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Should PCNs Work Towards Achieving the Impact and Investment Fund Targets?

I recently co-chaired a webinar with Ben Gowland, host of the General Practice Podcast to discuss the Primary Care Network (PCN) DES Investment and Impact Funding (IIF). I left the webinar with critical steps that could assist PCN colleagues to better utilise the fund and wanted to share 3 concepts WITH you to consider.

should pcns work towards achieving the impact and investment fund targets

What is the Impact and Investment Fund (IIF)?

The IIF is a form of investment that has been introduced as part of the amended 2020/21 1 Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service (DES). The funding will support and reward PCNs that achieve certain indicators that support the objectives set in the NHS Long-term Plan and the five-year GP contract Framework. Operating on a points system, PCNs will earn points depending on how much of the target is met between a minimum and maximum thresh hold.

Impact and Investment Fund Indicators

impact and investment fund indicators

Benefits of the Impact and Investment Fund

  1. Focus: The IIF can help your PCN to have a more structured and measurable approach to improving health and saving lives, improving quality of care for people with multiple morbidities, and helping to make the NHS more sustainable as these are the ‘triple aim’ areas in the IIF.

  2. Promoting collaboration: The IIF operates in a way that calculates achievements at network level rather than practice level. This could support your PCN to work more collaboratively by concentrating on your overall aim and vision.

  3. Additional funding: The IIF will financially reward PCNs who achieve the targets to reinvest back into the network.

Challenges of the IIF

  1. The IIF must be earned each year and is not a fixed recurring amount. This could provide some challenges for PCNs when considering how they will use the funding.

  2. A PCN that chooses not to join the IIF funding scheme may feel ostracised from PCNs who choose to do so.

  3. Working towards a point system may add further pressure to already busy and growing PCNs.

  4. Providing a non-guaranteed low financial incentive may not be sufficient to convince a PCN to change their ways of working to achieve the highest points.

4 critical steps you need to focus on to maximise the benefits of IIF

Step One: Understand your vision: To understand your vision, you must be clear on the objectives and what your PCN aims to achieve. You need to know:

  • What are the needs of your patients?

  • What are the needs of your practices?

  • What are big ideas have you been sitting on?

  • What would make a significant difference to your working day?

You need to know where you are going and why. From here, see where the indicators support your vision and what you want to achieve.

Step two: Financial planning: PCNs are growing in complexity. With PCNs hiring more staff members, more demands placed on clinical directors and the day-to-day operations of a general practice, careful financial planning should be taking place.

  • Payments for Covid-19 vaccinations

  • PCN development funding

  • Project funds

  • Core funding

  • The additional role reimbursement scheme

PCNs will be managing a substantial budget and the IFF could be a top up to some areas of work which could use some financial injection.

For more info on creating a financial plan for your network, please check out the Ockham Healthcare Blog and search for Does your PCN have a Financial Plan?

Step three: Utilising existing resources: The IIF is an opportunity for you to look at your current PCN team and decide if their role could help the network to achieve these targets without putting undue additional pressure on the network.

Are you fully utilising your social prescribing, care coordinators and pharmacists? If not, the IIF could provide a fantastic opportunity to this area of work.

I hope this blog will help provide you with some questions to help you consider if the IIF funding is the right step for your PCN.

The full Webinar can be found here.

Tara provides project and network management to Primary Care Networks and coaching support to clinical leads and has worked with 11 Training Hubs and 13 Primary Care Networks to date.

Tara has an MBA in Healthcare Leadership and Management, is published in the London Journal of Primary Care, is the author of over 190 blogs also hosts The Business of Healthcare Podcast.

Work with me and book a call today here.

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