Last reviewed 22 June 2022

NHS England has said all systems must locally commission additional capacity in order to deliver “robust” initial health checks for Ukrainian refugees.

A letter from NHS England, dated 14 June, has set out expectations and support for GP registration and the management of the initial health needs for individuals and families coming to England fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

GP practices are required to offer a consultation to new patients in the first six months of registration, but people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine may have a range of health needs that should be assessed and managed as soon as possible after their arrival.

The letter, sent to directors of primary care, said: “To ensure there is a robust approach to identifying individuals’ initial health needs (both for all current and future arrivals) we are now asking all systems to locally commission additional capacity for delivering robust initial health assessments.”

The service specification states that, although the general health needs of patients fleeing from Ukraine are considered in the same way as any other patients, there should be an uplift in service provision so that these are comprehensively captured, recognising these patients are new to the NHS, the circumstances of their arrival and the health impacts of this, including public health requirements.

The letter continued: “Given the dispersed geographical nature of arrivals, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) may wish to commission directly from general practice, or where large numbers of arrivals are anticipated, a dedicated provider to guard against impacts on local GP services.”

Commissioners are expected to cover any extra costs from these services within the inflationary uplifts already provided in allocations.

The UK Health Security Agency has issued guidance for primary care on the range of recommended health checks.