Don’t be concerned if you have not yet been invited to help set up emerging primary care networks (PCNs), says head of primary care for NHS England’s South East Local Regional Office

Don’t be concerned if you have not yet been invited to help set up emerging primary care networks (PCNs), says head of primary care for NHS England’s South East Local Regional Office

May 28, 2019

NHS England’s head of primary care in Surrey and Sussex, Stephen Ingram, has reassured LPCs and community pharmacists that their voice will be heard in primary care networks (PCNs) even if they are not immediately involved in conversations about PCNs in their local area. He also advised to use the next few months, when networks are setting-up, to think about what community pharmacy can offer, and wants to offer, to networks to help them be effective.

Speaking to James Wood and Sandra Lamont from CPSS and LPC representatives from Kent last week (21 May) Stephen confirmed the timetable for PCN formation and said he expected most networks to be ready to give meaningful thought to integrated services and how they join-up with affiliated services (such as community pharmacy) in the autumn.

“Networks submitted their applications on 15th May and we anticipate the vast majority of these to be confirmed by CCGs on 31st May. As part of the application process, each PCN has designated who their accountable clinical directors is to be, and the PCN will become “live” on 01 July 2019”.

“As with any new way of working those involved need a bit of time and space to put their infrastructure in place and develop their team, so their capacity to involve the wider primary care community, such as community pharmacists, is likely to be limited for the first few months. However, we anticipate PCNs to then start considering how they are to develop integrated services and develop partnership with other service providers. The period between September and December might be the time in which this dialogue could start”.

In the meantime, Stephen suggests community pharmacists consider what they can, and want to, offer PCNs at a local level and how they might fit-in with the new clinicians that will be part of core primary care teams. For example, the GP practice-based physiotherapist may want to link with the community pharmacist on MSK work, the PCN based pharmacist will probably want to forge close links with community pharmacy on a number of areas and the new social prescribing link-workers will need to know about services they can refer people to.

“If community pharmacists can think about the experience and services you offer you can make to patients and communities then this is likely to help PCNs think about future ways of working”, Stephen added.

Timetable for network contract DES introduction - a foundation year in advance of setting up services set out in the Long Term Plan

By 15 May: All primary care networks submit registration information to their CCG

By 31 May: CCGs confirm network coverage

Early June: NHS England and GPC England jointly work with CCGs and LMCs to resolve any issues

By 30 June: All primary care networks confirm to CCGs the network agreement has been signed by all participants before CCGs sign off all network submissions

1 Jul 2019: Network Contract DES goes live across 100% of the country

Jul 2019 to Mar 2020: National entitlements under the 2019/20 Network Contract start eg:

  • year 1 of the additional workforce reimbursement scheme
  • on-going support funding for the clinical director

Apr 2020 onwards: National Network Services start under the 2020/21 Network Contract DES

Timetable of LPC support to help contractors engage with PCNs and think about the experience you can offer patients and the new-look primary care workforces

Our news round-up will bring you the latest news as PCNs emerge: Every second Thursday

Webinar: SAVE THE DATE: Join one of our PCN webinars to learn more about PCNs and how they can work with community pharmacy in Surrey and Sussex. Speakers will include James Wood, Community Pharmacy Sussex and Surrey, and a newly appointed PCN Clinical Director. Joining instructions to follow. Wednesday 12 June, 7.30pm (for about 20 minutes) or Monday 24 June, 7.30pm (for about 20 minutes)

Training & support needs survey: We are constantly trying to find ways to improve what we do, which is to bring you top quality support, development and promotion. To do that we need to know what you need, rather than what we think you need. Soon we will be sending you a Training and Support Survey to help us develop our training and education offer. Please look out for it and take a few minutes to complete it (also share with your teams as we represent community pharmacy contractors and your businesses are more than just the pharmacist. Week beginning 10 June

Helping you identify your PCN: When available, we hope to be able to facilitate the distribution of maps and contact details for each PCN are across Surrey and Sussex, so that you can start networking at a local level. Later in the Summer

Roadshow: SAVE THE DATE: You are invited to join us on one of the following dates for your 2019 Contractors Annual Meeting. This year a keynote speaker from each LPC area will deliver a keynote speech on the future of community pharmacy, drawing insight from the emerging PCNs and noticeable trends. Your annual meeting event is free-to-attend but pre-registration will be required. More to follow later in the summer. These are evening events: West Sussex: Tuesday 10 September 2019East Sussex: Tuesday 17 September 2019;  Surrey: Wednesday 18 September 2019

**  Stephen Ingram is the Head of Primary Care for the NHS England South East Local Regional Office. Stephen is responsible for overseeing the commissioning and contracting of GP services across Surrey Sussex and works closely with the CCGs and STPs across this footprint.

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