PCN service requirements to be phased in

Published by Will Dodds on September 13th 2021, 7:07am

PCN service requirements will be phased in over the next 18 months, NHS England has announced.

This measure will also be paired with an additional £43 million in funding to support PCN management.

Confirming the changes in a letter to GPs last month, NHS England said that from October this year, four PCN requirements would not be introduced in full, with CVD prevention and diagnosis, and tackling neighbourhood health inequalities set to begin instead.

PCNs will be given the "maximum possible time to prepare" by not being asked to start work on the personalised care service until April 2022, with the anticipatory care service to begin in September of that year.

Through the Investment and Impact Fund, PCNs will also have access to funding starting in the second half of 2021/22, before being rolled out more widely in 2022/23.

Dr Ruth Bonnington is one of five GPs at Bewick Road Surgery and told the Leaders Council that building a team capable of delivering the best service level possible comes with challenges.

"We all try to ensure that the care we provide is appropriate and individualised to each person we look after-ensuring that evidenced based care is offered in such a way that people have options that are explained appropriately and that they are supported in its delivery," she said.

"This can be very brief and light touch or require intense input. Delivering this care is best with a range of clinicians and support workers, with appropriate training, access to enough information about the client and with communication structures that are efficient and effective. There are of course challenges. The correct skill mix requires recruitment and training. In order to train there needs to be trainers and recently when asked why there were not more people willing to train, it was identified that insufficient physical space was a major issue.

"This is certainly true for our practice and other practices across our PCN. We are a teaching and training practice but could do more. We are unable to provide more training for doctors in training, nurses, paramedics or healthcare assistants as our practice is half floor area ‘expected’ for our patient and training size. We have recently had to turn down the option of having a physiotherapist on site as already we are hot desking.

"Perhaps if we had more physical space we could be more creative in the skill mix of practitioners we utilise and train. We are not the only PCN with space issues. Across the region I have heard multiple practices indicate the problem of premises and it’s negative impact on the provision of training and therefore care. If this is the ‘rate limiting’ step to further developing personalised care which we always endeavour to provide, then this national problem needs to be quantified and rapidly addressed."

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Authored By

Will Dodds
Senior Journalist
September 13th 2021, 7:07am

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