What can PCNs expect from the revised 2024/25 Network Contract DES? This insight summarises the key changes that took effect from 1 April 2024.

Integrated Neighbourhood Teams (INTs)

INTs are formed when cross-sector teams come together. This is the first time that the DES has looked at the next stage of PCN evolution. The 2024/25 Network Contract DES encourages PCNs to forge closer links between practices and the broader health and care system, partially by forming part of wider INTs.

Local Capacity and Access Improvement Payment

This is in addition to the Capacity and Access Support Payment and relates to improvements in digital telephony, simpler online requests and faster care navigation, assessment and response, which are the key components in the Delivery Plan for Recovering Access to Primary Care.

Payment will depend on the extent that the PCN and its practices have met the assessment criteria that relate to the improvements.

It is the Clinical Director’s responsibility to apply the assessment criteria and determine whether each improvement has been achieved across all practices in the PCN. This must be done prior to 31 March 2025.

The commissioner has the right to carry out a post-payment validation of a PCN’s assessment of the achievement of any improvement.

PCN Clinical Director

Clinical directors have now been given additional responsibilities:

  • ensuring the PCN effectively allocates funding and ARRS capacity
  • using the Capacity and Access Support Payment to ensure all practices within the PCN are operating the Modern General Practice Access Model
  • informing the Commissioner of PCN Delivery against the Local Capacity and Access Improvement Payment criteria
  • working with local partners to support the establishment of INTs and ensure the PCN participation within its INT.

Data, Analytics and Monitoring

The PCN must record and submit any data required by NHS England for the NHS England Workforce Collection including Additional Roles.

The PCN must appropriately code, review and update data required at least monthly and must submit the data using the entry module on the National Workforce Reporting Service.

Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS)

From within the allocated Additional Roles Reimbursement Sum, the PCN may recruit other direct patient care, non-nurse, and non-doctor Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) roles, if agreed with the commissioner as long as they satisfy certain criteria.

PCNs are able to claim 50% reimbursement for the first adult mental health practitioner (MHP) recruited, with the remaining 50% funded by the local community mental health provider.

PCNs can claim up to 100% for subsequent MHPs where there is a written agreement with the PCN’s local community mental health provider outlining this approach, the activities the MHP will support, the relevant supervision arrangements, and the commissioner supports this arrangement.

All MHP roles will be expected to support community mental health transformation initiatives and patients with complex mental health needs.

Core PCN Service Requirements

Where the practices within a PCN intend to collaboratively deliver vaccinations, they must vary their Network Agreement to include and comply with a new Schedule 8 regarding governance of the service.

A PCN must seek to improve health outcomes for its population using a data-driven approach.

A PCN should actively seek to reduce health inequalities across its Core Network Practices by working in partnership with local communities.

A PCN must contribute to the delivery of multi-disciplinary proactive care for complex patients at greatest risk of deterioration and hospital admission, as part of INTs.

A PCN should work with other PCNs and non-GP providers in the best interests of patient care.

How Capsticks can help

At Capsticks, our primary care team has dealt with the establishment of primary care networks across the country and have broad experience in dealing with updates and variations.

If you would like any further information about the updates you must make to your Network Agreement in light of the Network Contract DES 2022/23 and any additional amendments you may require as a result of how your PCN operates, please contact Neha Shah or Mark Jarvis.