What can Primary Care Networks (PCNs) expect from the updated Network Contract DES? We set out the four main changes that came into force on 1 October 2021.

Collaboration with non-GP providers

The DES will strengthen the integrated work ties between PCNs and non-GP providers. As a PCN, you need to agree with local community service providers, mental health providers and community pharmacy providers (via the nominate Pharmacy PCN Lead) how they will work together. You should detail your arrangements with these providers in Schedule 7 of the Network Agreement.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Prevention and Diagnosis

PCNs will be required to take action on improving the:

  • diagnosis of patients with hypertension and
  • the coverage of blood pressure checks. 

Tackling Neighbourhood Health Inequalities

PCNs are required to:

  • identify and include all patients with a learning disability
  • identify and include all patients with a severe mental illness on the severe mental illness register
  • record the ethnicity of all patients registered with the PCN and
  • appoint a lead for tackling health inequalities within the PCN.

Introduction of the Leadership and Management funding

The government has announced funding in the sum of £43m. The Clinical Director in your PCN will be responsible for proposing how this payment will be used to create additional leadership and management capacity.

To facilitate the change, we recommend the following to our clients:

  • Reviewing the Network Agreement Schedules and
  • understanding and implementing the new leadership roles.

We expect that the second phase of DES (2022/23) will come into force in March 2022, and we’ll keep you updated on how the changes will affect you.

How Capsticks can help

Our primary care team has advised and supported GP clients on the establishment of our 100 PCNs across the country. This includes advising on structural options and network models, drafting a tailored and bespoke Network Agreement for each PCN and advising on workforce, employment and HR.

If you would like any further information about the actions you need to take in light of the DES 2021/22, our experts can offer you a Network Agreement Health Check to make sure you are on track. For further information, please contact Neha Shah to find out more about how Capsticks can help.