STOP MISUSE OF NHS FUNDS FOR PRIVATE CLAIMS WORK
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Circa £115M of NHS funding each year spent on supporting patients making private financial claims - THIS IS PRIVATE WORK - NOT NHS WORK!!
GP practices receive numerous requests for copies of patient records from insurance companies, solicitors and 3rd party companies preparing medical reports for solicitors and insurance companies! The purpose of these requests is private in nature and for the purpose of financial compensation for the patient. By the virtue of it being private work it is unfunded by the NHS contracts. Prior to the 25th May, GP practices could charge a maximum of £50 for undertaking this work which involves admin and GP input and had 40 days to provide it. The £50 rarely covered the cost of the work but it was generally accepted.
Since the 25th May we are no longer permitted under GDPR to charge for providing copies of patient records and the timescale has reduced to 1 calendar month.
What does this mean?
- Staff that are paid by the NHS for NHS work are undertaking private work without remuneration
- NHS resource is being used to fund the fat cat insurance companies, 3rd party medical report providers, solicitors and patient compensation pay outs
- A GP may take 30 minutes on average to review a file to check if there is anything that cannot be shared, and administrator will take on average 1 hr for all admin relating to the request
- This equates to an average of £60 per request to access a copy of the record
- We are an average sized practice and are receiving c5/wk on average - this equates to a cost of £300/week and £15,600 per year of NHS funding required to cover private work
- 7400 GP practices in England alone equates to over £115Million of NHS monies spent on unfunded private work
- GP Practices have a reduced timescale to provide this private work which means resource in practices is being pushed away from NHS work to comply with GDPR
- GP Practices will become destabilised as they in essence have to employ a staff member to work without income for the work being undertaken – i.e. for free
- GP Practices cannot sustain this
- We are doing private work unfunded in NHS time
Most recently, 3rd party companies are being instructed by solicitors and insurance companies to prepare medical reports and to do so they require the patient’s full medical record. In essence the GP practice ends up spending NHS funds to provide a copy of the patient’s record whether paper/digital to a 3rd party who prepares the medical report for the solicitor/insurance company. All of these 3rd parties are financially benefitting but the GP practice and NHS monies are being utilised to enable this.
In summary – the change to the law for GDPR is costing an average sized practice c £15K pa to cover private work which was previously funded by the insurance company or solicitor. GP Practices are losing more money – this could be spent on a health care assistant.
The BMA has indicated there will be a law coming in at some time in the future preventing insurance companies from doing this but there is no timescale for this. Also, this does not cover where the insurance company or solicitor has instructed a 3rd party not regulated by the ABI – and we have seen an increase since GDPR came in. Also, there is no guidance for negligence claim SAR requests from lawyers – they are requesting a SAR instead of under AMRA.
We think it is disgusting that the NHS is picking up the cost of private work because of this change in data law and something needs to be done about it.
Do the general public really want GPs prioritising reviewing medical notes before they are copied above seeing patients? Or admin staff photocopying/digitalising records, which results in their hospital referral being delayed another day?
Are MPs happy that NHS funding is used for sustaining private work for insurance companies, solicitors and other 3rd parties? As an MP I would hope you totally understand this and appreciate that diverting NHS funding for patient care towards admin is abhorrent.
Can you ensure that there is legislation put in place quickly to prevent insurance companies, legal firms and 3rd parties who prepare medical reports for them to make requests under AMRA that is chargeable rather than GDPR which will cost the NHS over £115M per year?
Practice Manager of a medium sized practice that is already being squeezed by NHS funding cuts. GP Practices need to be caring for patients with their NHS funding OR be funded for the non-NHS work.
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