Primary Care Networks Explained

What are they?

Primary Care Networks (PCN’s) form a key building block of the NHS long-term plan. Bringing general practices together to improve their ability to:

  • recruit & retain staff
  • to manage financial & estate pressures
  • provide a wider range of services to patients
  • integrate more easily with the wider health & care system

Since July 2019 GP practices in England have come together in around 1,300 geographical networks which cover populations of approximately 30-50,000 patients.

At Whitewater Health our network incorporates Clift Surgery in Bramley & the Chineham Medical Practice and is known as 'Whitewater Loddon'

What will PCN’s do?

NHS England has significant ambitions for PCN’s, with the expectation that they will be key to delivering many of the commitments in the long-term plan and a wider range of services to patients.We will be required to deliver a set of 7 national service specifications, the first 5 by April 2020 are: 

  • structured medication reviews
  • enhanced health in care homes
  • anticipatory care (with community services)
  • personalised care
  • supporting early cancer diagnosis
  • cardiovascular disease case-finding
  • locally agreed action to tackle inequalities

To do this we will be expected to provide a wider range of primary care services to patients, involving a wider set of staff roles that might be feasible in individual practices, such as clinical pharmacists, social prescribing, physiotherapists, physician associates & paramedics, community psychiatric nurses and perhaps other counselling provision.

Examples of PCN services we already offer are:

  • Improved Access – routine appointments available in evenings & weekends
  • Extended Access – extra appointments in evenings for specific clinics such as diet advice, diabetic annual reviews and health checks

Tier 2 services such as Consultant led paediatric and gynae clinicsPCN’s will also be the footprint around which integrated community-based teams will develop. These teams will provide services to people with more complex need, providing proactive & anticipatory care close to home. This includes thinking about the wider health of our population, taking a proactive approach to managing population health & assessing the needs of the local population to identify people who would benefit from targeted support.For further information can be found at