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GP networks subcontract enhanced access out to private provider

GP networks subcontract enhanced access out to private provider

Private digital GP provider Livi has been contracted by 40 GP networks to help fulfil the new enhanced access requirement.

Since the start of this month, PCNs need to provide enhanced access from 6.30pm to 8pm on weekdays and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays, as mandated in the Network DES.

Livi told Pulse that the contracts, which all launched on 1 October, were with PCNs which found the demands of the new access requirements ‘challenging’.

The company did not disclose how much it charges PCNs but a spokesperson said it ‘offers more value than equivalent locum services’ because its service ‘can be scaled up and scaled down, depending on need’.

Although the exact service varies by contract, generally the company will be providing the additional hours required under the enhanced access rules, via remote consultations provided by GPs employed by Livi.

For each contract, it will be providing a certain number of clinical hours that will help them cover the time they need, the spokesperson explained.

In addition to enhanced access, some PCNs have also contracted Livi to provide additional capacity within core hours, paid for via different funding pots including winter money.

Enhanced access was among changes that were imposed on the profession as part of unilateral changes made to the contract and Network DES by NHS England earlier in the year.

Livi managing director Simon Lucas said: ‘We know meeting the new enhanced access requirements has been challenging for some PCNs, and have developed a service which scales to support practices with the extra clinical capacity to meet their needs.’

Under the DES requirements, PCNs have to provide 60 minutes’ worth of appointments per 1,000 population within the network, and these will have to be delivered within the hours stipulated.

Appointments should be bookable a minimum of two weeks in advance, and same-day appointments should also be made available.

The BMA GP Committee has received assurances from NHS England that PCNs which cannot safely meet enhanced access requirements due to ‘insufficient resourcing’ will not be penalised.

While subcontracting is allowed, GPC England said it had highlighted – with acknowledgement from NHS England – that this ‘isn’t always a viable option for every locality/region’.

In these instances, NHS England will step in to find alternative solutions with local commissioners, GPC claimed in August.

Earlier this month, Pulse PCN investigated how GP networks expect to find the capacity to provide the extra evening and weekend appointments for patients.

Meanwhile, NHS England has suggested that PCNs and ICBs should consider paid advertising to promote enhanced access if budget is available.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Patrufini Duffy 12 October, 2022 3:56 pm

You can’t make this up. Being part of a PCN you comply with your own dissolution.

Sam Tapsell 12 October, 2022 10:20 pm

I’m not sure the best way to help attract new GPs into partnership is to create flexible, well paid roles, worked from home or Airbnb via third party profiteers.
But with tax and pension there are not good financial reasons for existing GP partners to work any harder even when capacity allows.

Truth Finder 13 October, 2022 10:07 am

So true Sam. No need to work harder and get stressed as they take your money if one works harder and waste it on useless PPEs, renaming the Highway agency, more useless projects etc.