SIFT stands for “Service Increment for Teaching” and is NHS funding to offset the costs to the NHS of providing teaching to undergraduate medical (and dental) students, primarily through clinical placements. It covers both block grants to Acute/MH Trusts and sessional payments to GP practices.
Payments for teaching provided by GPs are made in accordance with a schedule of rates agreed between the Medical School and tHealth Education North West London. Payments are processed in the Medical School by the SIFT team – see Contacts below.
The overriding principle governing SIFT payments is that they are made to the institution and not the individual. So for GPs this means that payments go to the practice not to individual GPs. As you will see below there are occasional exceptions made to this rule, but only in very particular situations and they hugely increase the administrative burden for all involved.
The rationale behind the SIFT funding is that it is to compensate the practice for the loss of service incurred through teaching. The practice can use the funding in whichever way they consider most appropriate to facilitate the teaching and compensate the practice, e.g. to contribute towards locum cover. SIFT payments are normally made to practice accounts on receipt of a signed claim form. The framework for these arrangements is governed by the SIFT Contract. The contract sets out the responsibilities of each party in respect of the teaching provided for quality assurance, health and safety and insurance purposes.
If you are new to teaching on the Imperial College undergraduate medicine course and your practice does not currently have a SIFT Contract with the College, then we will need you to complete a form providing details of your practice and practice account so that we can set it up on our finance system. In addition, we will issue a SIFT Contract for your practice to sign detailing the conditions for receipt of SIFT payments. You then need to complete, sign and submit claim forms (provided by the College) for the sessions of teaching or related activities you undertake to generate payments to your practice.
If your practice has not been involved in teaching for a while then we will ask you to complete an information form as well so that we can check that the details we hold are still current.
The College has a 30-day payment policy from receipt of the claim form. The money is normally transferred directly to the practice account through the BACS system. A remittance advice note is sent by email for your information. This will include the invoice/payment code. We will normally allocate a payment code so that you can trace which teaching session the payment relates to. A practice can elect to use their own invoice code. This should be clearly stated on the claim form and be no more than 8 characters in length. For finance/audit purposes, invoice codes are assumed to be unique for each payment therefore we can't have the same invoice code for each payment.
The above procedure applies to all teaching within the practice to ensure that it is covered by the provisions of the SIFT Contract. This includes teaching by sessional or locum GPs within the practice. Usually such teaching is undertaken as part of the doctor's normal hours of work within the practice, and the money therefor goes into the general practice income. however, you may make whatever local arrangements suit you best and it is up to the practice and the individual doctor to come to any arrangement about how the funding will be distributed.
For GPs involved in teaching sessions taking place within the Medical School the same arrangements of paying through the practice normally apply. However, in exceptional cases payments can be made to an individual GP, usually in instances where a GP is not attached to a practice and has registered self-employment status. There are complex regulations from HM Revenue & Customs which we have to comply with before making payments and we therefore avoid this route wherever possible. However, if you think this applies to you, please contact us so that we can discuss your situation and make the necessary arrangements. We will need details as to your employment status with proof of self-employment.
The payment procedure is as follows:
- If your sessional teaching commitments for the Medical School are going to attract payments in excess of £1000 in the current tax year, we will need to raise a Consultance Agreement between Imperial College and yourself, which both parties will need to sign. This is for audit and legal purposes.
- You shall submit an invoice to Imperial within 30 days of the completion of the Services setting out the Services that you have provided and the amount of the fee payable.
- An invoice template is available on request together with a list of the sessional teaching payment rates.
- The College's payment terms are 30 days from the date of the invoice and the preferred method of payment is by BACS transfer. Remittance advice notes are emailed to payment recipients with the invoice number reference for easy identification of the payment.
- Invoices should never be sent directly to the College's Finance Office, they must always be submitted to the SIFT Office at the Charing Cross Campus.
Payments are administered by the SIFT team which is part of the Faculty Education Office (Medicine) based at Charing Cross. We are always happy to help with queries and advise on progress of claims. The members of the team are:
Miss Carla Weekes, Clinical Education Finance Manager (SIFT)
Manager for the SIFT office
Ms Fiona Amphlett, Clinical Education Finance Assistant (SIFT)
Contact for queries relating to GP payments