The new Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service (DES) was announced in the recently-published Five Year GP Contract Framework. Under the DES CCGs and NHS England will offer existing and future holders of in-hours (essential) primary medical services contracts the opportunity to participate in a Primary Care Network (PCN) and receive additional funding. This includes contractors holding General Medical Services (GMS), Personal Medical Services (PMS) and Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS) contracts.

In order to be eligible for the DES, by 15 May 2019 practices must:

  • Be part of a PCN which will usually serve a population of between 30,000 and 50,000 (subject to limited exceptions)
  • Sign up to the initial Network Agreement as part of that network
  • Agree the single practice or provider that will receive funding on behalf of the PCN
  • Appoint a Clinical Director on behalf of the PCN.

Performance of the contract requirements will depend on collaborative working between all practices in a network so that all network services are delivered equally effectively across all constituent practices, and no patients are disadvantaged. Each PCN can determine its own delivery model, and this could provide for DES services to be provided through a lead practice, a local GP Federation or another organisation such as a social enterprise.

Although there will be a national template Network Agreement, practices and local commissioners will need to consider how this impacts on any existing Federations, memoranda of understanding or other collaborative arrangements. They will also need to agree the local arrangements for distributing the funding received under the DES, and the service delivery model that will apply locally.

For more information or to discuss any support that you may need in implementing the Network Contract DES please contact Peter Edwards or Neha Shah, or view further information about our GP expertise here.