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Does the New Network DES Draft Undermine the Long Term Plan for the NHS?

on Wednesday, 29 January 2020.

General practice have voiced their concerns about the new draft specifications for the Network DES.

The consultation on the new draft specifications for the Network DES closed on 15 January 2020. The response from general practice, LMCs and representative bodies has been mostly damning with claims that it risks undermining any progress made towards the goals in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Some of the main concerns relate to:

  • The lack of flexibility in the specifications which do not allow local adaptation for the range of services to be provided and how they are provided or in relation to the timescales in which they are to be delivered. The message to primary care networks about taking responsibility for services in an area is undermined when a 'one size fits all' approach is taken without regard to the needs of a local population.
  • The demands of the new specifications hindering the ability of PCNs to develop the relationships needed to ensure that the collaboration is effective.
  • The lack of additional funding to meet the additional requirements of the specifications and the lack of capacity in the workforce. There are even concerns that participating in the specifications, as drafted, could even cost practices money.

There are number of other concerns that have been voiced and last week it was reported that the BMA's GP Committee were presented with package of changes but voted not to accept. The press release stated that GPC England, NHS England and NHS Improvement will now return to negotiations with Pulse reporting that NHS England are taking the feedback and strength of feeling 'seriously'.

How Does This Impact PCNs?

With less than three months left till the proposed implementation date, PCNs will want to avoid a last minute rush to update their working arrangements. Moving into year two, it is expected that more PCNs will involve non-Core Network Practice Members in their PCN. It will be important to ensure that governance and contractual arrangements are updated reflect the intended working position post 1 April.


We have been assisting PCNs and GP Federations in developing their arrangements, if you require assistance please contact Mark Jarvis on 020 7665 0880, or complete the form below.

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