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The next few weeks are critical for the future of networks



It’s rare to see the profession so united, but these network service specifications in England seem to have managed it.

Pretty much everyone is against them. Clinical directors are resigning, LMCs are advising their members to not renew the DES, the vast majority of GPs are threatening to pull out and even the RCGP called for the whole process to be restarted.

I suspect that NHS England know they will have to change the proposals – they have already made noises around this, even before today’s deadline.

But the response has to be in tune with the profession. There was speculation that NHS England are looking to drop the ‘personalised care’ and ‘anticipatory care’ elements of the service specifications. But in comparison to the care home requirements, these are not particularly onerous.

Networks need to be allowed to sort out all the problems that already exist in general practice

What we need from NHS England now is an acknowledgement that, if networks are the future of general practice and are to be the bedrock of the NHS, then they need to be allowed to sort out all the problems that already exist in general practice – not those affecting the wider NHS.

This won’t be quick. But it can only be done if they are not having to worry about impossible impositions. ­­And if they don’t get this right, networks will be consigned to the scrapheap of failed initiatives for the profession.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at editor@pulsetoday.co.uk