All practices will have to appoint a counter-terrorism lead in order to apply for enhanced services, Pulse has learnt.
An NHS England letter to all CCGs said all providers of commissioned services, including enhanced services, will need to specify their lead on the ‘Prevent’ scheme – the Government’s strategy for preventing radicalisation.
The new policy, issued by NHS England to all health authorities, states that GP practices must train a “lead” member of staff to recognise patients who are ” vulnerable to radicalization,” before notifying authorities.
Under the new rules, if a GP practice fails to send a member of staff on the “Prevent” counter terrorism course, part of their funding will be cut.
Pulse reported in 2011 that GPs were being asked to flag up patients who were ‘vulnerable to radicalism’ as part of the Prevent strategy.
However, CCGs are now actively asking practices to name their lead before signing the NHS Standard Contract, which is used all services commissioned by CCGs, including enhanced services.
According to the national contract, Prevent leads will be expected to ensure that they have read and understand the Government’s Prevent strategy on counter-terrorism and make all practice employees aware of the strategy.
A letter from NHS England to all CCG clinical leads in September, informed them that they must ensure all providers of commissioned services – including GPs providing enhanced services – must have a named lead on the Prevent strategy in place in order to sign the standard contract.
The letter states: ‘As commissioners, you will be aware that Prevent delivery for each provider organisation is now included within the NHS Standard Contract for 2013/14 within Service Conditions paragraph 32.’
‘Please note this is mandated for all providers who deliver NHS services including non-NHS organisations.’
Former GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman questioned whether the requirement was meant to be a joke.
‘I think this a silly, totally pointless gimmick and I can see no inherent value in asking people who know nothing about something that is extremely serious to do this.’
Dr John Glasspool a Southampton GP raised the question of what the Prevent lead would be required to do in future and whether it was ethical.
‘I don’t see what role a GP should play in preventing radical Islam…we will lose the trust of our Muslim patients and it also raises the issue of patient confidentiality,’ he said.
Dr Maureen Baker, chairwoman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: “It is effectively asking GPs to be a government intelligence agency.”
An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘The health sector’s contribution to the Prevent strategy is one strand of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy (CONTEST). Prevent seeks to respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism by ensuring they are given appropriate advice and support, and works with sectors and institutions, including, for example, healthcare, education and prisons where there are risks of radicalisation.
‘It is important that the heath sector can respond to these risks and enable healthcare workers to identify and provide support for those vulnerable to radicalisation. So far 44,112 health staff have received Prevent awareness training.’
‘Given the importance of the agenda and the role that healthcare staff have to play in protecting vulnerable people, Prevent is now part of the standard NHS contract. Any provider delivering NHS-funded services is required to ensure that Prevent is explicit within Safeguarding induction training for staff.’