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The publication of the PCN agreement is only a couple of weeks away and colleagues across the country have been sharing their thoughts with us about the challenges and opportunities that PCNs bring to general practice and GPs. There are still many unanswered questions for colleagues and with any change it is inevitable that there will be concerns about how these changes will impact you personally and where you can get the support you need.
So, here it is - Today, the BMA has launched the support package for setting up PCNs, starting with The primary care handbook, which offers guidance, considerations and options for all PCNs and practices in the country. The handbook includes detailed guidance on:
This handbook will help you get ready for the roll out of PCNs on 1 July this year. But this is not the only support the BMA is going to provide for you. Over the coming weeks, we will release a suite of BMA resources, which will provide you with tools, training and support to guide you through the process of setting up a PCN. From July onward, we will be launching a BMA PCN membership offer, providing ongoing support that is tailored for your PCN.
This is a professional package built by the team that negotiated your contract and knows it best. It will include all the support that you need not just for today, but for tomorrow and beyond.
The next step is to read the Primary Care Network Handbook. It may look daunting, but offers everything you need to know before making any decisions on how your PCN is going to shape up. Get in touch with your LMC to discuss the local challenges that you face. For specialist advice on aspects of how to structure your PCN, get in touch with the BMA. While the PCN offers you a lot of control and opportunity to transform your practice, you will need the BMA to support you to make the most of the opportunity.
As I’ve said previously, if you haven’t looked through the below documents, please familiarise yourself with what the new contract offers you.
Richard, Mark, Farah and I will be continuing to do a large number of GPC 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:
Get talking with your colleagues around you. Get talking with your LMC to make sure that you get to lead this journey. Get in touch with the BMA – the national voice of your PCNs – so that you hit the ground running and make it work for you, your colleagues and your patients.
Krishna Kasaraneni is a member of GPC executive
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It is unclear how to arrange the relationship between practices in a PCN that wish to use the Federation as their umbrella organisation holding funds and employing staff. Our Federation holds an NHS contract for Extended Hours, but presumably this is not what is meant by a Primary Care contract (GMS/PMS/APMS). However, most Community and Acute Trusts do not hold these either.
Our Federation is registered with NHS pensions, and so could hold employment contracts.
But how do we set things up, to avoid practices holding liability but not incurring VAT and other complications?
Does the lead practice pass over the funds to the Fed?
What contractual status would there be between practices and the Federation if this was done?