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ICB pauses CCG’s decision to top up GP childhood immunisations income

by Caitlin Tilley
13 July 2022

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A newly-instated integrated care board (ICB) has halted a CCG’s plans to top up GP practices’ childhood immunisations income.

It was revealed in April that GP practices were set to lose tens of thousands in income from child immunisations due to stricter targets, including one practice set to lose £66,000.

In response, NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG had decided to help GP practices that were adversely affected.

According to Gateshead and South Tyneside LMC chair and GP Dr Paul Evans, the CCG would top up payments where practices could ‘demonstrate good, patient-level explanation as to why’ for example where vaccinations were ‘done but slightly late’, or where the patient ‘had all relevant immunisations but not in line with UK schedule’.

Dr Evans said the CCG had been ‘keen to demonstrate value’, but had understood that ‘punishing practices for making it easy to deal with children of either chaotic or migrant families would be the wrong thing to do’.

However, North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), which took over commissioning of general practice in the area on 1 July, said the decision to top up income is now under review.

A spokesperson said: ‘We have been made aware that, prior to its dissolution, a local CCG was planning to make alternative arrangements regarding QOF payments linked to child immunisation. The ICB has paused any implementation and will be reviewing the position.’

Other CCGs had also been looking into offering support to GPs adversely affected by the revised childhood immunisations targets.

Somerset LMC said in a bulletin: ‘The CCG are working on financial modelling which is being supported by regional colleagues, we are therefore hopeful that a local solution will be found.’

GP practices in Somerset have already been told by their LMC to assess the ‘viability’ of offering childhood immunisations for future years.

NHS England had previously put a stop to NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG plans to help practices losing money for not meeting the QOF indicator thresholds.

The 2021/22 GP contract saw vaccinations and immunisations become an essential service with item of service fees set at £10.06, and four new indicators covering vaccinations and immunisations added to the QOF, replacing the childhood immunisation DES.

However, it also removed exception reporting at the same time as insisting on practices hitting 95% uptake, which has led to a number of practices losing out on tens of thousands of pounds.

This article was initially published on our sister title Pulse.