over the past month have been sent to the wrong practices in some PCNs, GPs have warned.

GP funding concerns (Photo: Viktoria Rodriguez/EyeEm/Getty Images)
GP funding concerns (Photo: Viktoria Rodriguez/EyeEm/Getty Images)

PCNs in south-west London have reported that payments for COVID-19 vaccinations carried out over the past month appear to have been transferred to practices where networks' clinical directors are located - and not to the designated lead practice in each area.

In one case, part of the funding for one PCN had been sent to the lead practice - but another tranche had gone to a different practice within the group.

Alongside this, practices and PCNs in the Richmond CCG area have also been left trying to claw back funding for clinical director roles from individual practices after being told the mechanism they had been using to claim payments for these roles to date would have to change.

COVID-19 vaccine pay

Problems reported with payments this month come after the first wave of COVID-19 vaccination payments to PCNs - worth around £70m in February - saw some practices underpaid by thousands of pounds. GPonline understands that some practices are still waiting for last month's payments to be settled in full.

Dr Nick Grundy, chair of the Richmond GP Alliance - a federation covering all GP practices in the London borough of Richmond - said the payment errors had created 'total chaos'.

'Generally what's happened in our area is the system have ignored the nominated lead practice and just paid the practice which employs the clinical director for the given PCN.

'In one of the PCNs they've actually managed to pay some of the funding to the nominated lead practice and some to an entirely different practice, for reasons which aren't clear.'

GP confusion

He said the problem had created unnecessary confusion - and left practices unclear what payments they had received were for.

Dr Grundy said the federation had also been left trying to claw back clinical director pay from individual practices.

The federation had been making payments to practices to cover clinical director time and claiming that back from the CCG or NHS regional organisation - but has now been told these payments must go directly to practices through the OpenExeter system, forcing it into a complicated process to undo payments.

At least half of PCNs in the area were affected by payments not going through the lead practice, he said - and all in the area were affected by the complications over clinical director pay.

Dr Grundy said that practices in the area had also had problems with the NHS Business Services Authority vaccine reporting system 'Manage Your Service' (MYS) having the 'wrong lead provider set up' within some PCNs.

NHS England told GPonline it was not aware of payments going to the wrong practices in any other part of England. 

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