While most people were enjoying themselves over the festive period, GP partners in England were in a state of shock. The Network DES specifications were released on 23 December, and included some nasty gifts for practices.
Chief among them was the requirement for the PCN to provide a weekly ‘home round’ for patients in care homes. The real kicker is that this will have to be carried out by a GP at least fortnightly (or a non-existent ‘community geritrician’).
Copperfield has pointed out that this is, indeed, what you signed up for – something he has said for quite a while now. And it is true that buried in the 2019/20 contract was a few nasty surprises, including ‘enhanced care for care homes’.
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But the point is that practices were given little choice in signing up. Immediately, money from the extended hours DES was taken away from practices and put into the Network DES; it is no secret that CCGs are looking to put local enhanced services funding through networks; and the 90p per patient increase in the global sum was hardly enough to alleviate the pressures faced by practices – most of the new funding went into the Network DES.
There were very few practices that opted against the DES from the start. But I suspect that, without a radical departure from the proposals, many more will decide that they do have a choice, and will walk away from the DES.
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Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org