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The GPC England executive team kicked off the GPC contract roadshows last week and it would be fair to say that interest in the changes this year is significant. And not surprisingly, the topic which generated a lot of discussion has been PCNs. Our webinar last week (for LMCs and GP reps) also featured many questions about PCNs and how LMCs can support practices to engage with the PCN DES and ensure that their areas are covered fully.
Let’s therefore start with what is usually the easiest thing, but unfortunately can often be the most difficult – how do practices work together? Plain and simple, this will be down to local relationships between practices and also between LMCs and the CCGs. Many practices are working successfully in collaborative relationships already, and they have been for years! However, where there are difficulties in agreeing on a working relationship with your colleagues, flag this with the LMC as soon as possible. Just to be clear, there isn’t a magic solution that the LMC has in resolving this. But they are experts in resolving problems and will be happy to work with you to consider what this contract and the PCN DES brings to your practice and to your region and help you find common ground with those around you. LMCs are ideally placed to take up these conversations on behalf of the practices, not just because of the democratic mandate that they have that is recognised in statute, but also because of more than a 100-year history of corporate memory and local knowledge for which there is no substitute.
It may not be easy, and it could mean making some difficult decisions, moving beyond historical differences, and in the interests of your patients, your staff and your practices, starting to work in a way that improves the state of general practice in your area. LMCs, working with CCGs will support you to get there, but the practices have to walk the walk and LMCs are there to help you in the journey – as a confidant, and your ally.
Those of you who are already in collaborative setups in your respective regions, please don’t be led to believe that you have no option but to remain in these setups. The PCN DES is different to what has gone on before and whilst some of these structures may help you realise the benefits of being in a PCN, this is for you as a practice to decide and seek support from your LMC to make sure that you have your say. We are hearing nationally about CCGs trying to support practices do just that in many places. There are however some areas where we are already hearing that some CCGs are dictating terms on what the foot print for PCNs should look like. I would urge you to refer to the guidance before you pay attention to these messages.
LMCs know how to work well with commissioners and have frequently been in situations where they disagree with them when the commissioners have a different perspective on things. The representative function of the LMCs rely on practices being clear about what they need and work with the LMC to improve general practice locally. This is what we need to build on.
Richard, Mark, Farah and I will be continuing to do a large number of GPC England contract roadshows, hosted by LMCs in the coming weeks explaining the details of the contract. Please do come and attend these and share your thoughts with us.
In the next few weeks, we will add more blogs on the following topics:
So, if I may leave you with one message and one action for this week:
Krishna Kasaraneni is a member of GPC executive
Very informative, thanks for posting.
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