If you're a primary care network (PCN) wanting to get a summary of the key new GP contract changes, this blog will give you a good overview of what's new and where you should focus your energy.
We know that most PCNs and primary care staff around the country are working above and beyond, and we want to simplify the new expectations in the new GP contract. We've ranked the important priorities and deadlines for PCNs to focus on right now.
We ranked them by how financially beneficial they are to the PCN vs how much time you'd need to invest to meet each deadline. PCNs must action the first of these three priorities by 12th May 2023.
What were the significant changes in the 2023/24 GP contract
Investment and Impact Fund (IIF) has seen a reduction of maximum points a PCN can earn from 989 points to 262, with the value of points also being reduced to £198 from £200.
To achieve maximum points, there are now just five core indicators which all focus on key national priorities:
- Two indicators focus on flu vaccinations (worth 133 points in total)
- Learning disability checks (worth 36 points)
- Early cancer diagnosis (worth 22 points)
- A two-week access indicator (worth 71 points)
The funding for these five indicators is worth £59 million, whereas the remaining £246 million budget has been allocated to improving patient experience.
Improving patient experience in the new GP contract focuses on a patient's experience contacting their practice, response time and if they're seen within an appropriate time.
Reduction of target indicators
It's important to note that although the number of target indicators has reduced, the requirements have stayed within the core Direct Enhanced Services (DES) contract that all PCNs must meet.
This means that aspects such as Structured Medication reviews (SMRs) and Cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention are still an expectation that PCNs need to fulfil, but there's no longer a financial bonus incentive.
The method of extracting and monitoring SMR and CVD prevention data will be the same as the last financial year. To do this, commissioners will use the GP Extraction Service (GPES) and, therefore will likely compare this year's achievements to 2022/23. We'll have more on this in the following weeks!
The good news for PCNs is that with fewer indicators, 70% of the budget is now unconditional and will be paid monthly. This will give PCNs more flexibility over how they utilise funding.
This still leaves 30% conditional funding that needs to be worked towards. This is how we'd approach key priorities.
Our top three priorities for PCNs in 2023
1. Local Capacity and Access Improvement Plan - deadline 12 May 2023
As a PCN, you must begin measuring your practice's baseline metrics and submit an improvement plan to commissioners. You should start working on this plan now.
Creating a plan promptly will give you as much time as possible to execute it. Remember, the keyword in the GP Contracts here is "improvement", so submitting baseline data will be as essential to demonstrate your improvement.
This plan should focus on how you aim to improve capacity and access, look at where you are now and how you can improve.
Here's our summary of the key aspects of the Capacity and Access Improvement Plan:
2. ARRS recruitment
Getting on top of ARRS recruitment as quickly as possible is essential for several reasons.
Firstly, the underspend (or unclaimed funding) has been around 40% in the first two years. This year's underspend will be lost from primary care and will instead given back to the Treasury, according to the Department of Health.
Secondly, PCNs are expected to submit a workforce plan in September 2023 to commissioners to outline hiring plans. With each passing year, protecting your allocated funding will become harder. As a PCN, you won't be able to "bulk hire" at the end of the year to protect allocations.
If your PCN isn't utilising your ARRS budget by September 2023, other local PCNs can bid for your unclaimed funding. The PCN that wins your unclaimed funding won't be protected from April 2024 onwards.
The ideal way for Primary Care to protect the most central funding from commissioners is to ensure your PCN uses all your allocated budgets.
Sign up for our webinar to understand more about maximising the efficacy of ARRS roles.
3. Collect appointment data and make sure it’s coded correctly
As a PCN, appointment data categorisation is vital, particularly to reflect the work of any ARRS roles within your practice.
As a PCN, if you have not already, you should sign up for the General Practice Appointment Data (GPAD) Data Provision Notice to ensure that PCN work gets reflected rather than at the individual practice level.
Keep an eye out for our upcoming article, exploring and simplifying GPAD requirements for practices, PCNs, to Enhanced Access.
Supporting PCNs this year
These three priorities and deadlines are the key things we suggest PCNs should focus on now.
Creating a baseline is important because you’ll only get all of the conditional funding achievable (which makes up 30% of the IIF budget) if improvements are demonstrated across all three areas, and these improvements are maintained at a high level.
We are developing a template to help PCNs meet all three targets. We are basing this from securing ICB-funded projects and Improved Access Funding from previous financial years.
At Suvera, we’re committed to supporting Primary care and the efforts that every member of staff puts in to keep people in good health. If you’re interested in working with Suvera in future to meet the objectives above and to manage patients with long-term conditions, please get in touch.