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NHS England to Rework PCN Plans – What Does It Mean for Practice Managers?

After NHS England released the draft Network Contract DES, there was a three-week consultation period in which 4,000 GPs had the chance to provide feedback. Due to criticism of the plans, NHSE confirmed they will work on an updated version of the contract package – without giving a timeframe of when it will be available.


GPs highlighted that the plans would require significant time and extra workload from themselves and other primary care staff in a time when the volume of work is on the rise. GP Online reported that ‘respondents raised concerns over the impact of metrics, included in the specifications and called for more qualitative and outcome-based measures.’

Concerns have also been raised about the issue of funding, as Beccy Baird, senior fellow at the King's Fund highlights: “Practices are expected to contribute from their core income to supplement the new roles and this is likely to equate to more than 30% of the total cost of the new staff.”

This means the funding practices will receive is insufficient to cover all the changes required by the network contract. In addition, GPs shared that the timescale to deliver and implement the plans was “unrealistic” and “too ambitious” as more time will be required for the new roles to be established.

Baird said that in order to get PCNs back on track, the “workload and capacity crisis in general practice” needs to be addressed, as well as ensuring the new staff settle in their new roles.

With this in mind, GP practice managers can expect to play a vital role in the implementation of the DES, especially in the recruitment and integration of new staff. Strong communication and preparation will be key, as the changes look set to happen at a rapid pace.

FPM will be covering the changes to the Network Contract DES as they happen and offering support for PMs in implementing the finalised plans. Stay tuned to our blog and social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for all the latest news that matters most to Practice Managers.


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