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The Network DES does not allow for PCNs to be rewarded for their outcomes, the chair of the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) has said.
Speaking at Pulse PCN’s Manchester event (16 November), Dr Caroline Taylor, who is also a GP in Calderdale, said that the NAPC would rather see the box-ticking holding-up funding ‘scrapped’.
She said this should be replaced with a system that sees practices in PCNs ‘rewarded for outcomes for patients’, with funding currently locked to the ARRS freed-up to be used elsewhere if left unspent.
Dr Taylor said: ‘The PCN DES was imposed on us. It was technically optional in that we didn’t have to opt in but you’re not going to leave that money for patients on the table. It was very prescriptive, and there is no element of trust in it: there’s no sense you can do what’s right for your patients and you’ll be rewarded.
‘What we’d like to see is practices in PCNs rewarded for outcomes, to scrap all the box-ticking currently in place and let teams work in a way they know will help patients.’
She pointed to the ARRS as a key mechanism holding back funding, highlighting ‘massive pockets’ where multidisciplinary roles cannot be filled, with practices unable to spend the excess funds on solutions that will ‘fulfil the same function for the patients’.
In July, Pulse revealed that up to 40% of funding available for the scheme went unspent in each of the first two years of the programme.
Dr Taylor said: ‘Most PCN directors would like to keep the ARRS funding pot, but be allowed to spend it on what we think would benefit our patients. Of course, we do understand that this is public money and we have to be accountable for it, but day-to-day we are interested in our patients.’