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High Fives

About the PCN

What is a Primary Care Network?

The NHS was created in 1948

The population has grown and people are living longer. Many people are living with long term conditions such as heart disease and diabetes or suffer with mental health issues and may need to access their local health service more often.

GP practices are now working together

To meet these needs, GP practices are working together with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas in groups of practices known as primary care networks (PCNs), (formally established in July 2019).

PCNs build on existing primary care services

Enabling greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care for people close to home. This as a change from reactively providing appointments to proactively caring for the people and communities they serve.

Based on GP registered patient lists

1,250 PCNs across England, typically serving natural communities of between 30,000 to 50,000 people. They are small enough to provide the personal care valued by both people and GPs, but large enough to have impact and economies of scale through better collaboration between GP practices and others in the local health and social care system.

What are PCNs designed to do?


Primary care networks will provide proactive, coordinated care to their local populations, in different ways to match different people’s needs, with a strong focus on prevention and personalised care. This means supporting patients to make informed decisions about their own health and care and connecting them to a wide range of statutory and voluntary services to ensure they can access the care they need first time.


Primary care networks will also help ensure that the NHS designs support and services to get the best possible value out of their funding for their local communities.

Which organisations form part of a primary care network?


Primary care networks will be expected to have a wide-reaching membership, led by groups of general practices. This should include providers from the local system such as community pharmacy, optometrists, dental providers, social care providers, voluntary sector organisations, community services providers or local government.

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