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Demand and capacity test sites could receive £1.5m extra funds

Demand and capacity test sites could receive £1.5m extra funds
By Beth Gault
27 June 2024

PCNs who take part in the pilot scheme to assess general practice capacity could receive around £1.5m in additional funding.

According to a document seen by sister title Pulse PCN this funding will be given to compensate for: ‘intensive and iterative’ data collection exercises; participation in quality improvement (QI) sessions; explanation of clinical capacity; co-ordination and resourcing for multidisciplinary teams; and digital tools.

First announced last month by NHS England, the pilot scheme is running across seven ICBs, with between 15 to 20 PCNs expected to take part. The test sites will gather data over the next three years in order to understand whether interventions can make a difference to capacity.

Earlier in June, NHS England’s chief executive said the pilots would be ‘integral’ to the future of the NHS.

The document, a pitch deck to senior leaders, stated that clinical capacity funding alone could be around a ~10% uplift for PCNs, which will be delivered by January 2025.

It gave the example of a PCN with around 50,000 patients, saying they will be able to receive an extra £300,000 in additional capacity entitlements in 2024/25 (from January 2025), and £1.1m in 2025/26. Entitlements for this will vary by PCN adjusted population and will be delivered in monthly reimbursements of actual incremental costs, within the entitlement. It will be linked to the 2028/29 long term workforce plan.  

From September 2024, PCNs will also get £50k for participating as a test site in 2024/25, and £70k in 2025/26. This entitlement will vary by PCN size and will be split into monthly payments.

There will also be an interventions payment from January 2025, which will be paid on a reimbursement basis based on the agreement of interventions in QI sessions.

The potential interventions include:

  • Optimising key aspects from the primary care access recovery plan, for example supporting the uptake of the NHS App, Pharmacy First, or clearer patient comms.
  • Going further on digital and modern general practice, such as digital methods for risk stratification or repetitive process automation tools to reduce admin and workload.
  • Exploring best practices for proactive population health management.
  • Exploring best practice for care of complex or frail patients, such as resourcing multidisciplinary teams.
  • Testing the long-term workforce plan by providing capacity funding from 2028/29 plan to expand clinical capacity by 10%.

The document said these potential interventions would need to be agreed with PCNs once a baseline was established.

The seven ICBs taking part have launched a selection process which will be running until the end of July.

PCNs who are interested in taking part in the pilot will need to submit applications to their ICB by 12 July. They will need to confirm the clinical director is supportive, alongside all the senior partners in the member practices, and confirm they will sign up to the required level of data sharing and transparency for the pilot.

ICBs are expected to announce the outcomes and award the grants by the week commencing 29 July.

The document added that funding would stop when the programme closed at the end of March 2027, but that NHS England will work with ICBs to ‘manage any remaining capacity gap’ they may have.

The ICBs involved in the pilots

  • Humber and North Yorkshire
  • South Yorkshire
  • Gloucestershire
  • Somerset
  • North Central London
  • Lincolnshire
  • Suffolk and North East Essex

A version of this story was first published on our sister title Pulse PCN

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