GP Contract Enhanced Services Primary Care Networks

Update: Network contract DES for 2020/21

NHS England has issued updates on how the Network DES requirements for 2020/21, revised to allow for the COVID-19 response, will be implemented. Although much of the new work is to be delayed, practices are encouraged to sign up for the DES as soon as possible.

NHS England announced in mid-March that some aspects of the Network contract DES would be changed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, to delay two of the new service specifications, the new Impact and Investment Fund and the deadline for submitting plans for additional roles.

More detail has now been released, including publication of the full revised Network DES specification and guidance.

Key updates include:

Service specifications

  • The Structured Medication Review service is postponed until 1 October, with this date being kept under review.
  • The contractual start date for the Early Cancer Diagnosis specification is 1 October and practices are urged to make ‘every possible effort’ to begin work on this unless COVID-19 response work intervenes.
  • The Enhanced Health in Care Homes requirements remain in place, although NHS England notes that digital technology will play an important role in delivery of the service remotely, where clinically appropriate, under the current circumstances.

Investment and Impact Fund

  • Introduction of the Investment and Impact Fund (IIF) is postponed for at least six months.
  • NHS England will recycle £16.25m of funding previously earmarked for the IIF into a PCN support funding stream – which will be paid on the basis of a PCN’s weighted population at 27 pence per weighted patient for the six-month period to 31 September 2020.
  • This equates to half the total IIF funding, except the previously anticipated payment for flu immunisations where activity was not expected to commence until September in any event.
  • The remaining IIF funding will be agreed with BMA GP Committee England later in the year as the impact of COVID-19 becomes clearer, and will be communicated to practices before 1 October.
  • Data collection to inform the IIF will continue as planned (which will help to understand the impact of COVID-19 on PCNs) and, where possible, PCN performance reported against the previously anticipated IIF metrics via the PCN dashboard. However, PCN income for at least the first six months of the year will no longer be contingent on this performance. 

Additional roles

  • NHS England says increasing general practice capacity is ‘more important than ever’
  • The Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme will continue as planned: offering 100% reimbursement of actual salary and defined on-costs, up to the maximum amounts, for ten PCN roles.
  • The requirement for PCNs to submit their workforce plans for 2020/21 is postponed until the end of August, and to submit indicative plans for 2021/22 to 2023/24 until the end of October, to ensure that PCNs can focus on their recruitment activity as a priority to build capacity. 

Source: NHS England – Primary Care Networks: Revised Network contract DES for 2020/21

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