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NHSE reveals 17 pharmacists received 'golden hello' payments

Pharmacy News

NHSE reveals 17 pharmacists received 'golden hello' payments

By Neil Trainis

Exclusive: NHS England and Improvement has revealed it has paid 17 pharmacists £20,000 in “golden hello” payments to partner with GPs and work in practices.

More than £21.5m was spent on the one-off payments between July 2020 and January this year in an attempt to induce healthcare workers to join practices as part of a £94m recruitment and retention programme set up under the terms of the GP contract in February 2020.

These workers also receive a training fund of up to £3,000 “to develop non-clinical partnership skills".

Responding to a Freedom of Information request by Independent Community Pharmacist, NHSE&I said 20 pharmacists in total have been identified to receive £20,000, with two contracts having been sent out and one yet to be sent. It did not name the pharmacists who have received or are yet to receive the money.

NHSE&I also said that although the funds do not need to be repaid as a rule, some or all of it may need to be paid back if there are significant changes to an individual's working pattern. 

“The grant would need to be returned if there was a change in circumstance that meant that the applicant was no longer eligible for the payment or not eligible for the same amount,” NHSE&I said.

“For example, if an applicant worked for three years at 0.85 (full-time equivalent) and then dropped to 0.77FTE for the last two years, they would have to pay back the difference in allocation for those last two years. All applicants undertake an annual reconciliation process.”

Forty-three applications for the funds had been rejected by February 14 this year because they were deemed “ineligible".

NHSE&I added: “The overarching aim of the scheme is to grow the number of partners working in primary care, stabilising the partnership model and helping to increase clinicians’ participation levels so that primary medical care and the patients it serves have access to the workforce they need. There are no separate aims based on individual professions.”

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