The COVID-19 outbreak has presented unprecedented challenges for general practice and we are committed to doing what we can to help to support you in the important work you’re doing. We have received a number of questions about the Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service (DES) 2020/21 and so we wanted to make sure that you are fully informed and don’t miss the upcoming deadline.

First introduced in July 2019, the Network Contract DES Directions places obligations on practices and commissioners and grants various entitlements to practices. Forming part of a long-term plan of general practice contract reform, it is intended that there will be a Network Contract DES each financial year until at least 31 March 2024 with the requirements of the Network Contract DES evolving over time.

Is your primary care network enrolling in 2020/21?

If so, you are required to notify the Commissioner using the prescribed form before 31 May 2020 to ensure there is no interruption to payments made to your primary care network (PCN).

This may be straightforward if you are confirming that there are no changes to your PCN but may require additional considerations if your PCN has changed since you last submitted your registration form in 2019. So now would also be a good time to look at your Network Agreement.

Does the Network Agreement need to be aligned with how you have been operating?

The Network Contract DES 2020/21 introduces some new features for your PCN and these will need to be incorporated into your Network Agreements. For example, instead of annual re-registrations, practices are required to opt out if they no longer wish to participate or if the current DES specification has changed mid-year. The time scales for this have changed and so the termination provisions in your Network Agreement Schedules may also need to be amended to reflect this.

How can Capsticks help?

At Capsticks we dealt with the establishment of approximately 100 primary care networks, across the country in 2019 and have wide experience in dealing with updates and variations made since then. 

If you would like any further information about the updates you must make to your Network Agreement in light of the Network Contract DES 2020/21 and any additional amendments you may require as a result of how your PCN operates, please contact Neha Shah, Puja Solanki or Sam Hopkins.