Summer 2019 – memorable for heated political debate, spectacular cricket … and the establishment of Primary Care Networks!
If you are a practice which occupies an NHSPS building, then you may well have received a letter from NHS England and NHS Improvement in April which encourages GPs to regularise their leasehold and service charge arrangements with NHS Property Services. The letter states that it is in the best interests of both Landlord and Tenant to have clarity and certainty on occupancy arrangements, but also threatens ‘legal recourse…where it is evident that GPs and Providers are failing to engage’.
The national template Primary Care Network Agreement has just been published by NHS England. As readers should be aware, the new Network Contract DES requires participating practices to form their PCN and submit various information by 15 May 2019. A completed ‘initial’ Network Agreement is the most substantial part of this submission and use of the national template is mandatory. The Network Agreement must then be finalised and signed by latest 30 June 2019.
Practices have, in principle, always been able to use a limited company as a business vehicle, but few have done so because it requires the consent of NHSE to migrate the core contract into the company. We’ve noticed a recent increase in the number of practices successfully persuading NHSE to provide consent, so we have set out in this blog some of the opportunities and challenges associated with running the practice through a limited company.
One of the big initiatives in the new contract is the Primary Care Network (PCN) DES. PCNs must be geographically contiguous and comprise practices with total list sizes of 30-50,000 patients. The DES will provide funding for additional resources at a network level, who will then be expected to work within the member practices. Initial funding will be for one clinical pharmacist and one social prescriber per network, and later funding streams are expected to support other types of resources such as physiotherapists, physician associates and more. The workforce and network will be led by a Clinical Director, chosen from within the GPs of each network.
Some factors which affect your ability to attract new partners and are outside of your control, such as locality; housing; access to good schools; public transport etc, but there are many things you can control. Prospective new partners will always undertake some form of assessment of your practice, and you can take steps to help ensure your partnership stands out from the crowd.
There is a tendency when new plans come out of the NHS for people to say they have seen it all before. Would this be a wise response to the Long Term Plan?
Have you checked whether your practice has an NHS Pensions liability for “final pay control”? Final pay control can involve very large sums payable to NHS Pensions by a practice. We are aware of liabilities in excess of £100,000 arising as employees and partners retire.