Article:  Primary Care Networks

Primary Care Networks (PCNs) have been described as key building blocks to the NHS long term plan and hence will continue to play an integral part in supporting primary care managed conditions.1

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated the value and effectiveness of the PCN model as a basis for local partnership working. A significant part of the COVID-19 vaccination programme was delivered by GP practices collaborating at network level.2

PCNs (neighbourhoods) work together at an Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) level (places) and are now looking on from the COVID vaccination programme to reassess other local priorities.

PCN areas of focus as outlined by the NHS for 2021/22 and 2022/232

  1. Improving prevention and tackling health inequalities in the delivery of primary care
  2. Supporting better patient outcomes in the community through proactive primary care
  3. Supporting improved patient access to primary care services
  4. Delivering better outcomes for patients on medication
  5. Helping create a more sustainable NHS

Feedback from CCG employees indicates that PCNs are currently evaluating key areas for future focus, aligning with the PCN Direct Enhanced Services, Investment and Impact Fund (IIF), and the Quality Outcomes Framework. Some indicators across both schemes incentivise similar activity and practices may find they can make progress towards both simultaneously.

Requirements in 2022/232
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and diagnosis Requirements on PCNs to increase diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, familial hypercholesteremia and heart failure will be introduced from April 2022
Tackling neighbourhood health inequalities Continued delivery of the co-designed intervention
Anticipatory care By 30 September 2022, PCNs will be required to agree a plan for delivery of Anticipatory Care with their ICS and local partners with whom the service will be delivered jointly – in line with forthcoming national guidance
Personalised care From April 2022 there will be three areas of focus for personalised care: further expansion of social prescribing to a locally-defined cohort which are unable or unlikely to access through established routes; supporting digitised care and support planning for care home residents; and shared decision-making training.


Claire Jackson
Claire JacksonResearch Director

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