PCNs are an opportunity for general practice but serious consideration must be given to their development

Publication date: 10 January 2020

The RCGP has commented on NHS England's proposed specifications for Primary Care Networks, which are currently out for consultation.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Primary Care Networks are an opportunity to do things differently and increase support to practices by facilitating collaboration and increased funding getting to the frontline, but serious consideration needs to be given to how PCNs are developed and how the services they can offer are implemented. This needs to be well-informed by those working in general practice, and the consultation period we have been given to feedback on the proposed specifications is far too short to be meaningful.

"PCNs are still in their infancy and should not be overloaded with work before they have had time to mature or they will fail. Networks must be given the time and space to recruit to the new roles, integrate new staff into established teams and ensure they are properly trained to work in primary care. Only then will PCNs be able to address excessive GP workload and ultimately improve the care that is being provided to patients.

"PCNs will only succeed if practices are given the scope to do this properly. We propose that NHS England take more time to properly consult with the profession and create service specifications that are less prescriptive, more locally relevant and realistic, particularly in areas with significant deprivation. This will also give PCNs the time they need to develop before being able to offer additional services, as well as trying to alleviate the current workload pressures they are facing."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7494/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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