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GPC England has been made aware that a number of local commissioners have refused locum reimbursement following GP partners returning to work from sickness absence on reduced hours ( phased return). GPC has challenged these decisions with NHS England nationally, as we believe they represented a clear breach of the GMS Statement of Financial Entitlements.

This intervention has resulted in NHS England conceding GPC’s position that when GP partners return from sick leave on phased return certified by Med3, the SFE mandates that practice must be reimbursed the cost of their cover in exactly the same was as if the partner was still completely off sick.

Furthermore, whilst there are some circumstances where a practice may not automatically be entitled under the SFE to locum reimbursement when a salaried GP is on phased return from sick leave, NHS England nationally has made it clear to all local commissioners that, to avoid discrimination, salaried GPs’ absence during phased return will also be reimbursed on a discretionary basis.

An updated SFE will be published shortly and NHS England will also imminently be publishing a new protocol dealing with the correct interpretation of the SFE in respect of various issues related to practice locum reimbursement entitlement for parental and sick leave, on all of which GPC has successfully challenged local commissioning decisions where reimbursement had been inappropriately denied.

In the meantime, in respect of the specific issue of phased return from sickness, a guidance document has just been published on the NHS Employers website. This is attached and also available at this link:


If any LMCs still have ongoing issues or encounter any future problems related to reimbursement for cover for parental or sickness absence, please let GPC know.