Clapham Primary Care Network
Primary care networks (PCNs) were introduced in January 2019 to encourage local GP practices to link up with other neighbouring practices to deliver care to groups of between 30,000 – 50,000 patients.
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, GP practices are working together with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas in groups of practices known as primary care networks (PCNs).
PCNs build on existing primary care services and enable greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care for people close to home.
It is important to remember that as a patient you will still be registered with one main practice and do not personally need to take any action.
The main objective of PCNs is to enable more staff with a broader range of expertise to be available to help you as the patient. Services may also be able to provide longer opening hours. For instance, you may have been offered an out of hours GP appointment at a surgery different to your own: this will be because of the extended hours provided by your PCN.
Advocates also state that by practices working together within their PCN, information sharing will be made easier, which in theory means that you shouldn’t have to re-tell your story or situation to lots of different people.