NHS Sickness Reimbursement: BMA issues advice correction
Written by Anmol Paul, Specialist Locum Insurance Adviser
It has been reported by Pulse that the BMA have advised GP practices they ‘may not be able to claim full sickness reimbursement if a GP is off more than once a year.’
Previous claims will be counted towards sickness reimbursement allowances if the same GP is off more than once within a 12-month period. This is an update to previous guidance, in which the BMA had said each period of absence was treated separately for the purpose of reimbursement.
A BMA spokesperson said: ‘For example, if a practice claims for 12 weeks of cover, then the GP returns for three months and then goes off sick for 20 weeks: the first 12 week period would be covered to the higher rate, then the first 14 weeks of the second absence would be paid at the higher rate (totalling 26 weeks at the higher rate), and the last six weeks would be paid at the lower rate.’
This change specifies that the maximum amount of higher rate reimbursement will be just 26 weeks for the entire year, regardless of number of absence periods, and may affect the ability of practices to budget for GP absences.
MIAB’s Locum Insurance offers a ‘linked claims period’ of 13 weeks, meaning a repeat absence is treated as a continuation of the original absence if it occurs within 13 weeks of returning back to work. There is also no excess payable on the repeat absence.
The linked claims period applies to both MIAB’s ‘traditional’ and NHS Reimbursement ‘Top-up’ Locum Insurance policies, offering reassurance and stability.
Both policies can be designed to enable practices to use a combination of internal and external cover for absences without requiring receipts or invoices. The policies can cover staff members from across the practice, such as Clinical Pharmacists, Nurses and other clinical staff, who aren’t covered by the NHS Reimbursement scheme.