The British Medical Association has instructed locum GPs to increase their fees from April.
This section follows hot on the heels of an announcement of £30 million in additional funding to be paid to practices to cover rising indemnity costs.
The £30 million figure forms part of The GP contract for the 2017/18 financial year.
Responding to this proposal, the National Association of Sessional GPs asserted that most locums will be required to escalate their fees by 1-2% to cover the expected rise in indemnity costs.
Individual circumstances will alter the extent to which these increases need to be made, but it is believed that all locums will need to make these adjustments.
Previous analysis has indicated that one-quarter of GPs are currently paying at least 20% more for indemnity fees than 12 months previously.
The contract outlines the fact that local GPs will be required to ensure that invoices and agreements with practices are “uplifted appropriately to take account of this business expense”.
NHS England and GPC England are currently constructing practical guidance in order “to facilitate the appropriate dispersal of this resource to all sectors of the GP workforce”, the GPC stated.
Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chairman of the NASGP, believes that locums have been seriously disadvantaged and almost left stranded by the new regulations
“What the DH should have done is given money straight to the medical defence organisations, and then they could freeze their rates. This is a really bureaucratic, round-the-houses way of reimbursing GPs. This will keep everyone busy. It’s just more paperwork for practices to do, NHS England should have cut out the middle man and paid the MDOs direct.”
Despite the terms included in the new GP contract, many GPs will still be paying significant sums of money in order to maintain legal cover, according to healthcare experts.
Meanwhile, many part-time doctors will struggle to temporarily increase the number of sessions that they deal with due to massive fee hikes.
BMA guidance outlines the way that the new practice will operate.
“The funding will be paid to practices on a per patient basis, set out under the statement of financial entitlements (SFE), and will not be weighted as a result of the Carr-Hill formula. As this funding will be paid direct to practices, GPC is clear that GP principals must ensure that the appropriate amount of funding reaches their salaried GP colleagues. Locum GPs will need to ensure that their invoices/agreements with practices are uplifted appropriately to take account of this business expense if they have not already done so.”
Many will see this latest problem as merely another tale in the litany of difficulty facing general practice.