General practitioners (GPs) are being encouraged to become more involved in the work of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and will be offered greater reimbursement rates to help draw up guidance and standards.

To help free up GPs to work with NICE, the Institute says it will - with immediate effect - pay up to £500 per day, or £250 for a half day where an external locum agency is used by a GP practice, and up to £350 per day or £175 for a half day for internal locum cover.

Self-employed locum GPs will be reimbursed £350 per day or £175 for a half day.

It has been commented, says NICE, that not enough GPs are sitting on the committees responsible for developing guidance, despite the “vast swathes of guidance being of great relevance to primary care, “and that the perspectives of generalists will become even more crucial to NICE in the coming months as work begins on the development of guidance on multi-morbidities.

The Department of Health has referred a set of multi-morbidities topics to NICE which include: - meeting the needs of populations with complex health problems; - the assessment, prioritisation and management of care for people with commonly-occurring multi-morbidities; and - service design of care for people with such multi-morbidities.

When Professor David Haslam, a former GP, took over as chair of NICE in April this year, he made increasing GP involvement in the work of the Institute a key priority.

“GPs, both individually and through the Royal College of General Practitioners [RCGP], have made a vital contribution to the development of our guidance, but I am passionate that we continue to find ways to make our work much more relevant to primary care,” said Prof Haslam.

“In my discussions with GPs that have been involved with us, they tell me of the mainly very positive interactions they have, and the professional development opportunities it brings, [but] they also tell me, unsurprisingly, of the enormous pressures on their time, which often presents one of the main barriers to greater involvement on our committees and groups.” In an effort to make GP involvement easier, NICE will be increasing the reimbursement rates for GP locums, with immediate effect, he said.

- NICE is currently looking for GPs to join the Clinical Commissioning Group Outcomes Indicator Set (CCG OIS) Advisory Committee.