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Primary Care Networks – what are they and what do they mean for me?

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The NHS Long Term Plan, launched nationally on 7 January 2019, sets out a number of changes for our health service, including the creation of Primary Care Networks (PCNs). Following the release of the Long Term Plan the new changes to the GP Contract were announced on 31 January 2019 in the document ‘Investment and Innovation: A Five Year Framework for GP Contract Reform to Implement the NHS Long Term Plan’. This document sets out the details of PCNs.

What are Primary Care Networks?

PCNs are groupings of general practices that serve populations of between 30,000 and 50,000 registered patients between them, enabling greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care. NHS England required all GP surgeries to become part of a network by 30 June 2019, with an initial registration date for PCNs of 15 May 2019.

NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working since the launch of the Long Term Plan on supporting GPs in Chelmsford City, Braintree District and Maldon District to form local PCNs.

Meeting the needs of our population

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, practices have begun working together and with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas in primary care networks (PCN).

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

These PCNs should allow local GP practices to work more closely with each other, with community NHS staff and other health and care organisations to offer residents better, more joined-up care. All mid Essex practices have aligned themselves into PCNs.

What do Primary Care Networks mean for patients?

PCNs started on 1 July. You may not notice a difference straight away but over time there will be more integrated working across local health and care and with district councils.

There will also be additional staff in practices over the next three years, including more Live Well Link Workers (also known as social prescribers), clinical pharmacists, physiotherapists and paramedics, to free up GP time so they can prioritise seeing patients who need their expertise and support.

PCNs are based on GP registered lists, typically serving communities of around 30,000 to 50,000 people. They should be small enough to provide the personal care valued by both patients and GPs, but large enough to have impact and economies of scale through better collaboration between practices and others in the local health and social care system.

Each PCN will have their own vision and list of priorities for their population, therefore throughout the development of PCNs, patients may notice an increase in appointments out of usual core hours. Next year there will be a number of specifications all PCNs will have to deliver on – we will update you in future editions on Engage on what these will be.

If you have any other questions, please get in contact with your GP surgery.

Which practices are in the mid Essex Primary Care Networks?

Witham 2 (Aegros Healthcare)

  • Little Waltham and Great Notley Surgeries
  • The Laurels Surgery and Sidney House
  • Douglas Grove Surgery

Braintree

  • Mount Chambers Medical Practice
  • Blandford Medical Centre
  • Blyths Meadow Surgery
  • Church Lane Surgery
  • Silver End Surgery

Colne Valley

  • Elizabeth Courtauld Surgery
  • Pump House Surgery
  • Freshford Practice
  • Hedingham Medical Centre
  • Kelvedon/Feering/Brimpton surgeries (Dickens Place Group)
  • Coggeshall Surgery

Witham 1 (Witham and Maldon)

  • Fern House Surgery
  • Witham Health Centre
  • Collingwood Road Surgery
  • Blackwater Medical Centre

Dengie and South Woodham Ferrers

  • The Burnham Surgery
  • The William Fisher Medical Centre
  • Dengie Medical Partnership
  • Trinity Medical Practice
  • Kingsway Surgery
  • Wyncroft Surgery
  • Brickfields Surgery
  • Greenwood Surgery

Phoenix

  • Beacon Health Group (Danbury, Moulsham Lodge and Mountbatten House Surgeries)
  • Longfield Medical Centre
  • Tollesbury Surgery

Chelmsford City Health

  • Beauchamp House Surgery
  • Baddow Village Surgery
  • Whitley House Surgery
  • Stock Surgery

Chelmsford West

  • Melbourne House Surgery
  • Humber Road Surgery
  • Tennyson House Surgery
  • The Writtle Surgery

Chelmer

  • North Chelmsford NHS Healthcare Centre
  • Rivermead Gate Medical Centre
  • Chelmer Village Surgery
  • Sutherland Lodge Surgery