Six months have passed since we shared the news that extended access services would be delivered by PCNs from April 2022. In that time, NHSE deferred the introduction yet again, announcing that the changes would now come into effect in October 2022.
Whilst this was not the first delay, it is widely accepted to have been the last – with PCNs being urged to prepare for the October deadline sooner rather than later.
In this post, we’ll detail what’s changing and how you can ensure smooth transition prior to deadline day.
PCNs will be subject to nine service specifications from October. This includes two deliverables previously announced for 2021/22:
… and seven more including:
Most importantly when considering workforce planning, Extended Access Services and the ARRS will require technical solutions to manage the complex changes which are due.
In short, effective October 2022, GPs must be able to offer patients pre-bookable and same-day GP appointments in the evening (after 6:30PM) and at weekend. This also includes appointments during peak times of demand including bank holidays, Easter, Christmas and New Year.
This will make workforce planning requirements even more challenging with the addition of extra hours, more staff, different pay rates, locations and more.
Additional Roles and Reimbursement Scheme
Broadly speaking, PCNs will receive additional funding for the provision of specific roles which support the most pressing requirements defined by NHSE. These roles range from clinical pharmacists to dieticians and mental health practitioners, all of whom will need to be effectively scheduled.
PCNs and Practices are encouraged to take full advantage of the ARRS funding to support them in providing vital services to their patients.
Managing staff for Extended Access and ARRS
NHSE has indicated that time is of the essence for PCNs looking to ensure that proper systems are in place to manage Extended Access and ARRS services, despite the hard deadline being 1 October 2022.
Whilst some PCNs will opt to pass funding directly to GP Federations who are currently (in receipt of this funding and) running these services, others will seek to manage operations themselves. It’s these PCNs who must ensure that robust systems are in place to manage their staff scheduling, ensuring that the funds are spent on delivery of quality services and not wasted on poor process, spreadsheets, and administration.
Extended Access services often rely on GPs and ANPs to take on shifts in addition to their regular contracted hours, most likely as extra income whilst engaging in a self-employed capacity. Without an organised system in place, it might prove difficult to gather availability, calculate staff payments and communicate with the mix of employed / self-employed teams.
We appreciate there’s a lot coming the way of PCNs and without an endless supply of administrative staff and short supply of clinical staff – a robust technology solution is needed.
RotaMaster software has been used by Extended Access services since the very first Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund services in 2013. It has been designed and evolved to help providers manage multiple hubs, clinical / non-clinical staff and so much more.
If you’d like to discuss the changes in a bit more detail with one of our team, drop us an email today and we’ll gladly walk you through.Book a demo
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