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Supporting general practice – additional £150 million of funding
Primary care flexible staff pools
Date: December 30, 2020
Primary care flexible staff pools

NHSE have published their guidance on flexible staffing arrangements for GPs.

The guidance sets out how each area can attract GPs into the workforce via more flexible working arrangements, and through matching schemes between locums and practices. They set out that the recent announcement of £150million on primary care workforce can be used to pump prime these schemes, though the flexible scheme is intended to be ongoing.

The BMA have also published guidance on this item see below:

Last month, NHSE/I wrote to practices and CCGs regarding £150 million of additional, non-recurrent fundingwhich practices should now be receiving. Since then, we have been contacted by GPs asking us to clarify elements of the scheme and how it fits with other schemes:

  • CCGs should ensure that practices receive the money without burdensome administrative or application processes.
  • The funding must be used to expand workforce capacity, which can be used for new employees, new locums, or additional sessions for existing employees or locums.
  • Practices are free to use the money to employ locum GPs through any existing arrangements and you should take whatever decisions are most likely to support your local workforce promptly. Alternatively, practices may wish to use the time-limited funding to ‘pump prime’ permanent employment contracts. We recommend that the BMA’s salaried GP model contract is used where employment is offered.
  • Practices do not have to be signed up to the COVID vaccination programme enhanced service or any other scheme to receive this funding. However, practices that are signed up to the enhanced service may use the funding to engage staff to support this work, or to backfill permanent staff who have been redeployed.
  • NHSE/I will soon be announcing a new funding stream to develop primary care staff pools, which is referenced in the letter, but the guidance is not yet published. While practices’ share of the £150 million funding can be used to bring in staff through the new pools, there is no requirement to do so. There is also no obligation to use the accompanying ‘flexible employment contract template’ or the forthcoming practice-locum matching software. If the software is used, it does not have to replace existing relationships between practices and locums. Costs for locum engagement should continue to be decided between practices and locums.

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