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Collaborative Services are commissioned by Local Authorities for work in the fields of education, social services and public health.
Practices regularly receiving requests from local authorities to provide a range of services relating to the council’s responsibilities across education, social services and public health. These include child protection, mental health assessments, fostering and adoption reports to name but a few. None of these are obligatory for GPs to provide under their contracts but, if GPs do provide them, then there is provision under the NHS Act for them to be paid under ‘collaborative’ arrangements. It is the Area Team, not the local authority, who is responsible for making these payments should a GP carry out one of these services at the request of the local authority although in some areas, the local authority will pay the practice and then re-
The LMC is not in a position to agree local fees as this would be contrary to the Competition Act 1998. Old fees, general annual inflationary uplifts and assessment of the work involved can be helpful in setting fees. The LMC Secretariat can only offer guidance on process.
The LMC recommends that practices give three months notice to Local Authorities and Commissioning Organisations of any annual uplift to fees.
Fees are payable only for work that is not covered by GMS or PMS under the NHS Act 2006. Some PMS contracts may include this work within the contract with fees included in the baseline.
The BMA strongly advises that agreements between practices and commissioning bodies should be made in writing.
Collaborative arrangements are described in the NHS Act under Chapter 6 part 3 paragraph 80
(6) The Secretary of State must make available to local authorities—
(a) any services (other than the services of any person) or other facilities provided under this Act,
(b) the services provided as part of the health service by any person employed by the Secretary of State, a Strategic Health Authority, a Primary Care Trust, a Special Health Authority or a Local Health Board, and
(c) the services of any medical practitioner, dental practitioner or nurse employed by the Secretary of State, a Strategic Health Authority, a Primary Care Trust, a Special Health Authority or a Local Health Board otherwise than to provide services which are part of the health service, so far as is reasonably necessary and practicable to enable local authorities to discharge their functions relating to social services, education and public health.
Please remember that collaborative services do not include any services covered by the ‘List of Prescribed Certificates’ under the GMS and PMS Regulations you are obliged to provide these free of charge under your contract.