Since the NHS began, there are many more of us to use its services and most of us are living longer.
Many of us have long-term conditions and need to make more use of our local health services. That’s why those who deliver our health and social care are looking for better ways to provide those services.
It’s why GP practices in some areas have begun working together and with other health and social care services in groups called Primary Care Networks.
The short form of Primary care Network is PCN. That’s another new term we’ll need to use when talking about health and social care.
PCNs build on the services provided by GPs and should bring about a more personal and effective way of providing joined-up health and social care.
PCNs are important for all of us because these networks will have to cover everyone in the county.
The doctor in charge of making this work in our county is Dr Graham Jackson. He’s the Clinical Lead for our county’s Integrated Care System – ICS.
That’s the new county-wide partnership which brings together all the main health and social care services to help people live well for longer.
In a recent newsletter to those who provide health and social care services in Bucks, Dr Jackson says that PCNs need to be in place by July this year.
He explains that the new contract between local doctors and the NHS will ask GP practices to form local groups and share resources.
These networks are a way for several GP practices to work more closely together over areas of between 30,000 and 50,000 people. By working together, GP practices can have bigger teams including nurses, pharmacists and mental health professionals.
By sharing resources, doctors in each network can give their patients better access to specialist health and social care as well as longer opening hours.
Dr Jackson says:
NHS England will provide some funding, to support each PCN to employ clinical pharmacists and social prescribes later this year.
Over the next couple of years other healthcare professionals including, for example, physiotherapists and paramedics will also become part of the networks.
There’s a really good video below which explains the PCN idea. It’s well worth a look.
The next few months will be important in working out how these changes will be carried out in your area.
If you have a point of view, just let us know here at Healthwatch. We can get your views across to those in charge.