Primary care networks (PCNs) build on the core work of current primary care services and enable greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care for our communities. They are crucial to the development of integrated care systems (ICSs) and in meeting the ambitions in the NHS Long Term Plan.
PCNs are formed via sign up to the Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service (DES) Contract Specification 2020/21, which was first introduced on 1 July 2019 and sets out core requirements and entitlements for a PCN. PCNs are also supported by the PCN Development Programme which is centrally funded and locally delivered.
By 2023/24, the Network Contract DES commits an investment of £2.4 billion into primary care across the country, or £1.47 million per typical PCN. This includes funding for around 26,000 more health professionals including additional clinical pharmacists, physician associates, first contact physiotherapists, community paramedics and social prescribing link workers. Bigger teams of health professionals will work across PCNs, as part of community teams, providing tailored care for patients and will allow GPs to focus more on patients with complex needs.
Our objective is for the Network Contract DES to support PCNs to deliver the ambition for improved standards of care across the country, setting realistic expectations for delivery that benefit patients.
The 2020/21 Network Contract DES introduced three new services to be delivered by PCNs from 1 October 2020:
- Enhanced Health in Care Homes
- Early Cancer Diagnosis
- Structured medication reviews and medicines optimisation
PCNs are also entitled to earn additional funding through a new incentive scheme – the Investment and Impact Fund.
The following new services are currently proposed to be delivered by PCNs during 2021/22.
- Cardiovascular disease (CVD) diagnosis and prevention
- Tackling neighbourhood inequalities
- Personalised care
- Anticipatory care
The Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service (DES) will be updated annually until at least 2023/24.