Life Under Lockdown – Round-up
03.07.2020 , BY Kate Perry
03.07.2020 , BY Kate Perry
Firstly, we hope that you are all keeping safe and well. Everyone at RBP has been working from home now for over 14 weeks. This has become our new ‘normal’. Zoom and Teams, which no one had ever even heard of a few months ago, are now second nature to most of us and I suspect to most of you.
Working practices have changed. 80% of contact with patients is now virtual. Interestingly, this way of working had already started to be introduced by some private GPs and other providers but many were reluctant and dubious about the potential risks. However, having been forced to ‘see’ patients this way, many have embraced it and are likely to continue with this option for patients when life gets back to normal.
With many of our clients working from home or dealing with fewer patients, they have taken the opportunity to provide us with their accounting records or tax return details and we have never been busier. It is good to see some of our ‘last minute’ clients sending their information in early!
To assist you financially with additional costs caused by the pandemic, we have seen that many CCGs are offering a reimbursement for such things as PPE and additional staff costs, so do be sure to claim this if available. The NHS has not yet confirmed funding from the top but many CCGs have stepped up to offer it anyway out of their current funds.
Funding has been continued for QOF, DES and LES payments on the assumption that practices would have continued to perform at the same levels from the beginning of the outbreak as they had done previously but we are not sure up to what point. It is anticipated that payments will be honoured during the initial lockdown period but it is not known for how long this will be guaranteed, so it would be wise to plan and start to call patients in for the usual checks now that easing of the lockdown has begun, particularly in respect of QOF.
HMRC have started to send out the July tax statements but you will note that payment isn’t actually due until 31st January 2021. However, we still recommend that you pay as usual if you have the cash available. If you have an offset mortgage, you may wish to retain the funds until January to reduce your interest payments, or if you have reduced your income you may wish to wait until we have prepared your tax return in case your tax payment can be reduced.
We have started to prepare the first of our PCN accounts and are finding that the majority have an excess at the end of the year. Some are choosing to pay this out to practices based on list size and some are choosing to retain some for future costs, or a mixture of both. In the coming year, new funds are becoming available under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) and hopefully you will all gain some advantage from this. I know that many of you have already started recruiting.
All practices were asked to sign up to the new PCN contract in May and the majority now have despite some misgivings.
We are still happy to take on any PCNs who have not yet appointed an accountant. Also, although accounts are not officially required for the flat structure, we do recommend that accounts are produced for probity and transparency and in any case, you will need to know what excess funds you have.
Sadly, our locum clients appear to have been hit the hardest, as they have seen their work dry up as practices are managing to deal with more patients without the same need for locum GPs. Often their earnings will have either been too high or less than 50% of their total earnings to obtain any relief from the Self-employed Support Scheme. Those working through companies will similarly have been unable to obtain any financial assistance as the government had offered nothing to those small, owner managed companies receiving income through dividends. These clients should contact us if they feel that their income for next year will be significantly reduced to discuss reducing next year’s payments on account.
Total Reward Statement (TRS)
We know that some of you are still struggling to obtain this document, so as a quick reminder here are the steps you need to follow:
1. Go to the NHS Total Reward Statement portal
2. If you already have a Government Gateway ID you can access your statement using ESR Employee Self Service or if you haven’t registered before you will need to register on the new GOV.UK Verify service
3. Obtain your TRS statement
4. Review your pensionable earnings statement for missing years or income. For GPs, you can request the statement for the years prior to you becoming a GP by phoning NHS Pensions and requesting these details
5. Send a copy of the statement to us.
If you cannot access any information:
1. Call NHS Pensions on 0300 330 1346
2. Request a copy of the latest TRS and ask up to what date this is. This may take up to eight weeks.
3. The statement should ideally be up to 31st March 2019, which was the last certificate submitted but may currently only be up to 31st March 2018 as they are still behind. If the date is earlier than this, assume that the PCSE has not received your superannuation certificates for earlier years
4. Upload any missing statements to the PCSE and send an urgent request that they reconcile these without delay
5. Continue to follow this up with both the PCSE and NHS Pensions until your records have been updated.
The next online update will be in August, so for those for whom there is no information showing online, please try again after August.
Superannuable Earnings of Over £150,000 per Year
As far as we are aware, the disclosure by name of all those working in the NHS and earning over £150,000 is still going ahead. This is effective from October 2020 in respect of the 2019/20 year and will be based on superannuable earnings. This is a self-declaration and we suspect that it will be an additional disclosure on the superannuation certificate. It is assumed that this information will be made available to the public on an NHS website and will not require to be disclosed by the practice on their own website.
New to Partnership Payment Scheme
The funding rules for these payments have just been published. The scheme opened to applications on 1st July 2020 for all those being accepted into partnership for the first time on or after 1st April 2020. The benefits of the scheme are a sum of £20,000, pro-rated for part-timers. However, should a new partner leave or change their hours of work within five years, the payments will be adjusted and clawed back. The sum is supported by a further 20% contribution towards tax and national insurance payments. There is also a training fund of up to £3,000 for all eligible participants.
Who knows what the future will hold for any of us? Will there be a second spike, possibly over winter as the cold weather offers a greater hold for the virus when we are all stuck indoors with the heating on? I know a worry for all of you. We could go into lockdown, all over again. Another is what happens if you are called by a contact tracer – another fear which may be more of an annoyance than anything.
As I end, I would like to offer RBPs thanks to all of you who work in or help the NHS to get us through this frightful time. We are here to support you too, so do contact us by email or on the phone using our usual direct dial numbers which are redirected to our mobiles at home.
Stay safe and keep well.