Primary Care Networks were established throughout England on 1st July 2019, and all PCNs should now have a signed Network Agreement and be receiving funding under the Network DES. However, in order to realise the ambitions of the NHS Long-Term Plan and maximise the opportunities that are available, PCNs will need to continue to develop.

Emerging issues for PCNs

From our work with over 100 PCNs we are aware of some of the emerging issues as they progress from “start-up” to more mature networks. These include:

  • Considering the best vehicle to use as nominated payee for the network and/or the employer of additional staff
  • Making arrangements for administrative and support services without incurring charges to VAT
  • Developing a workforce model for the additional staff that will be funded under the Network DES whilst recognising that funding is time-limited
  • Considering whether there is scope to consolidate the PCN estate in order to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness.  

How can Capsticks help?

We would be delighted to arrange an initial free telephone consultation with your network in order to understand your immediate priorities and tailor our support to meet your needs. We have developed a range of support services for PCNs, including some which we deliver with partner organisations.

Network review and assurance

We would either meet with you or send you a self-assessment questionnaire in order to assess the “business-readiness” of your network. This would enable us to carry out a desktop analysis and produce a report and develop an action plan which ensures the PCN is built on strong foundations, with appropriate arrangements in place at both practice and network level.  

Organisational form

We would carry out a review of your Network Agreement schedules, any existing contracts for the employment or engagement of network staff and any arrangements with existing federations, companies or other entities, and then hold a workshop with relevant members of your PCN to explore the issues and consider potential solutions.

Estate audit

We would carry out a review of some or all of the property arrangements across the PCN estate, in order to help you identify opportunities to increase efficiencies and mitigate against possible risks.  We are often asked to advise on how best to regularise property arrangements at practice premises owned or part owned by former partners, for example.  We have extensive experience in acting for GP practices in occupation of premises owned by private sector landlords, retired GPs, NHS organisations and others, as well as acting on larger new developments.

Patient and public engagement

Public engagement is a key element in effective population health management. We can work with your network to understand the key legal and practical requirements for effective engagement, and develop materials for communicating with your patients about the PCN’s plans and any proposed service changes. 

Data sharing and data processing agreements

Data sharing and processing agreements will be an essential component of PCNs in order to allow all parts of the Network to access necessary data for the purposes of population health management and the management and supervision of network staff. We can review your existing information governance arrangements and prepare bespoke agreements to enable you to utilise the necessary data in a legally-compliant and practical way.

Partnership Deeds and Declarations of Trust

We can work with each practice within your Network to review their “housekeeping” documents so as to ensure each practice has a valid and effective Partnership Deed and Declaration of Trust in place.  Having a partnership deed in place will protect the stability of each practice in the Network and can save time and money. Our advice is that every GP practice needs to have a current and effective partnership deed in place.

We offer a bespoke service and will tailor the Deed to ensure it meets your actual business requirements.

For more information about how we can help you, please contact Peter Edwards, Sam Hopkins, or Neha Shah.