Primary Care Support England (PCSE) have confirmed that there has been a delay in processing some General Ophthalmic Service payments this month.
An update from the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU) and the Optical Confederation highlighted that contractors and Local Optical Committees in the affected areas would receive an email from PCSE informing them of the delay.
“PCSE is aiming to ensure payments reach bank accounts within three to five working days of the usual payment dates,” the update explained.
“As soon as PCSE has processed payments for an affected area, contractors will receive a further email to confirm when the funds will be in the bank,” the statement elaborated.
The latest delay announcement follows three months of payment lags.
In response to an earlier enquiry by OT, a PCSE spokesperson confirmed that Gloucester payments were delayed in February because of a “payment schedule being completed incorrectly.”
In March, some payments were delayed “due to a number of factors, including adverse weather,” while in April there were also late payments as a result of technical issues within NHS Digital’s IT system.
The spokesperson emphasised that in each situation contractors were informed of delays.
LOCSU clinical director, Katrina Venerus, told OT that concerns have been raised with NHS England about the payment delays, and they are awaiting a full explanation of the cause of the issues.
She shared that LOCSU and the Optical Confederation had been assured in recent meetings with PCSE and NHS England that additional staff had been rostered on following the March payment delays to ensure payments are made on time.
“Clearly the steps taken have not been sufficient to ensure on time payments this month, so the sector needs urgent assurance that further appropriate action is being taken by PCSE to guarantee future payments are made on time,” Ms Venerus highlighted.
Image credit: Bank of England