NHS England is set to scrap the fixed-rate reimbursement offered practices as part of the General Practice Fellowship programme, with compensation set to reflect actual salaries.
The two-year support programme which provides mentoring for newly qualified GPs can see staff absent from the practice to participate in Fellowship activities.
In its updated guidance (28 July) for the programme, NHSE said that the amount practices will be reimbursed when a Fellow is absent will now be based on their actual salary cost, and will be valid for up to one session per week.
Previously, the reimbursement rate had been set at a static £65,000.
Additionally, practices are now able to claim additional overhead of 30% to help cover tax, national insurance and pension costs.
These changes can be backdated to 1 April 2021, NHSE clarified.
Meanwhile, funding will now be provided quarterly and will now go directly to ICSs, as opposed to in previous years where it was first shared with NHSE regions.
NHSE also said that GPs who joined the scheme pre-pandemic, but did not receive time or funding because of it, can consider that as ‘paused’ time, and can resume the programme from now.
The nationally funded programme – announced in the NHS Long Term plan and restated in the February 2020 Update to the GP Contract – has an ‘explicit focus’ on working across a PCN.
All ICSs are expected to continue delivering the programme throughout 2021/22.
Earlier this week, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) warned that increasing levels of burnout among GP trainees risked undermining recruitment and retention efforts.
‘A lot of great work has gone into increasing trainee numbers in general practice and we don’t want to see this progress regress,’ Professor Martin Marshall, RCGP chair, said.
His comment was made in response to a General Medical Council (GMC) report which found that as many as one-third (33%) of trainee doctors felt burnt out to a high or very high degree because of their work.