Primary Care Network service specifications and the Network DES: close of engagement

In December 2019, we published five draft service specifications for engagement; these followed agreement with the British Medical Association General Practitioners Committee (BMA GPC) in January 2019 that the five specifications would form part of the Network DES for 2020/21.

Huge thanks are due to the large numbers of GPs, local medical committees (LMCs) and others who have taken the time to read and respond to the drafts. This is particularly true as the engagement period was necessarily shorter than planned, driven on one side by the timing of the general election and on the other by the need to give GPs good notice of their new contracts for April 2020.

This is the first time that we have shared draft GP contract materials for open engagement. Whatever the views of respondents about the specifications, we view such widespread engagement in a debate about how primary care networks (PCNs) develop as a positive change, and a learning opportunity.

Having invited your feedback, we want to be absolutely clear that we have heard the views expressed. We will now carefully consider how to respond adequately, balancing the ambition to improve services for patients across England and the need to stabilise general practice, with what can realistically be delivered by PCNs in 2020/21.

The engagement process has closed yesterday (15 January 2020) and a process of analysing the views expressed – including via the online survey, Twitter, webinar chat rooms and direct correspondence – has already begun. A final version of the GP contract for 2020/21, including the plans on service specifications, will now be agreed as soon as possible through negotiations with the BMA GPC, informed by the engagement exercise.