What’s been happening in general practice
It’s an incredibly busy time for general practice and continues to be. We’ve summarised some of the key activities for easy reference.
Primary Care Networks – 2021/22 and 22/23
We are pleased to be able to set out plans for the gradual introduction of new service requirements for Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and confirm how PCNs will access the funding available for their activities through the Investment and Impact Fund (IIF) across the second half of 2021/22 and 2022/23.
Contracting and finances
- There is an extension of temporary changes to the GP contract under the pandemic regulations until 30 September 2021, they include:
- A suspension of the requirement that practices report to commissioners about the Friends and Family Test returns.
- A temporary suspension of the requirement for individual patient consent in certain circumstances, in order to encourage increased use of electronic repeat dispensing (eRD).
- A continuation of the temporary increase in the number of appointment slots that practices make available for direct booking by 111 up to 1 slot per 500 patients per day.
- We published the Primary care system development funding (SDF) and GPIT funding guidance: analysis of programmes and funding in 2021/22. This guidance outlines all the funds available to primary care via regions, systems and CCGs, including workforce growth and development, technology and practice and PCN resilience and development. This large and vital investment in primary care will help to support general practice both now, as the onus shifts to recovery, and in the future.
- Changes to Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) for 2021/22 and updated version of the QOF guidance is also available.
For all the latest contract guidance please visit our GP contract web page.
The expanded flu vaccination programme will continue this year as part of our wider winter planning when we are likely to see both influenza and COVID-19 in circulation. Alongside the usual eligible groups, all 50-64 year olds will again be offered flu vaccination. The programme is also being expanded into secondary schools up to Year 11.
We have published the two Enhanced Service Specifications for the Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Programme 2021/22. This follows the publication of the Annual Flu letter on 17 July 2021.
Growing and supporting our workforce
We have suite of interlocking GP recruitment and retention initiatives available to help support and sustain the general practice workforce. Guidance documents have been updated for 21/22 to support the continued delivery and take up of the initiatives including:
The GP Career Support Hub has been launched to further support GPs during the different stages of their career.
Workforce planning and recruitment to the primary care workforce continues to be a key priority. The national workforce planning template has been published for PCNs to submit their returns by 31 August 2021 and further supporting information to help complete the template is available on FutureNHS.
The Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) online portal provides a more effective and simple way for PCNs to claim, and CCGs to approve, reimbursement for the roles hired.
We have continued to promote the confidential #LookingAfterYouToo – coaching support which is available to all primary care staff. An offer for managers and leaders #LookingAfterYourTeam is also available for bookings.
Infection prevention and control
Public Health England’s infection prevention control (IPC) guidelines remains in place for all staff and patients in hospitals as well as GP practices. Staff, patients and visitors are expected to continue to follow social distancing rules when visiting any care setting as well as using face coverings, mask and other personal protection equipment. IPC face covering resources for NHS settings are available to download from Public Health England’s campaign resource centre.
We have written to practices and primary care networks to update on:
- Changes to the provision of routine vaccination and immunisation in general practice from 1 April 2021
We have set up a dedicated space for the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme on our FutureNHS workspace where you can access the recordings and slides from past webinars, ask any further questions and get access to key information.
For all the latest information, check out our vaccine web pages