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Understanding the New Capacity and Access Improvement Payment 2023/24 Guidance for PCN Managers

Today, new guidance on Capacity and Access Payment (CAP) has been released. Aimed at Primary Care Networks (PCN) managers and member practices, the guidance outlines the payment and payment-related processes that are essential to understand for the upcoming financial year. In this article, we will provide a concise overview of the key payment components and related processes outlined in the guidance.

Payment Structure: The CAP funding will be divided into two components:

  1. National Capacity and Access Support Payment: 70% of the funding (£172.2m) will be unconditionally paid to PCNs, proportionally to their Adjusted Population, in 12 equal payments over the 2023/24 financial year, averaging ~£11.5k/month/PCN.

  2. Local Capacity and Access Improvement Payment: part or all of the remaining 30% of the funding (£73.8m) will be paid to PCNs based on the commissioner's assessment of a PCN’s improvement in three areas over the course of 2023/24. The maximum a PCN could earn is £1.185 multiplied by the PCN’s Adjusted Population as of 1 January 2023.

Below is a table that summarizes the National and Local Capacity payments per PCN:

What are the three key areas of improvement?

  1. Patient experience of contact

  2. Ease of access and demand management

  3. Accuracy of recording in appointment books

What are PCNs/practices being asked to do?

PCNs and practices are asked to record all appointments in appointment books according to the agreed definition of an appointment.

  1. Sign up for the General Practice Appointment Data (GPAD) Data Provision Notice. To collect complete appointment data, PCNs need to complete a participation form giving consent to have NHS England collect the necessary data.

  2. Improve the accuracy of appointment recording by referring to existing guidance and following National Categories introduced in 2021.

  3. Improve the use of GPAD to differentiate urgent from routine appointments.

Support Available:

  1. Technical guidance will be provided by NHS England to address known data quality issues.

  2. Access to the PCN Appointments Data Dashboard will be granted to provide data quality improvement information.

  3. Support for PCNs will be provided through regional engagement teams, such as the NHS England Product Implementation and Relationship Management (PIRM) team.

  4. Regular communication and engagement will continue with PCNs and practices.

Template Available:

The guidance includes a template to be used by ICBs and PCNs for their preparatory work on access improvement in the financial year 2023/24. This template covers several aspects, including:

  1. Patient experience of contact

  2. Ease of access and demand management

  3. Accuracy of recording in appointment books

Here is the link to the full document: CAP 2023/24 Guidance

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