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GPC Position on the Minimum Workforce Dataset

The LMC is aware that many practices have been seeking advice on this vexed issue for some time, and that there was a further communication to practices from HSCIC yesterday which added to the anxieties.I now attach a further guidance and position statement document form the GPC, which I would urge you to read very carefully.I can only apologise for the length of time it has taken this to be produced, but both detailed advice from the Information Commissioners Office and a further legal opinion have been required, and the position needed to be crystal clear in order that no information was sent to practices which could put them at legal or contractual risk.

You will see from the document that, unfortunately provision of the information requested is a legal and therefore, ipso facto, a contractual obligation. The only softening blows are that there will be a phasing in, so that firstly the collection of 31 March data only requires information for clinical staff, not all practice staff, and that secondly the provision of national insurance numbers is desirable rather than obligatory for the March data collection, pending the exploration of a more satisfactory longer-term solution.

Please also note that practices are strongly advised to inform all their staff about this data collection, in order to fully comply with data protection requirements, but staff are not allowed to opt out.

For the avoidance of doubt, remember that whilst the data collection refers to the 31st. March, practices have until the end of May to actually submit the information.The LMC is aware that there has been some misunderstanding about this.

Finally, and most importantly, there is no additional funding for practices to carry out this additional, legally obliged new work. The GPC is calling on local commissioners to fund practices to undertake this activity.In Birmingham, as you are aware, the three CCGs are taking on full delegated responsibility for commissioning general practice from 1st. April and any decision on local funding would be in their hands.This message is therefore being copied to the Accountable Officers of the three Birmingham CCGs and I do hope that they will see the value in funding practices to carry out this work.CCGs are, of course, accountable to their member practices and no doubt all practices would therefore wish to make their views on this matter known to their CCG through locality networks and the other usual routes.Having said that the LMC view is that this is something that must be funded nationally through core GP contracts and the Birmingham LMC position has been communicated very forcefully to the GPC. However even if an increase in national contract funding was put in place to recognise this new workload it would not be during the 2015/16 financial year and this should not therefore preclude CCGs from making a decision to fund this activity immediately.

Click here to download the document "Workforce Minimum Data Set - GPC position March 2015 final".

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