‘Inappropriate’ to add GPs to ARRS before 2024 contract

22nd February 2024 by NASGP

‘Inappropriate’ to add GPs to ARRS before 2024 contract

GP locums’ access to Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) funding is an ‘inappropriate’ topic for discussion before contract negotiations are finalised, the Government told GPs today.

In response to a petition about the ARRS started last year, authors from the Department of Health and Social Care responded: “Changes to the scheme are made through wider changes to the GP contract. The contract arrangements for 2024/25 are subject to consultation with the British Medical Association and it would be inappropriate to comment further. An update will be provided once the consultation has concluded.”

GPs have been shut out of the ARRS scheme by the Government, Dr David Wrigley, BMA’s GP Committee England (GPC) deputy chair, told the BMJ.

“It’s incredible to think that at a time of GP shortages, we’ve got unemployment and the government won’t make changes to allow us to get those doctors back into surgeries,” he said. “Government could work with us on this, and we’ve raised it time and time again, but it seems like they’re not willing to listen or take action to help us with this.”

The BMA showed its support last month for a petition for practices to be able to spend ARRS funding on GPs.

The NASGP has called for ARRS money to be offered to GPs as well as ARRS roles since last November, and Dr Katona launched the petition in late December. Over 10,000 signatories have now supported the campaign, and it has been publicly supported by leading doctors including Dr Iona Collins, Dr Richard van Mellaerts and the Doctor’s Association UK.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “It’s inexplicable that the government is refusing to even budge an inch on allowing busy practices to choose how best to hire the appropriate clinical workforce to support their patient populations.

“For a government that’s against nanny state, it’s behaving very much like a deaf, belligerent auntie.

“Instead, GP practices and PCNs should be given much more autonomy to make decisions that only they are in a position to do so.”

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