FALQ: Can our PCN be a limited company?

What are Primary Care Networks (PCNs) asking us? Welcome to the first article in our five part series exploring frequently asked legal questions typically asked by PCNs. 

Question 1 – Can our PCN be a limited company?

The Network Directed Enhanced Service Contract (DES) is made with individual practices. Your PCN could form as a limited company, but that company could not hold the DES directly.

Some PCNs are forming a company to provide the DES services as a subcontractor of the PCN practices. Some commentators are suggesting that PCNs will become incorporated primary care provider organisations, and therefore it is best to set up as one from the start and avoid having to transfer assets, contracts and staff at a later date.

Careful consideration needs to be given to providing NHS pensions. At the time of writing, a subcontract of DES services does not automatically confer NHS employing authority status but a company that does not have employing authority status by virtue of holding a primary care contract in its own right might be able to obtain temporary  pensions access from NHSBSA.

The longer term position on pensions access for companies providing DES services under a subcontract remains unclear.

If you would like to find out more about PCN structures and agreements and how we can assist generally, please contact our specialist team.

We have also developed a training programme on this, and other topical themes, which we would be happy to discuss with you. Download the training programme HERE.


Contact our GP advice line

Dial 020 7839 0278 and ask for the GP Advice Line.

Our team of experts can offer GPs and members of their teams up to ten minutes’ free preliminary advice with a solicitor.