Primary Care Networks were launched in Buckinghamshire and nationwide on 1 July – a new kind of collaboration between groups of GP practices and other community-based health and care services, which aims to benefit both patients and surgeries alike.
Across the country many GP practices are coping with unprecedented pressures due to increased workload, increased demand, an aging workforce and a shortage of GPs. At the same time, many patients today have illnesses that are being treated in hospital when care provided in the community would have better outcomes.
This is because community services such as general practice, social care, mental health and voluntary community groups are not working together as effectively as they could. Forming Primary Care Networks (PCNs) seeks to address both these issues.
A PCN is a number of practices working together, typically with a total of between 30 – 50,000 registered patients. Each network is formed of practices located near one another and together they will get significant investment for new staff in the coming years. They will effectively become a team within a team. The new staff members to be recruited, as funding is allocated in the coming years, will include clinical pharmacists, paramedics, physiotherapists, physician’s associates and social prescribers.
PCNs are also expected to provide some new services and will need to involve local community health and care services, including voluntary sector groups and patient representatives, in the design, planning and perhaps delivery of these services.
Buckinghamshire has 12 PCNs covering the population of the entire county and including all 50 of its practices. Details of the individual PCNs in Buckinghamshire, including their member practices, are available here.
Information on nominated payees for each of these PCNs can be found here.
Please click here to go to the Kings Fund website which will give you an easy to read “Primary Care Networks (PCNs) explained”.
You can also see the NHS England press release here giving the position as of 1 July 2019.