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Trainee GP takes on clinical director role within primary care network

A trainee GP has successfully been appointed as clinical director of a primary care network, it has emerged. 

Hosting a Twitter chat on networks on 14 May, NHS England’s director of primary care Dr Nikita Kanani said she is aware of cases where a trainee, a pharmacist and locum GPs have been named clinical directors within their networks.

When the new five-year GP contract was released in January, it was widely understood that networks would be led by a single GP in a clinical leadership role, according to information released by the BMA.

However, Dr Kanani later revealed that GPs will not have to be at the helm of networks, with ‘any clinician in general practice able to take charge‘, she said.

As part of the contract, practices will be provided with extra funding to join networks, which will see groups of practices serve between 30,000 and 50,000 patients. 

All networks must appoint an accountable clinical director, who will be responsible for ensuring the delivery of local services, by 15 May. CCGs will then have until 31 May to confirm registration requirements and approve variation to GMS, PMS and APMS contracts for all networks.

Dr Kanani, said: ‘The key to successful primary care networks is the ability to work together as professionals, through trusting relationships, for the benefit of all our patients. Seeing such a diverse group of individuals being appointed as clinical directors is exciting and gives me a huge amount of optimism for the future.’

According to NHS England’s GP contract, the network clinical director will work with member practices to ‘improve the quality and effectiveness of the network services’.

The contract states: ‘Primary care network clinical directors will provide strategic and clinical leadership to help support change across primary and community health services.’

Pulse reported in March that CCGs in some areas of England have been trying to ‘manipulate’ new primary care networks to ensure they align with their own plans.

It was also reported that CCGs were trying to force practices to form networks without consideration for working relationships or GP opinions.

And this month, Pulse revealed that Babylon GP at Hand is in the process of registering as its own primary care network

Meanwhile, GP leaders warned that some practices have ‘hurriedly’ designed their networks, which might later lead to ‘contentious issues’.

Timetable for network contract DES introduction 

By 15 May: All primary care networks submit registration information to their CCG

By 31 May: CCGs confirm network coverage and approve variation to GMS, PMS and APMS contracts

Early June: NHS England and GPC England jointly work with CCGs and LMCs to resolve any issues

By 30 June: All primary care networks confirm to CCGs the network agreement has been signed by all participants before CCGs sign off all network submissions

1 Jul 2019: Network Contract DES goes live across 100% of the country

Jul 2019 to Mar 2020: National entitlements under the 2019/20 Network Contract start:

  • year 1 of the additional workforce reimbursement scheme
  • ongoing support funding for the clinical director
  • ongoing £1.50/head from CCG allocations

Apr 2020 onwards: National Network Services start under the 2020/21 Network Contract DES

Source:A five-year framework for GP contract reform to implement The NHS Long Term Plan and BMA PCN planning calendar