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Sickness Cover Reimbursement for GPs: Impact of Rising Locum Costs

MIAB has been exploring the impact of the changes to sickness cover reimbursement for GPs.

From our ongoing discussions with customers, NHS England and other stakeholders, we re-iterate that these payments may not be a suitable, like-for-like replacement for Locum Insurance, and recommend holders of Locum Insurance not to cancel or reduce cover until full details of the reimbursement are established.

An additional issue for practices to consider is that Locum GPs will be increasing their fees to incorporate rising costs of indemnity – and this will be passed on to practices.

The new GP contract announced £30m to cover the rise in indemnity costs to be paid direct to practices. Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of the BMA GPs committee, in his letter to BMA members, said, “Locum GPs will need to ensure that their invoices/agreements with practices are uplifted appropriately to take account of this business expense if they have not already done so.

The National Association of Sessional GPs suggest this would amount to a 1% to 2% rise in fees for most locums. Our data shows that typical GP customers need around £2,500 per week to cover the cost of a Locum so a 2% rise places an additional £50 on top. With a maximum reimbursement of £1,734.18 per week, practices would still need to find £815 per week.

As this is a significant sum, practices considering cancelling or reducing their Locum Insurance should ensure they have the resources available to cover this shortfall.

MIAB continues to engage with senior management at NHS England about reimbursement and its impact on practices so if you have any questions or queries, please contact Anmol Paul on anmol.paul@miab.co.uk or 01438 870733.

MIAB has previously published an extensive list of FAQs about the changes, which summarise the available information, important points to consider and highlight the many unanswered questions, and we expect NHS England to publish additional guidance by 1 April 2017.