What is a PCN?
The NHS introduced Primary Care Networks in 2019.
The aim is to allow neighbouring GP practices to work together to provide new and specific services that meet the changing needs of patients. Our population is growing, we’re living longer, and more of us take regular medication or have long-term conditions.
This has led to an increased demand for GP services and hospitals, pharmacies, social care and mental health services, and community and voluntary organisations. PCNs allow GP practices to strengthen their links to other services, providing clear and consistent access for the patients who need them.
How PCNs work
How we support patients…
Each network typically looks after between 30,000 and 50,000 patients. That’s big enough to share resources and benefit from economies of scale but small enough to deliver a personal service and continuity of care.
One of the clearest examples of this shared, local approach is recruiting specialist staff to meet specific needs in our area.
We have the freedom to decide which services would most benefit our patients and recruit expert staff to provide those services.
In Gateshead Outer West we have a Clinical Director, Business Manager, Clinical Pharmacists, Mental Health Practitioners, Musculoskeletal Specialists and Social Prescribing Link Workers who work with patients across seven practice. It means that new and expert services are available to patients through the familiar setting of their GP Practice.
How we work with GP practices…
A Clinical Director from one of the member practices leads each PCN. In Gateshead Outer West our Clinical Director is Dr Mark Fuller.
Our Director and Business Manager work closely with all of our practices to plan how best to improve our patients’ general health and well-being. This involves ensuring we are providing the right mix of services through recruiting the right specialist staff, looking at the most common health conditions or issues, and creating consistent, holistic approaches.
Our PCN staff will rotate through the practices, with regular clinics at each. The teams at your practice will be able to give you information about the services the PCN staff offer and refer you to them when appropriate.
In some cases, patients may be able to self-refer to the network team directly.
Visit Our People to meet the team, find out about the services they offer and how to contact them.