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The aspirations for Community Health Care and Primary Care Networks

NHS England and Improvement’s Director of Community Healthcare and Ageing Well, and the Director of Primary Care and System Transformation, look at how the Primary Care Networks due to launch on July 1 can bring the greatest transformation to primary medical and community health care in a generation:

On our travels over the past few weeks we have heard the enthusiasm and appetite for Primary Care, community health and social care to come together.

We are hearing how people are determined to plan and change the outcomes for their local populations, using colleagues within newly-formed Primary Care Networks (PCNs) as key partners alongside existing teams.

We know that it hasn’t all been plain sailing but we can see the opportunity in every part of the country for PCNs as they mature to work effectively with local partners in mental health, community, voluntary sector and social care on behalf of their communities.

The aspiration and vision for PCNs started with: “Primary care networks build on the core of current primary care services and enable greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care.”

This can only be achieved if local leaders and organisations know each other, begin to trust each other and are willing to collaborate.

Within the published ‘Frequently asked questions’ for Primary Care Networks, there are many of the answers to the questions that have come from CCG’s, Primary Care clinicians and members of the national Community Network.

To aid collaboration further we would encourage all community health providers and leaders to work with their local Primary Care Networks to ensure the approach of the network is collaborative; wrap and order their services and staff around the registered populations of Networks and focus on the joint work networks and community health staff can do together.

To aid this approach, as the specifications are developed for Primary Care Networks  – to start in April 2020 – focusing on medical support to care homes and community multi-disciplinary meetings, we will also be developing symbiotic specifications for community health providers. These will detail the expectations on commissioners and providers to create integrated care at PCN level. We will be engaging with providers, commissioners and PCN’s throughout the Country to ensure these specifications are right and support integrated working and improve outcomes for local populations.

Other actions we know from feedback will help as PCN’s go through their early stages of development are:

  • Develop shared workforce plans between PCNs and local providers – it benefits no one to be poaching staff indiscriminately from each other.
  • Ensure that the governance and representation on PCN’s includes local community health leaders.
  • If an organisation is needed to host employment for the PCN and act as the banker for income – work out who is best placed to do this, as this could be a local statutory organisation who already has the infrastructure to use.
  • Focus on the vision of what you are all collectively trying to achieve and don’t revert to structure.

We look forward to working with PCNs and community providers to integrate care in every locality over the coming months and contact details for the team are shown below if you have any queries.

For more information, go to:

Primary Care Networks:

  • Contact the national PCN team at england.PCN@nhs.net
  • Further details on the NHS England website at www.england.nhs.uk/pcn including details of forthcoming webinars and events, FAQs and other materials and a short animation about primary care networks
  • Join the primary care networks Future NHS site which includes a highly active discussion forum and a range of PCN resources – you can request access to the site by emailing england.PCN@nhs.net
  • Listen to our latest #primarycarenetworks podcast online.
  • Join our next Twitter chat with Dr Nikki Kanani, Director of Primary Care, on 16 July at 8pm #primarycarenetworks
  • Join in the conversation on social media using the hashtag #primarycarenetworks

Community Health and Ageing well:

Matthew Winn

Matthew Winn is the NHS England and Improvement Director of Community Health and SRO for the implementation of the Ageing Well programme in the NHS Plan.

He is also the Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust and has led the organisation since 2007.

Previously he worked in London in roles in Acute Care, local government and Primary Care Trusts.

Dom Hardy

Dom Hardy is the Director of Primary Care and System Transformation in NHS England, leading the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan’s commitment to create Integrated Care Systems across the country, and ensure primary care provides the strong foundation of those systems so they can provide excellent health care for patients and communities.

He previously held roles at regional level in NHS England as Director of Commissioning Operations for Wessex and as Regional Assurance and Delivery Director.

Prior to that he worked in the South of England and South Central SHA for over 3 years, working with colleagues across the South to establish and then lead the new commissioning system.

Before moving to the NHS he worked in central government in a range of roles, including at the DH with Professor Sir Ara Darzi as project director for the NHS Next Stage Review.

He has also worked at the management consultancy Pricewaterhouse Coopers and as a policy advisor to Tony Blair and Principal Private Secretary to John Reid and Patricia Hewitt.

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