Primary Care Networks
NHS England’s Next Step On The NHS Five year Forward View (2017) included proposals for more GP practices to work together in ‘hubs’ or networks.
Based on the premise that a combined patient population of at least 30-50,000 allows practices to share workforce, it builds on the Primary Care Home approach championed by the National Association for Primary Care.
The new workforce would include pharmacy teams and expand diagnostic facilities, sharing responsibility for urgent care and extended access.
Primary Care Networks would be linked to the proposed Integrated Care Systems – working across organisational boundaries with community, primary, secondary care, mental health and social care services.
From 1 July 2019, GP practices in Primary Care Networks will be able to receive funding for up to 20,000 additional staff, including:
- Physician associates
- Community paramedics
- Social prescribing link workers
as part of the new Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service.
In the longer term, an additional six full-time equivalent pharmacists could support every typical network of 50,000 patients - that's over 5,000 new pharmacist roles across England.
Each Primary Care Network is recruiting an accountable Clinical Director to oversee delivery. A clinical director ‘development support syllabus’ is expected to be produced to support these new leadership roles.
Pharmacists are already being appointed to these roles, which is very encouraging.