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NHSE pushes deadlines for PCN service specs by up to 12 months

LMC generates GP letter for sending patients to A&E

NHS England has deferred its implementation deadlines for both the personalised and anticipatory care services, marking the third postponement since their introduction.

Under changes outlined in a letter sent to practices, PCNs will now be expected to deliver digitised care and support planning for care home residents by 31 March 2024, granting an additional 12 months for preparation.

NHSE similarly extended the period that PCNs have to develop their anticipatory care plans by three months, from September 2022 to December.

It also confirmed that the service itself, which will be ICS led, will start in 2023/24, rather than by October 2022 as was previously planned.

Deadline changes

Personalised care deadlines

By 31 March 2024, PCNs must work with other PCNs and their commissioner and local partners to implement digitally enabled personalised care and support planning for care home residents.

Anticipatory care deadlines

By December 2022, PCNs must agree a plan with its ICS and local partners in line with a forthcoming national model on guidance and should include detail on:

  • How to identify the population that will most benefit from proactive care
  • How to ensure necessary data sharing agreements to provide co-ordinated care
  • The minimum number to be offered anticipatory care
  • How assessment of need and care planning will be carried out and co-ordinated
  • The agreed protocol for engagement of an individual and addition to or removal from the list
  • How activity, experience and impact will be tracked and quality improved.

Source: NHS England

The original PCN contract had required GPs to deliver five of the seven PCN service specifications in 2020/21, with NHSE taking a phased approach to ‘ensure that they are deliverable as PCN workforce capacity grows, and as the wider system infrastructure develops to support them’.

However, the personalised and anticipatory care services were delayed until 2021/22 in February 2020.

In August 2021 NHSE further deferred the introduction of the services, pushing that date to 2023/24 in light of ‘the immediate pressures on general practice’.

The confirmation came as part of a series of controversial updates to the GP contract, including the plan to ensure practices in England’s PCNs open from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays from October.

Meanwhile, new BMA guidance on ‘safe working’ has encouraged practices to ‘consider’ opting out of the PCN DES, flagging whether the DES ‘enables them to offer safe and effective patient care’.