Network Contract DES Specification 2020 / 2021 – what it means for CCGs

We have produced a podcast about the Network Contract DES Specification 2020 which you can listen to HERE. You may wish to share it with the Clinical Directors for your PCNs.

Much remains unchanged in the new Network Contract DES Specification, but important changes that CCGs (where commissioning primary care under delegated authority) should be aware of are:

  • CCGs now have the power (after an engagement process with the LMC) to require a PCN to accept a practice as a Core Network Practice.
  • PCNs can sub-contract delivery of both clinical and non-clinical services but the prior written approval of the CCG is now expressly required for all sub-contracts of DES activity (such consent not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed).  The Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) now specifically allows PCNs to sub-contract employment of those roles.
  • CCGs must explore and endeavour to procure that the local ICS explores ways of supporting PCNs to implement their ARRS workforce plans.
  • CCGs must seek to agree with each PCN any ARR funding that will be unclaimed and may operate a bid process for any unclaimed funding.
  • CCGs must ensure that care homes are aligned to a single PCN and may allocate a care home to a PCN if agreement cannot be reached.
  • PCNs must agree with local community services and mental health providers the specifics of how they will work together (including how any joint decisions will be taken) and CCGs must use their reasonable endeavours to facilitate the agreement of these arrangements.
  • CCGs will have the final say to determine whether a PCN can expel one of its Core Network Practices and whether PCN practices can merge or split.
  • CCGs will need to enter local agreements with PCNs to ensure coverage of patients of non-participating practices.
  • Where there is a breach of the DES, CCGs can seek to agree a “collaborative action plan” with PCNs and, whilst CCGs are not expected to, it is accepted they might, ultimately, need to issue a breach or remedial notice under core primary care contracts.

There are also some important dates for CCGs to be aware of and you can view them HERE.

If you would like a more detailed extract of the key provisions of the DES Specification for CCGs, or to find out more about the DES Specification and how we can assist generally, please contact our specialist team.

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