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Update - Draft PCN Specifications

Publication date: January 2020

On 16th January BMA’s England GP committee voted not to accept a revised contract agreement with NHS England and condemned the recently-published DES draft service specifications outlining what is expected of Primary Care Networks over the next four years. Since the specifications were released for consultation at the end of December, the feedback from GPs was overwhelmingly negative, with practices concerned at the levels of workload involved, especially for those networks that were struggling to recruit additional staff.

Negotiations between GPC and NHS England are continuing and a further meeting of BMA’s England GP committee will take place on 6th February to review further changes to the draft service specifications.   Revised DES service specifications will then be presented and debated at a Special Conference of English LMCs to allow GP reps from across the country to debate and consider the outcome of contract negotiations.  No date has been set for this Special conference and it is possible that the planned date of 1 April 2020 for implementation of specifications will not be met.

Humberside LMCs will attend the Special Conference and represent the views of our constituents, who have called for:

• Time to develop more capacity to address the workforce legacy before committing to additional specifications. 

• Specifications which have new supporting funding and can be delivered with the resources available in the PCN’s locality.

• A phased implementation of specifications which is achievable and commensurate with the development of supporting resources, and PCN maturity

• Meaningful and detailed consultation on any future specification proposals with a wider representative GP group and the negotiated specifications subject to a vote by the profession

• PCNs to remain focused on the wider workforce and their original ethos to move work away from GPs; GPs should not be asked to do any additional work without dedicated funding being included for this

• Future PCN DES changes to include a cost: benefit analysis for each specification, to ensure they are financially viable for practices to take up

Humberside LMCs have written to our CCGs requesting that they engage with PCNs when the agreed DES specifications are published and that they allow the LMC to contribute these discussions on behalf of constituents.   It is possible that a small minority of practices may no longer wish to participate in the DES and choose to leave their PCN, in the event that they consider that the final negotiated specifications cannot be delivered.  Whilst the LMC are committed to work with practices to ensure the sustainability of PCNs, we have asked CCGs to consider developing a shared contingency plan and set of actions in this event.  This will include setting out liabilities for additional roles already employed, for PCNs, practices and CCGs. 

Further updates will be published on the LMC website.