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GP practices excluded from Covid-19 job retention scheme

by Costanza Pearce
5 June 2020

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GP practices are not able to claim reimbursement for wages under the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.

The news, revealed in NHS England’s latest standard operating procedures for general practice, comes as HMRC had previously said practices could use the furlough scheme the same way as any other employer ‘provided they meet the criteria’.

At the time, NHS England had advised GPs should not need to make use of the scheme since they were still receiving their usual funding.

But the new NHS England document, published last Friday, said no claims from GP practices will be accepted.

It said: ‘[The] Treasury has advised that GP practices cannot claim for the wages of practice employees on temporary leave (“furlough”) through the Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme.’

The news comes as Pulse revealed last week that reimbursement for additional costs relating to the pandemic are in limbo.

NHS England has repeatedly told practices they will be reimbursed in full via the General Practice Covid Support Fund, including for locum cover costs when staff have to self-isolate due to Covid-19. 

But Management in Practice’s sister publication, Pulse, has learned that the Treasury will not approve the fund until NHS England provides proof of additional costs to general practice.

In some areas, CCGs have given GP practices £1 per patient to ensure cash flow during the pandemic, as Pulse revealed in April.