NHS England has confirmed there will be a delay in the publication of the multispecialty community provider draft contract, despite leading vanguard sites progressing with procurement for their MCP providers.

A draft version of the MCP contract, previously referred to as a voluntary contract option for GPs, was due to be published by the end of September 2016 but has been delayed to allow the national commissioning body “more time to engage with people”.

An NHS England spokesman said the final contract will still be published in early 2017.

The delay comes despite some leading vanguard sites proceeding with their procurement plans for their MCP contract.

As HSJ reported yesterday, Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group has published details of the intended procurement process and service scope for its MCP. However, the CCG has said it will not finalise some of the details of the process until the national contract is established.

In July, NHS England published a framework for its MCP care models, which described a new contract option for GPs that would allow their practice to become “fully integrated” with an MCP.

Under this option GPs would exchange their original general medical services contract for the new voluntary contract, described as “a hybrid” of the standard NHS contract and a contract for primary medical services.

The framework also described a “partially integrated” option where GPs could retain their GMS contracts alongside the new MCP contract.

A spokesman from NHS England said: “We will shortly be sharing a working draft of the contract with the vanguards we’ve been liaising closely with over the last six months. The draft will be made available more widely late this year. This slight adjustment to the original timetable will give us more time to engage with people, especially those likely to use it early. The final contract will still be published early 2017.”