Primary Care Networks

Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan, with general practices being a part of a network, typically covering 30,000-50,000 patients. The networks will provide the structure and funding for services to be developed locally, in response to the needs of the patients they serve.

The networks will have expanded neighbourhood teams which will comprise of a range of staff such as; GPs, clinical pharmacists, district nurses, community geriatricians, dementia workers and Allied Health Professionals such as; physiotherapists and podiatrists/chiropodists, joined by social care and the voluntary sector.

Primary Care Networks (PCNs)

Primary care and community care are at the heart of the NHS Long term plan. The plan sets out an ambition for all GP practices to come together with neighbouring and associated practices to form “Primary Care Networks” (PCN) to meet the needs of local populations. 

In line with national guidance, PCNs are much more than clusters of general practice. It is about groups of practices coming together locally in partnership with community services, social care and other providers of health and care services around the needs of local patient’s.

They have been formed around natural communities based on GP registered lists, serving populations of around 30,000 to 50,000. Small enough to still provide the personal care valued by both patient’s 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. 

PCNs will also bring clear benefits, not only for wider health and care partners, but for general practices and patients too. Please see below;

  • For practices – PCNs will bring greater collaborative working, where systems and processes are always improving, where the burden of administration is reducing, and where resources are used in the best way to free up more time to spend on patient care. 
  • For patients – care will be accessed through a range of easy-to-use methods, designed and delivered to suit their needs and will include a wider range of services delivered by a multi-disciplinary team – thereby improving population health outcomes. 
  • Wider health and care partners should experience increased co-operation across organisational boundaries to allow greater collaboration of services, a more population-focused approach to decision making and resource allocation and a wider range of services in the community so patients do not have to default to the acute sector.

PCNs in South East London

South East London are very pleased to announce that we have now agreed the development of 35 PCNs across South East London and the contracts formalising these arrangements between local GP practices went live on 1st July 2019. 

As part of a PCN, GPs will be able to recruit multi-disciplinary teams, including pharmacists, physiotherapists, paramedics, physician associates and social prescribing support workers, freeing up family doctors to focus on the other patients.

In the first year of the PCN contract, the focus will be on optimising current services across the network, such as the provision of extended opening hours for local practices and the development of clinical pharmacists and social prescribing link workers. It is expected that the capability and capacity of PCNs will build over the next five years of the contract to deliver fully integrated community-based care that meets the needs of our local populations.

The table below, provides a high-level overview of the number of PCNs formed in each borough across South East London. The OHSEL website will be updated with further details, including the names of the practices making up each PCN.

Members area