There is no date set for the roll-out of the new automatic system for payments under the general practice social deprivation grant support scheme, the HSE has told the Medical Independent (MI).
In February, the IMO informed this newspaper that it expected the system would be rolled out “later in 2022”; however, there remains no update as to when implementation will occur.
The system, designed by the HSE’s health intelligence unit, will automatically identify practices that work in the most deprived areas, using indices of deprivation. This would mean GPs would no longer be required to apply for the grant, which is currently the case.
A spokesperson for the HSE also told MI: “The application process for the period 2022/23 is currently under review and we will issue a circular to GPs when this is finalised.”
This circular will outline details on the grant allocation for that period.
The first grant instalment of the 2021/22 period was paid in April 2022, according to a HSE circular dated 10 May 2022, with the second and final instalment paid in June and July 2022. The grant is issued in two instalments for “administration purposes”, according to the HSE spokesperson.
They added that the practices which received the grant in the 2020/21 period and “met the HSE’s requirements for vouched receipts for the previous year’s grant”, were not required to reapply for the 2021/22 period.
The circular also stated: “The intention is to shortly commence the process as originally intended in conjunction with HSE population health colleagues for the next round of grant allocations 2022/2023.”
The allocation of funding to practices in areas of deprivation was implemented under the 2019 IMO/HSE GP agreement.
In February, MI reported on concerns expressed by some GPs regarding delays to deprivation grant payments this year, which they said could impact patient services, such as link workers.