Nurses made up just 25 of more than 1,000 successful applicants for the ‘golden handshake’ scheme for new GP partners, it has emerged.
The British Medical Association (BMA) told Nursing in Practice’s sister publication Pulse that in the 19 months between the scheme’s launch and the end of January 2022, 1,360 applicants were admitted and over £21.5m was spent.
It said that an overwhelming majority of successful applicants were GPs – with 1,308 GPs, 25 nurses, 20 pharmacists, four paramedics, two physician associates and one physiotherapist accepted.
The scheme, launched in July 2020, offers a £20,000 payment as well as up to £3,000 as a training fund to support staff to transition to practice partnership.
Pulse also learned from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request that NHS England has also clawed back some funds where partners’ ‘circumstances changed’.
Providing figures for the 18-month period from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2021, NHS England said the total value of all new-to-partnership grant payments was £19.7m. It approved 1,295 applications to the scheme as of 17 January (87%) out of the 1,489 made since it launched.
The data also revealed NHS England has so far approved almost nine in 10 applications for the scheme. Of the 1,489 applications, NHS England said that:
- 89 required further detail before processing
- 57 are currently in progress
- 43 were rejected for being ‘ineligible’
- Five were withdrawn by the applicants.
Of the 43 ‘ineligible’ applications, eight were due to the new partner having a ‘fixed-share’ role and 23 were due to partners having a ‘probation’ period prior to the scheme’s start date on 1 April 2020. Nine were because the applicant was deemed to have been a partner before April 2020.
When asked how many applicants had so far received the £20,000, NHS England said that it had received payment requests for 1,084 applicants by 17 January. It added: ‘Requests are made once the contracts and financial agreements have been signed.’
But no applicants have received the £3,000 training fund to support the transition to practice partnership yet, it confirmed.
Currently, 12 healthcare professions are eligible for the scheme, which is due to end in March 2023 – GPs, nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physiotherapists, paramedics, midwives, dietitians, podiatrists, occupational therapists, mental health practitioners and physician associates.