Frequently Asked Questions about Primary Care Networks
Here are some straightforward answers to some of the most common questions about Primary Care Networks.
What does PCN stand for?
A PCN is a Primary Care Network.
Why do I need to know about PCNs?
There are two main reasons to tell patients about our network:
Firstly, if you are contacted by or referred to a member of our network team, then it’s easier for patients to verify staff’s identities.
Secondly, as PCNs are still relatively young, it’s a chance to introduce patients to these new services and the staff who deliver them.
What staff and services does the PCN offer?
Each network chooses the services and staff that will most benefit patients in their area.
Working with our Clinical Director, Dr Sarah Rae, are:
Clinical Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians carry out reviews with patients who take multiple types of medication regularly.
Social Prescribing Link Workers support people with a range of needs, connecting them to non-clinical services. The team members specifically specialise in mental health concerns, older people, and the housebound.
Social Prescribing Link Workers:
A Nursing Associate who supports the Nursing teams in all network practices providing core nursing services.
We will shortly be launching a new service with a team of Paramedic Practitioners who will provide same-day assessments for people with acute medical issues.
Which practices are in the PCN?
North Gosforth PCN comprises 5 GP practices – Brunton Park, Gosforth Memorial, Park Medical Group, Regent Medical Centre, and Broadway Medical Centre.
This will change to four when Regent and Broadway merge later this year.
How long have PCNs existed?
Since 2019, when they were introduced alongside the NHS Long Term Plan and the revised GP contract.
What are PCNs for?
To provide new, easily accessible services that meet the changing needs of people in the local area. There is a particular focus on helping the increasing number of people with long-term conditions manage their health and promoting positive, preventative healthcare.
How do they work, and who runs them?
Each network has a Clinical director – ours is Dr Sarah Rae, and a board made up of representatives from each practice.
NHS England gives each network funding based on the number of patients their member practices look after. The board and Clinical Director decide which services patients would most benefit from and recruit specialist staff to provide those services.
Are PCNs anything to do with privatisation?
No. They exist solely within the NHS. All network funding comes centrally from NHS England, and all PCN services are available to patients through their GP practice.
What does it mean for patients?
There is a broader range of specialist services that are now easily accessible through GP practices and tailored to the specific needs of the patients. It also means patients will get to the best person to help them sooner.
What does it mean for practices?
There are clear and consistent pathways for practices to refer patients to the specialist services that patients need.
How do I access PCN services?
The best route is through your GP practice. Depending on the service, a member of the admin or reception team may be able to refer you. For some services, it will require a Doctor to make a referral.
A member of PCN staff has contacted me; how can I verify their identity?
There is a list of our current staff in a previous answer in the FAQs. Team members will also be able to confirm information with you that your GP practice holds.
We will shortly be launching a new set of connected GP practice and PCN websites, which will see all network staff’s profiles being featured on the staff pages of each GP practice.