Contract changes for 2021/22 announced

NHS England issued a letter on 21 January 2021 summarising changes to the GMS contract for 2021/2022. The letter makes clear that ongoing uncertainty arising from the COVID-19 pandemic means that there will need to be further changes to the contract in the course of the year.

Important issues for PCNs to be aware of include:

  • There will be an increase in ARRS funding from April as previously promised, but the additional four service specifications originally intended to be introduced from April will not be introduced for the time being;
  • The ARRS will be expanded to include paramedics (as planned), advanced practitioners and mental health practitioners (the latter to be funded as part of a joint model with community mental health providers) – requirements for these roles are annexed to the letter;
  • There will be a further opportunity (until 30 September 2021) for clinical pharmacists on the Clinical Pharmacist in General Practice scheme to transfer to PCNs;
  • There will be a phased approach to introducing new indicators for IIF funding;
  • There will be minor changes to the Structured Medication Review and Early Cancer Diagnosis services from April 2021; and
  • A new enhanced access service specification will be developed over the summer with a view to service provisions and funding transferring to PCNs by April 2022.

Other important points for practices include:

  • New QOF indicators will be introduced for vaccinations, serious mental health and cancer;
  • There will be a review of practice staff terms and conditions following which good practice guidance will be issued;
  • The core digital offer to be provided by practices is confirmed within the contract;
  • Practices implementing a “total-triage” model do not have to meet the 25% online booking requirement;
  • Patients must be able to submit key information, such as change of contact details, online;
  • The cervical screening additional service will become an essential service;
  • The requirement for patient consent in use of eRD will be removed permanently;
  • Additional requirements for timely transfer of patient records when patients move between practices will be introduced;  and
  • Changes will be introduced to clarify that digital services can be delivered from locations other than surgeries.

The full letter can be found HERE