The LMC has been supporting a number of practices that had been refused, on NHS England instruction to CCGs, locum reimbursement following GP partners returning to work from sickness absence on reduced hours (phased return). Through the GPC, the LMC has challenged these decisions with NHS England nationally, as we believe they represented a clear breach of the GMS Statement of Financial Entitlements (SFE).
This intervention has resulted in NHS England conceding Birmingham LMC’s position that when GP partners return from sick leave on phased return certified by Med3, the SFE mandates that practices must be reimbursed the cost of their cover in exactly the same was as if the partner was still completely off sick.
Furthermore, whilst there are some circumstances where a practice may not be legally entitled to locum reimbursement when a salaried GP is on phased return from sick leave, NHS England nationally has made it clear to all local commissioners that, to avoid discrimination, salaried GPs’ absence during phased return will also be reimbursed on a discretionary basis.
This issue of reimbursement for phased return is the latest in a long list where Birmingham LMC has challenged local commissioning decisions to deny practices funding to which they have been legally entitled following GP absence on sickness or parental leave. Every one of these challenges by the LMC has been successful in ensuring that practices receive reimbursements, totalling many thousands of pounds each, which they had been denied through NHS England misinterpretation of the SFE. N
HS England will shortly be publishing a new protocol dealing with the correct interpretation of the SFE in respect of practice locum reimbursement entitlement for parental and sick leave.
In the meantime, in respect of the specific issue of phased return from sickness, a guidance document has just been published on the NHS Employers website. This is included below and also available at this link: http://www.nhsemployers.org/-/media/Employers/Documents/Primary-care-contracts/GMS/Locum-reimbursement-phased-return-to-work-FAQs.
If any practices encounter any future problems related to reimbursement for cover for parental or sickness absence, please do not hesitate to contact the LMC for advice.
Click here to download the document "Locum reimbursement phased return to work FAQs".
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