This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

NHS England: PCNs must succeed or face 'being salaried to other NHS providers'

NHS England has said the networks that come into being today will have to succeed in convincing a new generation of GPs to go into partnerships or face becoming 'salaried to other NHS providers'. 

A paper for the NHS England board meeting last week said that the implementation of networks have given the independent contractor model a 'major shot in the arm'.

But it added is was the responsibility of PCNs to either 'take responsibility for securing a new generation of partners, or by default (rather than choice) become salaried to other NHS providers'. 

GP leaders said that suggesting the survival of the partnership model is now the responsibility of PCNs is a 'false premise' and warned about the risks of having independent contractors 'swallowed up' by larger providers.

The document states: 'Looking ahead to 2023/24, our ambition is that PCNs will have done five things: (i) stabilised the GP partnership model. Through the network contract, we have given the independent contractor model a major shot in the arm.

'It is now down to PCNs to decide their own long-term future: take responsibility for securing a new generation of partners, or by default (rather than choice) become salaried to other NHS providers.'

Other expectations for PCNs include: 

  • Help solve the capacity gap and improve skill-mix by growing the wider workforce by over 20,000 wholly additional staff;
  • Become a proven platform for further local NHS investment, including in premises;
  • Dissolve the divide between primary and community care;
  • Achieve clear quantified impact for patients and the wider NHS once completing the previous duties.

Londonwide LMCs chief executive Dr Michelle Drage said that the networks should not bear the responsibility for saving the partnership model.

She said: 'The additional investment via the network contract provides useful support, but it is a false premise to suggest that the survival of the partnership model is now the responsibility of PCNs and their member practices.

'There is much more that the Department of Health and Social Care can do to alleviate the bureaucratic burden on partners, reduce financial uncertainty, support struggling practices and encourage proportionate regulation. If independent contractors were to be swallowed up by larger providers, the Government would rapidly realise that it has lost a service which provides unprecedented quality of care for patients and value for money to taxpayers.'

Dr Farzana Hussain, a GP partner in Newham, said: 'I agree with NHS England's view and believe that PCNs will give the partnership model a chance to not only survive but also thrive. However, its important to recognize that taking responsibility for and growing a new generation of partners will require time, new skills of collaborative team  working and much effort. 

'Making partnerships an attractive option for younger colleagues remains a challenge with the current workload issues faced in primary care and the lack of training that GP trainees have in the curriculum to enable them to be partnership ready.'

She added: 'I remain optimistic that this is achievable but requires specific funding for training and education. The requirement to deliver increasing number of services over the next five years and embed new health professional roles in networks may be a distraction to this vital work. There should be an investment in the PCNs to release this time and grow the leaders and teachers who can fulfil this positive ambition.'

Related images

  • getty images 486834242 steve debenport 3x2

Readers' comments (29)

  • I honestly thought today was April 1st and not July 1st.
    In any case, DHSC and NHSE had always known the game plan with this PCN idea. The idea has just been voiced out for others to hear. Either the BMA was blindsided or our 'top doctors' could just not care less about sacrificing us to get their gongs.
    As already mentioned, less doctors are going the partnership route and with the older ones retiring, partnership model will ebb away. Just hoping we will understand our worth and not break ranks when we become salaried.....even the worst solicitor knows well enough not to undersell his services.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • hospitals are the problem; voracious appetite for resources. Everything else is small print

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • |KeepThe RedFlagFlying | Locum GP|01 Jul 2019 1:53pm

    It's all part of the "game plan" to privatise the NHS, and turn it from a "health care provider" to a "source of profit" for the rich "elite".

    - At least then, there would be competition to drive quality and affordability. As opposed to now, when it makes poorly qualified public sector officials financially and AUTHORITATIVELY rich.
    You clearly are guilty of a common problem amongst the socialists... You have no love for the poor, you simply hate the rich entrepreneur. Your politics are the politics of division (rich vs poor), whilst those of us on the Right are pointing out to everyone that what's best for the poor, is for the economy to be as free as possible with a small state.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • please-delete-this-fucking-profile-i-cant-delete-it-in-my-account-settings

    This comment has been removed

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Is this some honesty coming out of NHSE ? Looks like the conspiracy theorists are right.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The only place where the ties are more expensive than the stethoscopes and no-one looks tired.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Bring it on. Chambers for the brave, Salaried drudgery for the meek. Either way, costs will go up and productivity will go down. We have already seen this since 2004 when the motivation to "get it all done before we go to bed" changed into "ask them to call back at 6-30pm" I've done both.
    ..and still, no-one seems to understand the way we hold it all together when every one else walks away (secondary care, Social Services, Paramedics).
    ..what interesting times.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • salaried aint that good either - heading back to FT locum - or part time in reality cause earn more for less hours. its goodbye general practice and hello Babylon - except the fate of Babylonia wasn't that great either - history repeats itself

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • If our practice hands back the DES (PCN are a DES) I will be salaried to no one. This sounds like DoH revealing how little is understands GPC and GMS?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say