Practices are to benefit from 100 per cent reimbursement of PCN support roles, including for clinical pharmacists, NHS England and NHS Improvement have agreed in the Update to the GP contract agreement 2020/21 to 2023/24.
Reimbursement now increases from the current 70 per cent to 100 per cent for all 26,000 roles. For the average PCN in 2020/21, that means around seven Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff, through an average reimbursement pot of £344,000. This rises to 20 FTE staff and an average reimbursement pot of £1.13 million in 2023/24. The funding also frees up the existing £1.50/head to contribute to management support for PCNs. Funding entitlements increase from £257m to £430m in 2020/21 and, in 2023/24, from £891m to £1,412m.
Additional assurances made under this deal mean PCNs can recruit fully, without worry about the theoretical risk of future employment liability and redundancy costs.
To boost GP numbers, NHS England will introduce a national Mentors Scheme which offers highly experienced GPs the opportunity to mentor GPs, in return for a minimum time commitment. To boost the GP partnership model, from April 2020, there is a New to Partnership Payment. This guarantees first-time partners a £20,000 one off payment, plus £3,000 funding for business training. There will also be a review into GP pensions.
Various service-related changes are announced in the update, including a new care home premium payment worth £120 per bed per year from 30 September. The agreement also modifies the proposed requirement for fortnightly face to face care home medical input to input that is appropriate and consistent and of a frequency and form based on local clinical judgement by the PCN. By 31 July delivery plans for the new service should be agreed with community provider partners.