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Secret Diary of a Practice Manager : June in Review

Now that we are all back to pre-Covid working, there are a number of things happening that will affect primary care both now and into the future.

In the same week that restrictions on wearing masks were removed, there was a report that Covid is on the increase once again.

As a practice, we have taken the decision to insist that staff members walking around the building should continue to wear masks. This has not gone down well, but the view is we are still going to ask patients to wear masks, and it’s easier to enforce if staff is all seen to be wearing masks too. In any case, all our clinicians will be wearing masks in consultations in the near future.

Yes, the numbers are relatively low compared to what they were, but it sends a warning that we may not be fully over Covid, as hoped for by the government. Indeed, there is a view amongst our doctors that by September it will be going up even further and that a fourth dose of the vaccine will be needed. Primary care will be asked to administer this, something that will add to our existing workload, as most of the other Covid sites have been closed.

Of course, we are likely to be the last to know, and for some, it may be something that they may not or cannot do. As a surgery, we would be happy to administer the vaccine based on our setup last year of utilising a team of volunteer vaccinators.

Practice Finances - Year End

A couple of points came out of our recent meeting with the accountants. Firstly, HMRC is likely to be pushing to see that all surgeries’ year ends fall on March 31st each year, something that was highlighted in FPM’s finance webinar back in March. This will affect partners, as it will mean HMRC can demand the self-assessment taxes earlier during the transitional period, which could have a detrimental effect on cash flow within a surgery.

(Look out for news of FPMs next finance webinar, coming soon). 

VAT and Primary Care Networks

There appears to be some activity on the VAT situation for Primary Care Networks. It is safe to say that so far, HMRC has made no definitive statements on whether VAT should be levied on PCN directors and staff, and various accountants have a different view on the issue now and moving forward.

How they can put 20% VAT on PCN staff payments baffles me, as that means in real terms, we are really only going to get 80% of the monies allocated and the other 20% goes full circle back to the treasury.

Whilst nothing definite has been confirmed, it is prudent to at least be aware of this possibility, rather than it coming as a total shock if it’s brought in.

Other News

There appears to be no let-up in violence and abuse within the NHS by patients who are more demanding than ever and are using threats of violence to get what they want. This is not only in GP practices but is now widespread in pharmacies etc.

Only recently we removed a patient under the Violent Patient Scheme for threats and abuse, and the police have become involved in what could have been a profoundly serious incident.

Let us hope that this type of behaviour is just in the current cycle after Covid and that we get back to being respected as we once were.


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