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Independents' Day

RCGP calls for extension to network DES consultation

The RCGP has warned NHS England its network service specifications must be revised so they are ‘less prescriptive, more locally relevant and realistic’ and GPs must be given more time to respond to the consultation.

In a statement from its chair, the RCGP said NHS England’s consultation period was ‘far too short to be meaningful’.

RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall said ‘serious consideration’ needed to be given to developing primary care networks (PCNs) and the services they will offer, and the proposals needed to be ‘well-informed by those working in general practice’.

NHS England released its proposals for five services – out of the seven that PCNs will be required to deliver – on 23 December, with a deadline of 15 January for feedback.

The draft proposals revealed GPs will have to carry out visits to care home patients ‘at least’ every fortnight from this September, as well as conduct structured medication reviews to all ‘identified’ patients who would most likely benefit from the service.

GPs have raised concerns about how the plans will affect practices’ ‘viability’, with one LMC advising practices not to sign this year’s network contract.

The BMA said it will take forward GPs’ concerns into its negotiations with NHS England around the final version of this year’s contract.

Professor Marshall said in the RCGP’s statement that PCNs offered an opportunity increase support to practices by facilitating collaboration and through more funding reaching frontline services.

But he added: ‘But serious consideration needs to be given to how PCNs are developed and how the services they can offer are implemented. This needs to be well-informed by those working in general practice, and the consultation period we have been given to feedback on the proposed specifications is far too short to be meaningful.’

He said: ‘PCNs are still in their infancy and should not be overloaded with work before they have had time to mature or they will fail. Networks must be given the time and space to recruit to the new roles, integrate new staff into established teams and ensure they are properly trained to work in primary care. Only then will PCNs be able to address excessive GP workload and ultimately improve the care that is being provided to patients.

‘PCNs will only succeed if practices are given the scope to do this properly. We propose that NHS England take more time to properly consult with the profession and create service specifications that are less prescriptive, more locally relevant and realistic, particularly in areas with significant deprivation.

‘This will also give PCNs the time they need to develop before being able to offer additional services, as well as trying to alleviate the current workload pressures they are facing.’

Pulse is asking GP partners to complete our own short survey on the network contract DES proposals - with participants being in with the chance of winning £100 of John Lewis vouchers.

Readers' comments (19)

  • When will the leaders understand that this whole idea of PCNs is flawed
    Why do they never talk about funding core general practice
    I’m sick and tired of all these 3 letter acronyms- PCNs, ICS/ICPs and leaders rallying behind them
    The only 3 letter acronym that is worth considering is GMS

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  • no extra time needed; the DES is toxic; agree with anonymous about GMS and core primary care needs decent funding without additional burdens

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  • i thought the RCGP were all for the 5 year plan, pcns and how it was going to save general practice - have they realised they made a BIG mistake and gave the wrong advice? are they going to apologise for getting it so wrong? of course not. i am sure the gongs will be on the way, cos thats what the RCGP is there for.
    when nothing happens and we continue to leave at the grass root level, you know, us here, the ones who actually do the work, who you gonna have left to represent?. and like NHS england is going to listen to anything you say!!!! havn't for the past 11 years.
    why don't you threaten to withdraw GPs from all PCNS and unpaid work, advise GPs only to provide services they are in the GMS contract, no obligation for us to provide anything else unless its properly funded. why not advise GPs that any training has to be paid for by the local CCG and not GPs themselves, especially any compulsary training they set.if not paid for they don't have to do it. the RCGP should state that a GP does not actually need any compulsary training to do their job either once they have passed the MRCGP. Why does the RCGP not tell CQC to back off or else?
    why not?. cause they won't get that gong if they do.

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  • The RCGP have participated in this mess they are co-conspirators the 5 year plan in partially on their shoulder thanks RCGP for nothing.why contribute to your coffers.

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  • Positive feedback on the proposals would hopefully mean they go ahead with it, practices withdraw from PCN's and the only place to then invest money would be the practices themselves? Maybe it is time to play politics ourselves?

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  • Pension consultation starts today by BMA also....

    Force through PCNs to get some trifling offer on pensions?

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  • The usual wet response from our RCGP ‘leaders’... PCN’s (the rebranded CCG’s) should be consigned to the conceptual dustbin where they belong .... but unfortunately that is just a hopeless dream.

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  • ‘He said: ‘PCNs are still in their infancy and should not be overloaded with work before they have had time to...’
    Seems he proposes to merely postpone the beatings.

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  • d in vadar, you should be our leader. Great stuff! fighting talk!

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  • The whole thing should be canned and put into the GMS contract and let us all get on with proper family medicine which is what we are the best in the world at !When will NHSE actually listen to the fact there is no more to give

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