Following an announcement by NHS England on 25th March, we now have some more information on measures put in place that will impact NHS practices operating in England.
To summarise the announced measures:
This will now end on 29 February 2020, with UDAs reconciled to this date.
Over/underperformance and clawback will be calculated as normal.
This will operate as normal, but UDAs will be adjusted to reflect the restricted ability to perform them. This should result in a reduced target and no need to clawback underperformance into 2021/22.
Practices will continue to receive 1/12th of their total contract value, securing cashflow through the crisis. Combined with reduced UDAs, this is of course good news.
However, there is no such thing as a free lunch:
- Practices must continue to pay their staff (including admin, non-clerical and most significantly in cash terms, associates) at “previous levels”
- Practices receiving NHS income are not entitled to claim “wider government support that is duplicative”
- Staff must be made available to support the wider NHS
As with all of the Government’s COVID19 support, there are many unanswered questions.
The BDA have written an open letter to the NHS that succinctly mirrors the questions we, and many practice owners, had.
There was initially a lot of uncertainty for mixed practices.
NHS income isn’t itself going to be enough to cover costs that are ordinarily met by private income. Without the ability to furlough workers and recover 80% of wages costs, mixed practices would struggle.
We now know that mixed practices will be able to furlough staff, broadly in line with the split of their income between NHS and private.
The BDA have a helpful guide on how the rules apply but, to illustrate, if your income was 60% private then you can furlough staff costing upto 60% of your wage bill.
There is of course a need to bear in mind which staff may be required to remain available for redeployment in the NHS. These should not be furloughed. Ultimately, there may be a difference in the amount that you can technically furlough and those that you can actually furlough.