• Tara Humphrey

An Introduction to Primary Care Network Enhanced Access

Updated: Jul 14

This blog aims to provide new Primary Care Network Managers and administrators with an introduction to enhanced access, which is a service requirement within the 2022/23 PCN DES.


In this blog, you will find a brief introduction to enhanced access;

  1. Finances

  2. Service criteria

  3. Timeframes we should be working to


This blog will also present 4 key next steps to aid implementing the PCN enhanced access service.


This blog will NOT provide you with the details of the specification or the answers to technical questions.

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to keep our blogs up to date and the information presented reflects our knowledge at the time of publishing.



Getting Started

The links below provide background reading and guidance to help you better understand the enhanced access key requirements.


Introduction

In the Primary Care Networks (PCN) 2022/23 Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service (DES), PCNs are required to offer patients a new 'enhanced access' model of care, which will see GP practices providing additional services to their population.

Enhanced access will need to be provided between 6:30 pm and 8:00 pm Mondays to Fridays and between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm on Saturdays.

However, by exception, the commissioner may also agree that a proportion of the minutes may be provided during core hours, where it can be demonstrated that such additional appointments would better meet the needs of the PCN's patients.

This is a great opportunity for patients but potentially very challenging to some Primary Care Networks and general practices, which may already feel under pressure to deliver more when their workforce is already working to the max.


Finances


The new Enhanced Access service brings together the current £1.44 per patient extended hours funding and the current £6 per head Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)-commissioned extended access services totalling £7.44.


(The current £6 per head may be known in some areas as improved access).

The funding will be paid to PCNs based on the PCN-adjusted population, and PCNs may check their funding via the updated 2022/23 GP contract ready reckoner.


IMPORTANT. The Enhanced Access funding from 1st October 2022 to 31st March 2023 is £3.764 in the NHS Ready Reckoner because it's adjusted for half the year's reimbursement. From April 2023, the reimbursement goes up to the total of £7.44.

For those of you using the GP Rota tool, the tool does not account for £3.764 adjustment at the time of publishing (as far as I can see).


Service Criteria


Enhanced access will need to be provided between 6:30 pm and 8:00 pm Mondays to Fridays and between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm on Saturdays.


Clinical appointments must satisfy specific criteria found in the 2022/23 – primary care network requirements and entitlements (Go to page 43).


PLEASE READ THE DES AND THE PLANNING GUIDANCE TEMPLATE FOUND ON NHS FUTURES.


Time Frames


  • The national deadline to submit your plan to your local primary care team is 31st July.

  • The go-live date is 1st October 2022.


Next Steps




Step 1

Before scoping the current provision, you will need to understand how your PCN manages the current extended access criteria. Speak to your practice managers.

Step 2

Your PCN leadership team will need to work through the following to understand the model for delivery.

  • What options are available to us? i.e. subcontract, one core delivery site for the PCN, the service rotates around each practice or a mixed approach?

  • What is the capacity of our current workforce? i.e. which roles and staff could deliver the service?


  • What and how the services will be provided? i.e. what are your clinical priorities, and how can these be delivered (i.e. F2F or virtual?)

  • Patient engagement. What do we need to ask our patients, and what method of communication are we going to use? Examples of patient questionnaires can be found on the NHS Futures website.


  • What is the site availability? i.e. which location(s) can we use, and how much will this cost?


  • Service and contract management and administration. I.e. who is going to manage the service? How easy will this be to implement? Can your federation support you?


Please note, that this will likely take a series of meetings to build a consensus.

Before answering the basic questions above, do not jump into the detailed planning document.


Step 3

Complete the planning guidance document found on NHS futures.


Step 4

Start implementing.

If you are subcontracting the service, you will need to support your subcontractor and ensure your communication is consistent and clear so everyone knows what is going on.

I hope this helps!



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I'm Tara; I am the founder of THC Primary Care, an award-winning healthcare consultancy specialising in Primary Care Network Management and the host of the Business of Healthcare Podcast.


I have over 20 years of project management and business development experience across the private and public sectors.


I have managed teams across multiple sites and countries; I have an MBA in Leadership and Management in Healthcare, I'm published in the London Journal of Primary Care, and I am the author of over 245 blogs.


I have 3 children. My eldest has Asthma, my middle child has a kidney condition called Nephrotic Syndrome, and my youngest daughter has Type 1 Diabetes, so outside of work, healthcare plays a huge role in my life.


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