ECO4 is a government scheme to
assist poorer and vulnerable households with improving insulation and heat
solutions. Various private companies have been cold calling and direct mailing
households to identify eligible homes, this may have raised expectations.
To qualify for ECO4 as a vulnerable individual, practices are being approached
by patients to complete the application form with evidence of their medical
You should be aware this is not part of the GMS contract - GPC and GPCW have been clear that it’s not contractual work - therefore is “private work”. As with all private, non GMS work practices can choose whether to undertake this work and what fee they charge for undertaking this work.
If a GP Practice choose not to complete the paperwork, we suggest that the practice provide the patient with a print out covering a brief medical history summary to support the application in order to determine household eligibility, it does not state that there is a requirement for the ECO4 to be completed by the GP. Practices should not feel pressurised to use the NHS template letter.
If the surgery does wish to take on this private work, then the patient needs to be made aware that the form will be completed with factual clinical information and is not a confirmation of eligibility. This work must be funded - GPs are not a free service for other organisations to take advantage of. We would suggest as this is for the benefit of “low income and vulnerable households” this work (if you chose to undertake it) must be funded by the public sector organisation or those working for them. You may wish to contact them to advise them of your fee before you complete the paperwork. It however is important to note that if someone is applying on the basis of low income threshold, then they shouldn’t be needing to also apply on the grounds of health, as they already qualify.
As a point of note - other practices are charging them for this work – so the “you are the only ones who are charging” response will be inaccurate.