• Government publishes the long term plan for the NHS

    7 January 2019

    The much anticipated long term plan is out. Entitled simply the NHS Long Term Plan, the document is a 134 page list of priorities for the next decade.

    As expected, the document has a lot to say about prevention and self-care and restates long-running ambitions to see more care provided out of hospital. The plan also underlines the determination to accelerate the development of integrated care systems (ICS): all areas of the country are expected to implement ICS within two years. It also sets ambitious timescales for primary care networks (PCN) – clusters of general practice and other services covering local populations of 30,000-50,000 – with the expectation that all practices will be part of a PCN by April this year. GP network contracts will be used alongside existing GMS contracts to incentivise practices to provide services collaboratively.

    NHS England is emphasising that while the long term plan is an “important milestone”, the job of turning it into detailed operational plans will fall to CCGs and other local organisations.

    The document, along with other resources, can be read at www.longtermplan.nhs.uk.

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  • What the preparatory planning guidance means for primary care

    3 January 2019

    NHE England and NHS Improvement published ‘preparatory’ guidance in late December to encourage commissioners to get local planning under way. It doesn’t provide much new information and with CCGs still awaiting 2019/20 budget allocations most are likely to wait a bit longer for the “full guidance” due this month. The preparatory guidance is useful mainly for its calendar of planning deadlines that CCGs will be expected to hit and for the clues it contains about the direction of national policy. In this brief summary of the guidance and what it’s likely to mean for primary care we see renewed emphasis on cooperation at system level to develop integrated care systems (ICS), and increased pressure on commissioners to nurture the primary care networks that will be building blocks of ICS.

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  • NHS payments to general practice

    21 December 2018

    NHS Digital has published its annual report on payments to general practice for 2017/18.

    The report provides details on payments to providers of general practice services in England in the past financial year.

    It includes a breakdown of payments made through the global sum, balance of Primary Medical Services (PMS) expenditure, quality and outcomes framework (QOF) and enhanced services, including an estimate of how much the NHS paid by registered patient in England.

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  • Clarity, openness and trust: Avoiding contract disputes

    4 December 2018

    Contract disputes are stressful, demoralising, counterproductive and a waste of resources. Commissioners and contractors both need to know what to do to avoid them.

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  • Practice managers – now with PM approval

    4 December 2018

    Announcing the NHS long term funding settlement in June, no less a figure than the prime minister namechecked practice managers as among those who can transform patient care and ensure a sustainable service.

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