Primary care networks (PCN) enable the provision of proactive, accessible, coordinated and more integrated primary and community care improving outcomes for patients. They are likely to be formed around natural communities based on GP registered lists, often serving populations of around 30,000 to 50,000. Networks will be small enough to still provide the personal care valued by both patients and GPs, but large enough to have impact through deeper collaboration between practices and others in the local health (community and primary care) and social care system.
From April 2019, individual GP practices will be able to establish or join PCNs. A DES (directed enhanced service) will support the development of PCNs and will cover a number of areas, including funding for the provision of additional workforce and services that the PCN will be required to provide. They will provide a platform for providers of care being sustainable into the longer term.
The PCNs will allow for the retention of what constitutes the very best of how general practice and wider primary care currently operates, retaining and building on the national GMS contract and the partnership models in place, while finding improved ways to deliver care that offer tangible benefits and improvements to patients, clinicians and the wider primary care team. Individual practices joining the network will retain their GMS or PMS contract, with the PCN building on it and understanding that many practices have already been working collaboratively, sometimes as part of informal networks, on their own initiative.
The over-riding drivers – to bring care closer to community and connect the local primary care teams.