In January 2021, NHS England and the BMA England General Practitioners Committee (GPC England) agreed to defer the introduction of new PCN service requirements and the majority of new Investment and Impact Fund (IIF) incentives until at least October 2021, recognising the significant workload challenges being experienced, the planning for autumn and winter which is required, and the need to create time to embed new starters in expanding PCN teams.
NHSE have today circulated details outlining their expectations of the PCN DES for the remainder of 21/22 and 22/23.
The changes for 2021/22 will be incorporated into a revised Network Contract DES to take effect from 1 October 2021 setting out a plan for the gradual introduction of new service requirements for PCNs and confirming how PCNs will access the funding available for their activities through the IIF across the second half of 2021/22 and 2022/23.
The main implementation focus is 2022/23 rather than 2021/22, so that PCNs have the maximum possible time to prepare. Funding through voluntary incentives such as the IIF is the principal way in which NHS England will be promoting PCN service improvement goals from the Long Term Plan, reinforced by simple and concise service specifications, as outlined below. As previously set out, the IIF will be worth £150m to PCNs for 2021/22 and £225m for 2022/23. In addition, we can also confirm new funding for PCN leadership and management support, of £43m in 2021/22.
NHS England also agrees with GPC that it is primarily for PCN Clinical Directors – rather than commissioners - to ensure that use of the PCN Investment and Impact Fund meets the conditions that it is re-invested wherever possible in services and staff, for example extra GPs and practice nurses. PCNs need to know that if they achieve the goals, they can be certain that the funding will definitely follow.
The letter and accompanying annexes can be found here