This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pul jul aug2020 cover 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

Independents' Day

PCNs to get 100% funding for all extra clinical staff as further roles are added

Primary care networks (PCNs) will receive 100% reimbursement for all additional clinical staff – including six new roles – recruited from April 2020 under the new GP contract.

Previously, networks were able to recieve only 70% of the funding for certain clinical staff, meaning they had to make up the shortfall themselves. 

However officials have confirmed networks who have already paid the 30% extra to hire clinical staff in 2019/20 will not have this pay backdated.

They expect the money saved - which it is understood was previously being passed on from the £1.50 per head contribution from CCGs - to be used to support clinical directors instead.

The announcement comes as the BMA yesterday secured an updated GP contract with NHS England.

Under the five-year contract announced last year, networks were to receive 70% of the funding to employ a pharmacist, a paramedic, a physiotherapist and a physician associate, and 100% of the funding for a hiring social prescriber, by 2023/24.

Six more roles will now be added to the scheme from April ‘at the request of PCN clinical directors’ - pharmacy technicians, care co-ordinators, health coaches, dietitians, podiatrists and occupational therapists.

PCNs can choose to recruit from the expanded list to ‘make up the workforce they need’, the contract said.

The document added that mental health professionals, including Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) therapists, will be added from April 2021 following current pilots.

NHS England will also explore the feasibility of adding advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) to the scheme.

Reimbursement for the additional staff will increase from the current 70% to 100% for all roles from April – expanding the scheme by 6,000 to 26,000 extra staff funded by the Government.

For the ‘average’ PCN this equates to around seven full-time equivalent (FTE) staff through an average reimbursement pot of £344,000 in 2020/21, rising to 20 FTE staff funded by £1.13 million in 2023/24, according to NHS England.

However, the updated scheme reflects increased flexibility, with each PCN allocated a single combined maximum reimbursement sum based on its weighted population share from April 2020/21.

The move to 100% reimbursement is designed to ‘free up’ the £1.50/head funding that CCGs have been required to contribute to networks - which it was believed was being used to pay for the extra 30% towards clinical role salaries.

Instead, this money will now be used to support clinical directors, by 'increasing the contribution to clinical director time by almost 50%'.

Recruitment of the 26,000 additional roles is a ‘top priority’ and PCNs are ‘encouraged to take immediate action’ with the support of their CCG – for example through collective or batch recruitment – the contract added.

PCNs must indicate the number of each additional reimbursable roles they intend to recruit and by when they plan to do so to their CCG by 30 June 2020.

Lancashire and Cumbria LMCs chief executive Peter Higgins said the 100% reimbursement fee was a 'real deal-maker'.

He said: 'That 30% contribution was impossible for a lot of health communities. Neither the practices had the money nor the CCGs, so this will make a real difference.

'There's more flexibility now and less bureaucracy and that really should help.'

Readers' comments (8)

  • Thanks but no thanks. All the HR risks, sapping managers, partner's time, sickness, tribunal risks etc. We are already busy enough. I am sure they are recycling money while making you do more work plus more form filling or adding targets.
    A lot of clinical directors are taking the money but due to circumstances, lack of time and a lack of direction not really achieving much.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • For the first year who is left holding the babies after that , pathetic.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Why should GPs be responsible for employing podiatrists, OTs, dietitians, etc? Which part of "over-whelmed with work doing our own job" and "leaving in droves" is failing to get through. Extra money to spend as we wish or don't bother. This is merely an attempt to force GPs to take on additional work to fulfill someone else's vision of primary care rather than supporting practices (which was what drew us in).

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Vinci Ho

    The problem is the burden on the CDs . The only alternative thinking is each CD might want to employ a personal assistant (PA) to deal these complexities of the contract , HR issues and bureaucracy while many CDs ( like me) are still actively doing good number of clinical sessions every week in the frontline.
    Time is a more valuable resource than money thrown to us ....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • As soon as collaboration between PCNs allowed, all this work can be transferred back to the local networks that were being set up to provide the delivery of services that CCGs were told they could not provide vs merely commission. The PCNs can then merge together for efficiency back to a sensible unit size of ~300,000 patients and then merge again to large clusters as has happened to PCTs and RHA before those. The great wheel of repeating the same subdivision into small area teams to then economies of scale & negotiating power back into large regional teams continues. This will only increase burden on GP partners which becomes ever less attractive. The BMA/GPC do not represent us, as they sycophantically line up GPs for mass resignation / enforced take-over of general practice by local bodies with only salaried doctors, and this then ripe for post-Brexit UK-USA trade deal of mass takeover by American Healthcare Organizations. Why are we shooting ourselves in the foot, as well as loading the breaches having manufactured the shotguns ?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Very perceptive of Dr Ruben above. Why can't other GPs see this? There seems to be a complete abscence of the usual guild protections a profession would be interested in guarding as regards GPs in their contract negotiations. You don't see Dentists lamenting the realtive shortage of their members. They just close their NHS list. You don't see them training up 'other members of the practice team' to do their work. This PCN malarky is really short sited and self defeating.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I’m nervous about the ongoing funding. This contract is for a year. It’s very difficult making decisions with only a 12 month forecast. Potential next year, monies withdrawn and you’re then left with redundancy settlements etc.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • just say no!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say