NHS England will review the ‘successes and lessons learned’ from primary care networks (PCNs) before the end of the five-year GP framework in 2024/25.

Announced on Tuesday as part of its primary care recovery plan, the review will also evaluate the additional roles reimbursement scheme (ARRS) to assess its options from 2024/25 onwards.

The review comes in response to Dr Claire Fuller’s Primary Care Stocktake – published last May – which envisioned primary care organised into integrated neighbourhood teams, and called for NHS England to ‘rapidly’ assess the possibility.

In this week's recovery plan, NHS England said the 2024/25 contract – which will mark both the end of the five-year framework and five years since PCNs were first introduced – is an opportunity to reflect on its successes and failures.

This will include assessing ‘alternative approaches that can work alongside the partnership model’ and opportunities to ‘better align clinical and financial responsibilities’ to allow primary care teams to reinvest savings in frontline services.

NHS England said of the recovery plan: ‘This plan is the first step to address the access challenge ahead of longer-term reforms. The other two elements of the Fuller Stocktake vision of more proactive, anticipatory and preventative care, delivered by multidisciplinary teams and integrated neighbourhood teams, remain important and can help mitigate demand.

‘Some PCNs and practices that have already implemented Modern General Practice Access are successfully working on these, helping to build the learning on what it takes to implement.’

The approach, which NHS England has named Modern General Practice Access, has three components:

  • Better digital telephony
  • Simpler online requests
  • Faster navigation, assessment and response.

It added: ‘Integrating primary care requires general practice to operate at a larger scale either as part of PCNs or at place level, and other system partners, such as community, acute and mental health services, will need to organise care more locally to integrate with primary care.’

The recovery plan also revealed that a national Pharmacy First service would be launched by the end of the year, as well as a £645m funding boost for community pharmacy.

A version of this article was first published on our sister publication, Pulse