Primary Care Networks

Primary Care Networks

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30 June 2022


Since the NHS was created in 1948, the population has grown and people are living longer. Many people are living with long-term conditions such as diabetes and heart disease or suffer with mental health issues and may need to access their local health services more often.

To meet these needs, GP practices are working together with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas in groups of practices known as primary care networks (PCNs).

PCNs build on existing primary care services and enable greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care for people close to home. Clinicians describe this as a change from reactively providing appointments to proactively caring for the people and communities they serve.

Primary Care Networks bring general practices together to work at scale and are expected to be the building blocks around which integrated care systems are built.

Geographically based, the networks are focused on service delivery, rather than on the planning and funding of services, but are in the best position to understand the population health and care needs at a grassroots level.

Primary Care Networks will have an important role to play in taking a proactive approach to managing population health and assessing the needs of their local population to identify people who would benefit from targeted, proactive support.

They also provide the opportunity to communicate and engage with patients at a local level through established channels such as websites, social media platforms and patient participation groups.

Watch this short animation that explains the concept of PCNs and how this new way of working enables health and other services to work together to provide better access for patients.

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