Since 1 July 2019 almost all GPs have come together to form Primary Care Networks (PCN) in 1,300 geographical networks. Approximately 30–50,000 patients will be supported by one PCN.
Primary Care Networks in Swindon
Wyvern Health Partnership and Brunel Health Group have been preparing to establish PCNs. Changes in the ownership or management of practices have been taking place following the withdrawal of Integral Medical Holdings (IMH) from Swindon and this will need to be factored into the newly established PCNs.
Two other practices were not within the existing groups but they are likely to join up because of the financial incentives and potential benefits to patients.
What we did
We ran a focus group in April with 21 members of the Patient Participation Group (PPG) Forum, to discuss the development of PCNs and to ensure that they were aware of them and of changes already happening in Swindon.
What did we hear from our PPG forum?
Members felt the following would be vital to ensuring the successful development of PCNs:
- Communicate to patients clearly and well in advance of changes
- That patients understand that they may not (need to) see a GP and that other clinicians may be most appropriate
- That reception staff are trained to ask questions and respond to callers
- There was mixed views of travelling between different surgeries for services, for example those with transport were willing to travel, whilst those reliant on public transport would prefer not to have to do this.
What else did we hear?
There were also questions about the availability of home visits, extended hours, out of hours, weekend appointments and whether nurse practitioners were able to refer people to secondary care.
It was explained that the Brunel Health Group had already started to recruit two paramedics who would undertake some home visits to patients of practices in the group.
The intention is also to recruit mental health practitioners, similar to a number of practices in Swindon which already have one.
PCNs were required this year to recruit social prescribers, similar to Swindon’s existing community navigators, which people thought was a good idea.
Primary Care Networks Animation
Watch this short video from NHS England and NHS Improvement to find out more about PCNs.
We will continue to support the development of PCNs and will feedback what we hear to Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group.
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