We first learned about Primary Care Networks last summer when ‘PCN’ became the new buzzword, but what it would come to mean was unclear. When the new contract came out at the start of the year, we knew there would be a lot of changes to QOF, indemnity and this new Network DES, but we had to wait until 29th March to finally learn the full details.
Now we have all the information we need – and some tight deadlines! PCNs need to get together, come up with a name, establish their boundary, put in place a Clinical Director and complete a mandatory network agreement document ready to submit no later than 15th May. That’s a big ask!
One of the first projects the newly formed PCNs will work on will be extended hours. Yes, we’ve all known about extended hours for years, but it’s changing. It will no longer be an optional extra to sign up to or decline. As a PCN, there’s an obligation to achieve the DES across the group by 100%. That doesn’t mean that every surgery has to do the extra hours; it can be arranged within the group, in whatever way the group likes. There might be one or two larger surgeries that are happy to offer longer extended hours to make up for some smaller ones opting out. But it would need to be ensured that all the patients from all the surgeries are able to access extended hours whether their own surgery offers it or not. Also, how the PCN distributes the funding for this will be up to them. And it will be important to get that right to maintain harmony in the group!
With so much to do, we thought you might want some help, either for yourselves or the Clinical Directors. Our new PCN Start-up kit can help you to:
- Keep track of and establish all the new formalities, such as the Clinical Director’s name, the surgeries in the group, the PCN name, etc.
- Automatically populate the mandatory network agreement and the first two schedules from your information
- Map out your geographical area
- Also, a snazzy toolkit helps you to organise, distribute and prepare for devolution of funding for the Extended Hours PCN DES
Your PCN manager, Clinical Director or whoever is coordinating the early stages of engagement will be able to:
- Fill in all the sections detailing the new PCN in the first tab (i.e. surgery details, Clinical Director’s name, PCN name, meeting plans, etc.) as they are agreed and keep a record of those decisions
- Create a Word document of the Network Agreement and schedules by clicking a button once all the decisions have been made and the information is recorded in the first tab
- Save and continue completing the remaining schedules before printing and signing off, ready to send by 15th May
- Experiment with allocations of extended hours commitments to various surgeries in the Extended Hours tab. They’ll see the required hours automatically worked out from the surgery details; they can watch that change colour when they’ve allocated enough hours for the locality to hit 100%, AND it will correctly work out the percentage each surgery is committed to, to assist with sharing the funding out later on.
We hope this start-up kit will help to get the wheels in motion and ensure your new PCN is off to a good and well-organised start.
PLUS members can download the toolkit here.
Video showing how the toolkit works: