Primary Care Networks

Primary Care Networks

What are Primary Care Networks?

Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are a fundamental aspect of the NHS Long Term Plan, aimed at enhancing patient care and healthcare delivery. These networks are comprised of groups of General Practices (GPs), typically serving communities ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 patients. They are designed to strike a balance between providing personalised care valued by patients and healthcare professionals and achieving operational efficiencies through collaborative efforts among General Practices and other stakeholders in the local health and social care ecosystem, including community pharmacies.

The establishment of PCNs was mandated by the NHS, requiring all General Practices (GPs) to join a network by June 2019. Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) are tasked with allocating recurring funding to support the development and sustainability of these networks.

PCNs consist of expanded neighbourhood teams composed of various healthcare professionals, such as GPs, pharmacists, district nurses, community geriatricians, dementia workers, and Allied Health Professionals like physiotherapists and podiatrists/chiropodists. Additionally, social care and voluntary sector involvement play integral roles in these networks.

Funding for Local Enhanced Services is provided by ICBs and delivered through network contracts. PCNs serve as the foundation for tailoring services to meet the specific needs of their communities, highlighting the importance of engagement from various allied health professionals.