PCSE to make two additional payment runs in June

The additional payments for some PCSE Online portal contractors will provide support for the claims backlog after users experienced performance issues in May and early June

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Primary Care Support England (PCSE) has announced two additional payment runs for later this month, after performance issues affected claims made via PCSE Online between 20 May and 2 June.

The extra payments will be available to PCSE Online portal contractors with in-bank dates of 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 20 June.

Claims submitted between the last monthly cut-off date and 3pm on Friday 16 June will be uploaded for payment by 20 June and included in the next available payment run for contractors’ Integrated Care Board (ICB), PCSE said.

Those submitted after 3pm on 16 June and up to 3pm on 29 June will be uploaded for payment on Monday 3 July.

PCSE reminded contractors that ICBs typically have two payment runs per week.

They added that all submitted but unpaid claims, including those that contractors might have expected to be paid in July, will be paid at this time.

To address the challenges associated with completing the patient signature box when processing backlog claims, PCSE also confirmed that a short code of 523 can be added to the patient signatory box in lieu of an actual signature.

The code must only be used for claims affected by the system outages where the patient was unable to sign the eligibility declaration, PCSE said.

The announcement was shared in a letter sent via commissioners to General Ophthalmic Services contract holders on Thursday 14 June.

The issues PCSE Online experienced were due to critical software upgrades installed over the weekend of 20–21 May, the communication said. PCSE Online users began to report problems on 22 May.

In the email, Ali Sparke, director of optometry, dental and pharmacy for NHS England, offered his “sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused” to contractors.

“I fully appreciate the frustration caused by not being able to access or operate the system as intended, and the impact this has had on time, resources and interruption to patient care,” he said.

Sparke added: “I would like to say a huge thank you for the work that you and your colleagues have already carried out clearing the back log of claims that you were not able to create and submit over this time.”

He thanked contractors for their “patience and perseverance during this period.”

The email emphasised that the system should now be working as normal, but that contractors should contact PCSE if they continue to experience issues.

Dr Peter Hampson, AOP clinical and professional director, said: “Today’s statement couldn’t have come soon enough.

“Since the service interruptions were first reported at the end of May, we have been pressing hard for a solution from PCSE. We’re pleased to hear that a fix has been found for many of the issues members have been encountering, but these latest set of problems highlight the need for more robust contingency planning from PCSE to support swifter action when things go wrong.”

Hampson added: “We will be picking up the necessary adjustments to contingency measures with them in the coming weeks.”