The new GP contract was published in early 2019 as part of the Long Term Plan. A key element of the new contract is the development of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) which will bring GP practices together with other local services – such as community, mental health, social care and the voluntary sector to look after local populations. PCNs will help to join up services at a local level, focusing on the specific needs of these local populations, with patients still accessing routine GP appointments as they do now.
What are Primary Care Networks?
PCNs build on current primary care services and enable greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care. Clinicians describe this as a change from reactively providing appointments to proactively providing care for the people and communities they serve. Where emerging PCNs are in place in parts of the country, there are clear benefits for patients and clinicians. PCNs usually have a 30-50k population and are geographically contiguous (next to or touching another). All GP practices in our area are expected to sign up to be a member of a PCN. You can read the NHS England PCN FAQs here and view the BMA PCN handbook (March 2019) here.