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A brief guide to PCN finance

by in Finance, Primary Care Networks (PCNs)

It’s now a couple of months since Primary Care Networks (PCNs) came into being, and by now practices will have received their first payments via Open Exeter (at the end of July). To assist your planning further, especially considering the mountains of PCN admin that’s been put on us, the Practice Index PLUS PCN finance document offers the reader guidance on the subject and gives handy links to the relevant NHS publications. This document includes the latest PCN financial advice published in August.

For now, the highlights of PCN Finance are as follows:

  • This year, PCNs can claim up to 100% of the cost of employing a Social Prescriber and 70% of the cost of employing a Clinical Pharmacist. These percentages include salary, ER NI, and pension contributions. It’s worth noting that the remaining 30% must be met by the PCN.

If the package that you offer these two employees exceeds the total amount that’s claimable (£53,492 for PCNs with <100,000 patients), then any excess will have to be met by the participating PCNs in full.

  • Pension contribution, which is 14.38% for 2019/20, will have to be borne in full by the PCNs. This will rise to 20.69% for 2020/21. Note, this year the NHS has paid the difference between the two pension rates directly to the pension’s agency on behalf of practices.
  • Many PCNs will have recruited, or be in the process of recruiting, staff to fill the two posts permitted under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS). For this inaugural year, 2019/20, the maximum amount that can be claimed by PCNs with less than 100,000 patients is £53,942.
  • One of these posts, the Social Prescriber, is reimbursable at 100% of the Agenda for Change (AfC) salary scale 6. Scale 6 starts at £30,401 to a maximum of £37,267.
  • The other post is the Clinical Pharmacist. This role is reimbursed at 70% of the AfC salary scales, which range from 7 to 8a. Scale 7 begins at £37,570 and 8a has a maximum of £50,819.

Note, if you’re lucky enough to have been employing a pharmacist under the previous Clinical Pharmacist in General Practice Scheme and wish to transfer this individual to the ARRS, then this must be done by 30th September 2019. Rules on how to effect a transfer are set out in the Network Contract DES Guidance, section 4, clause 4.4.2.1.

  • The 70% of the reimbursable amount includes ER NI and pension contributions. It’s worth noting that the remaining 30% has to be met by the PCN. If the package that you offer these two postholders exceeds the total amount claimable, then any excess will have to be met by the participating PCNs.
  • The total amount reclaimable for this current year drops by 1/9th every month the individuals are not in post, so to make the most of the available funding, PCNs will need to move quickly to capitalise on what’s on offer.
  • None of the available funding can be carried forward into the next financial year. However, from 1st April 2020, PCNs can make use of additional funding that becomes available – a maximum of £38.969 for a First Contact Physiotherapist, and £37,607 for a Physician Associate.
  • PCNs will have to wait until 2021/2022 to avail themselves of the £31,749 to employ a First Contact Paramedic.

One last consideration regarding recruitment: Should you wish to have the additional posts in place by 1st April 2020, PCNs should think about recruiting by the end of January 2020 at the latest, as any successful applicants may have to give up to three months’ notice.

PLUS members can now download the following document: Primary Care Network (PCN) financial guidance [PLUS]

We at Practice Index wish your forming PCNs all the very best for the future.

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