The planned transfer of CCG-commissioned extended access services to PCNs will now be postponed by a further six months, until October 2022, NHS England has said.
Commissioners should ‘ensure that they make the necessary arrangements to extend existing services’ until the new deadline, it said.
The announcement is the second delay to the transfer, with plans for wider CCG-commissioned extended access service to become part of the Network DES to be implemented originally by April 2021.
In January 2021, Dr Nikita Kanani, medical director for primary care, confirmed the plans and the associated transfer of funding would be delayed until April 2022.
This is part of plans to transfer CCGs’ commissioning powers, with the Department of Health and Social Care recently confirming CCG functions would be taken over by ICSs next year.
In its announcement, published yesterday (14 October), NHSE said that the postponement would prevent PCNs diverting their resources away from clinical capacity to admin.
It clarified: ‘This also allows more time for PCNs to explore how best to unlock synergies with in-hours services at practice level, as well as consider the option of collaborative working at larger scale than individual PCN footprints.’
However, it added that in cases where a PCN can ‘demonstrate its readiness’, commissioners are encouraged to make local arrangements for a transition of services before the new deadline.
These measures come as part of a £250m ‘package of support’ for general practice announced yesterday, which aims to ‘increase the proportion of appointments delivered face to face’.
A version of this article was first published by Pulse’s sister title Healthcare Leader