How are PCNs being formed?
A new extension to the GP contract was recently introduced in NHS England’s five -year framework for GP services: the Network Contract (a Directed Enhanced Service) will go live from 1st July 2019 and will enable GP practices to play a leading role in every PCN.
A PCN must appoint a Clinical Director as its named, accountable leader, responsible for delivery, who will also provide strategic and clinical leadership to help support change across primary and community health services.
A PCN cannot exist without its constituent practices, but its membership and purpose should be much wider. The NHS Long Term Plan sets out a clear ambition to deliver ‘triple integration’ of primary and specialist care, physical and mental health services, and health with social care.
All PCNs will have a Network Agreement which sets out its collective rights and obligations as well as how it will partner with non-GP practice stakeholders. It will also include a patient data-sharing requirement, in order to support safe and effective delivery of patient care. PCNs will be the foundation of all ICSs and every ICS will have a critical role in ensuring that PCNs work in an integrated way with other community staff and providers; collaboration arrangements with other local organisations will form a distinct part of every Network Agreement.
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