Primary Care Networks

The RCGP supports the development of collaborative primary care networks to improve patient outcomes, reduce the current pressures faced by individual practices and improve the working environment for primary care teams.

From April 2019, GP practices in England can expect changes to their contract mandating them to join a Primary Care Network (PCN) by the end of 2019 – working together with neighbouring practices, community and social care services to find efficiencies and deliver a wide range of services to patients, as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The networks will have 'expanded neighbourhood teams', which the Plan says 'will comprise a range of staff such as GPs, pharmacists, district nurses, community geriatricians, dementia workers and AHPs such as physiotherapists and podiatrists/chiropodists, joined by social care and the voluntary sector'.

Under the plans, all GP practices will be aligned to a PCN, covering 30,000 - 50,000 patients, with local enhanced services funded by CCGs through the new network contracts. The networks will provide the structure and funding for services to be developed locally, in response to the needs of the patients they serve.

"GPs are open to working differently in the best interests of patient care, and we know that working in larger groupings can be beneficial in terms of increased peer support, building resilience in the system and working more collaboratively – and primary care networks (PCN) build on models that have been shown to be successful.”
Helen Stokes Lampard, RCGP Chair 

How we can support you

Our team of advisers and consultants are perfectly placed to support and facilitate practices to achieve these aims.

We can support practices in implementing the requirements for PCNs, from setting up a care network and introducing new practice roles, to managing cultural change and supporting under-performing practices. Whether you're at the first stages of collaborating in a PCN or an established network looking to better serve your patients, we can support you to ensure a smooth transition.

Our expert team of clinical and practice advisers including GPs, nurses and practice managers, have extensive experience of working with individual practices and at-scale organisations to develop leadership and support organisational change.

Our support can help practices with:

  • setting up and facilitating a care network
  • implementing governance structures
  • leadership development
  • coaching and mentoring for clinical directors and practice managers
  • cultural change – moving from practice-based to network-based delivery of care
  • workforce assessment and centralisation across a network
  • utilising a multidisciplinary workforce effectively
  • introducing new practice roles
  • additional services deployment and usage, e.g. appointment management and signposting
  • using existing resources and improving efficiency
  • supporting under-performing practices within a network.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your requirements and support your next stages of development/transformation.

Get in touch

Our experience 

Through our GP Excellence Programme, we are already working in partnership with CCGs, helping them to transform primary care teams and delivery structures across whole commissioning areas. The Programme supports delivery structures to develop practice performance and sustainability through the key QI tools developed by RCGP. It is an evidence-based approach that helps primary care free up time to deliver initiatives and embed new approaches more effectively and efficiently into practice. QI helps the primary care team to make the most of their systems, organisations, talents and expertise to deliver better outcomes for patients.

We've also provided support for a group of practices in the Waltham Forest CCG and provided overall support to their QI programme, sharing learning, and contributing to the future resilience and sustainability of the CCG's primary care.

"The feedback from practices to the CCG has been consistently positive... all the practices have expressed interest in future Waltham Forest QI programmes as a result of prompting from the RCGP and the programme has helped develop a culture of review amongst some of the practices."

Find out how we can help you work more collaboratively and effectively together.
Get in touch

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