Understanding your next steps to developing Primary Care Networks

In a recent interview with Pulse, NHS England’s acting director of primary care Dr Nikita Kanani has said that Primary Care Networks are an ‘evolution’ because ‘enough of the population is part of a group of practices’.

And whilst that may be the case, the reality is that there is a lot of variation, practices are at very different stages in their journeys towards collaboration, and for some there is still a lack of clarity around expectations.

Under the new five-year contract, details on the arrangements for networks and their service specifications will be released by the end of March – and networks will need to be set up by the end of May. Yes, these are challenging timescales. However, PCNs are a key feature of the new GP contract and importantly, the additional workforce and linked funding is available through these new PCNs.

With the increasing demand placed on CCG’s, federations and GP practices to form PCNs and to deliver at scale, it’s important to identify where you currently are on your journey and to review your current at scale preparations and plans.

There are a number of key questions to consider:

  • How ready are we for at scale working?
  • What are the critical steps we must complete first?
  • Do we understand the cost and resources needed to deliver our at scale entity?
  • What do we need to do with existing partnership agreements?
  • Have we considered our clinical models and systems?
  • Have we considered finances in the right way?
  • Does the work we’ve done so far give us a solid start for our at scale journey?
  • Do we understand the sequence of tasks we have to complete?
  • Have we involved our patients, commissioners and stakeholders sufficiently?
  • How can we manage this project and deliver the day job?

This will start to help you understand and identify your key next steps on your way to working at scale.

There is also support available to help you to deliver PCNs and working at scale. We work with general practices, PCNs, federations and CCGs to provide deliver joined up and at scale primary care services that deliver better outcomes and “more for less”.

We have developed a PCN Readiness tool that reviews your current PCH and at scale preparations and plans. Completing this assessment will deliver a diagnostic to you and if you want, a follow up telephone conversation with one of the ATSCALE team. Have a look on our web site for more details about how you can access the tool and start your planning effectively.