Caution needed over ambitions for new primary care networks

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It is critical that primary care networks are not set up to fail by taking on too many tasks too quickly.

Primary care networks are a key part of the NHS long-term plan. Based on the plan, all practices are required to be in a network of around 30-50,000 registered patients by June 2019, and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are required to commit recurrent funding to develop and maintain them.1

There are also numerous expectations of general practice working at scale. Networks will employ multi-disciplinary and integrated community-based teams, alleviating some GP and nurse shortage pressures, and provide proactive care for the patients with the most complex needs. These changes, along with better use of digital consultations and social prescribing, are expected to improve care and outcomes.

We have reviewed the research on GP collaborations, and there are three areas which we believe policymakers should consider before more detailed guidance is developed on primary care networks.2345

Read the full article on the BMJ website.

  • 1.
  • 2. Kumpunen, S. Rosen, R. Kossarova, L. Sherlaw-Johnson, C. (2017). “Primary Care Home: Evaluating a new model of primary care” Research report. Nuffield Trust.
  • 3. Pettigrew, L.M., Kumpunen, S., Mays, N., Rosen, R. and Posaner, R. (2018). The impact of new forms of large-scale general practice provider collaborations on England’s NHS: a systematic review. Br J Gen Pract, p.bjgp18X694997.
  • 4. Pettigrew, L.M., Kumpunen, S., Rosen, R., Posaner, R. and Mays, N. (2019). Lessons for ‘large-scale’ general practice provider organisations in England from other inter-organisational healthcare collaborations. Health Policy. 123(1), pp. 51-61.
  • 5. Rosen, R., Kumpunen, S., Curry, N., Davies, A., Pettigrew, L., and Kossarova, L. (2016). Is bigger better? Lessons for large-scale general practice. Research report. Nuffield Trust.


John Kapp

Comment date
15 May 2019

This is a promising sea change in policy which could transform health inequalities if the opportunities to commission, procure and provide new drug-free treatments are taken. I created my company, SECTCo - Social Enterprise Complementary Therapy Company in 2010 hoping that the NHS would be liberated from the drug companies monopoly, and that we could become Any Willing Provider, but we have never yet been even invited to bid, and out therapists have been dismissed as unqualified, despite success with hundreds of vulnerable clients, saving public services an estimated £1m in reduced primary care attendance, hospital admissions, and brushes with the criminal justice system. We hope that we can bid to run a pilot Community Care Centre above Wish park surgery, 191 Portland Rd Hove BN3 5JA, to treat patients under social prescriptions, and that our licenced therapists will be paid in arrears on presentation of the used prescription vouchers as pharmacists are paid for drugs. see 9.141 of

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