Caution needed over ambitions for new primary care networks

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

Primary care networks (PCNs) 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 PCNs.2345

Read the full article on the BMJ website.

  • 1. https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Preparing-for-2019-20-Operational-Planning-and-Contracting.pdf
  • 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.

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