Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan, with all general practices being required to be in a network by June 2019, and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) being required to commit recurrent funding to develop and maintain them.
The networks will have expanded neighbourhood teams which will comprise a range of staff such as GPs, 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’.
Under the plans, all general practices will be aligned to a PCN, covering 30,000-50,000 patients, with local Enhanced services funded by CCGs and provided through the new network contracts (see below). The networks will provide the structure and funding for services to be developed locally, in response to the needs of the patients they serve. It is important that community pharmacy teams are fully involved in the work of their PCN.
PCNs are based on general practice registered lists, typically serving natural communities of around 30,000 to 50,000 patients. They should be small enough to provide the personal care valued by both patients and healthcare professionals, but large enough to have impact and economies of scale through better collaboration between general practices and others in the local health and social care system, including community pharmacies.