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NHS England has scrapped the mandatory refresher training for ‘shared decision-making’ conversations for all PCN clinical staff, days before the deadline.
Until this week, staff were expected to complete the compulsory module – announced as part of the Network DES’ personalised care service specification – by 30 September.
However, NHS England has now scrapped the mandatory training, confirming it would be removed in a letter to practices dated 26 September – just days before it was due.
It said it would update the PCN service specifications to ‘remove the personalised care requirement for all clinical staff to undertake the Personalised Care Institute’s 30-min e-learning refresher training for SDM conversations’.
The decision to cut the e-learning mandate came alongside of a suite of measures intended to free up GP time over the winter – including the deferral or retirement of several IIF indicators.
But many PCNs had already completed the training, with some clinical directors ringfencing time to complete it, thereby delaying other necessary training.
Dr Manu Agrawal, clinical director of Cannock North PCN said: ‘PCNs will either have done it or they won’t. In either case scrapping it is irrelevant.’
Dr Jeremy Carter, clinical director at Herne Bay PCN, questioned why remove the module at all ‘four days before the deadline’.
He said: ‘Presumably either PCNs have already completed this in, which case there is no time saved, or PCNs hadn’t bothered – in which case it is irrelevant.
‘This seems to be a somewhat pointless statement, and I am sure will be frustrating for those who have already done it.’
NHS England’s winter support letter – which came in the wake of the health secretary’s controversial plan for patient access – also saw £37m worth of funding reallocated towards direct support payments for improving core GP access this winter.
It also introduced a number of changes to the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS), explained here.