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LMC Advice: Primary Care Networks – What do Practices need to do?

Date published: 20/02/2019

We are sure colleagues have been involved in discussions about joining with your neighbours in Primary Care Networks (PCNs). PCNs are an important development for general practice, putting practices in charge of their own destiny in relation to collaboration.

With the vast amount of information being reeled out we thought it might be helpful to identify a few matters that may help your discussions about establishing PCNs.

First of all, PCNs are not an entirely new concept. Most practices are already working in some form of network, CHOC, federation, alliance type structure with their neighbours. What is new is that this type of structure is now going to be supported by a contractual framework.

There is significant funding attached to being part of a PCN. In future previously national and local Enhanced Services will be commissioned through PCNs. Practices that do not sign up to PCNs will not receive their share of the Network funding, and their patients will have to access the Network services through PCNs.

So, what do you have to do now?

The first thing to do is to start talking with your neighbours about forming a PCN. Your discussions might include

  • Are we already working in a hub/cluster that could become a PCN?
  • Do we want to continue in this structure or establish a new one?
  • Which practices are going to be part of the network?
  • What is the optimum population/geography for our PCN?
  • Who could be the Clinical Director?
  • Who/what is going to hold the PCN funding?

There is still a substantial amount of detail to come at the end of March 2019. However, with Network registration applications having to be submitted by 15th May 2019 there is little time to prepare, so we encourage you to start your discussions as soon as possible.

If you want to hear more about Primary Care Networks then sign up to come to the GPC Roadshow on 26th February  

Useful links:

BMA information about the contract changes: https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/committees/general-practitioners-committee/gpc-england/gp-contract-agreement-england

NHSE website with contract documentation: https://www.england.nhs.uk/gp/gpfv/investment/gp-contract/