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Tuesday 23 July 2019
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Over 30 practices still to be placed in primary care networks

Multiple practices that wanted to join a primary care network have not got their ‘PCN home’ sorted, according to the NHS.
 
The networks are due to come into force as a model on Monday (1 July) but over 30 practices that wish to join a network are still in negotiations, said NHS England.
 
NHS bosses said they ‘expect’ this number to drop to one by Monday.
 
A further 25 practices have also refused to join a network altogether, which NHS England’s director of primary care Nikita Kanani said they would ‘respect’.
 
As part of the new five-year GP contract, practices will be provided with extra funding to join networks, which will each serve between 30,000 and 50,000 patients. NHS England aimed for PCNs to cover 100% of the population.
 
As of today, there are 1,259 networks, with 83 of those below the 30,000 patient threshold. Out of those, 26 cover less than 27,000 and two under 20,000.
 
A ‘significant’ number of networks also cover above the 50,000 guideline.
 
NHS England national director for strategy and innovation Ian Dodge said: ‘We are really delighted with the levels of participation, so we think we will have only 25 practices out of nearly 7,000 that have actively decided not to take part.
 
‘We think we will be in a position whereby the time we have the conversation tomorrow [27 June] we’ll have just over 30 practices that are wanting to take part but hadn’t yet got their PCN home sorted. But we also expect that number will drop to just one come 1 July.’
 
He added: ‘And there are reasons why it can be tricky, we have come across some really hard cases. Inevitably you’ve got acrimoniously formed partnerships.’
 
Dr Kanani added: ’We’ve had to locally work through those relationships and help them understand how they can work together after decades of not working together.’
 
It comes after the BMA Annual Representative Meeting polled their members this week about whether the contract should be withdrawn ‘immediately’, which delegates voted against.
 
Earlier this year, a number of practices were reported to have ‘hurriedly’ designed their networks in order to meet the deadline.
 
This story was first published by our sister publication Pulse.