New £43m funding for primary care leadership

Two senior leaders from NHS England have written a letter to regional primary care directors, and other primary care leaders, outlining the plans for primary care for the forthcoming year.

Ed Waller, the director of Primary Care from NHS England, and Nikki Kanani, the medical director for NHS England, co-signed the letter.

A new £43m package for Primary Care Networks (PCNs), senior leadership, and management, will be made available for 2021/22. The funding will be allocated via the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) primary medical allocation, which means more funding will be released in areas with higher levels of deprivation. NHS England has backed this funding, saying it should be used to make clinical director roles in PCNs.

For the upcoming year, the letter sets out key objectives for PCN’s to work towards:

  • Improving prevention and tackling health inequalities in the delivery of primary care
  • Supporting better patient outcomes in the community through proactive primary care
  • Supporting improved patient access to primary care services
  • Delivering better outcomes for patients on medication
  • Helping create a more sustainable NHS

Due to ongoing pressures, service requirements in general practice will be phased in gradually over the next 18 months, rather than straight away. Two new service requirements are being added this time: cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and diagnosis and tackling neighbourhood health inequalities, which will be introduced in March 2022.

Two other service requirements have been added but have also been deferred until 2022, they are anticipatory care and personalised care.

The Investment and Impact Fund (IIF) will contain £150m of funding in 2021/22 and £225m in 2022/23 and will support PCN’s with their delivery of clinical objectives, in addition to broader system-wide goals. The full details of the IIF will be laid out in full in due course.

Starting in April 2022, PCN’s will provide a single, combined extended access offer, funded through the Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service.

The changes will formally take effect from 1 October 2021.