What is a Primary Care Network?
A Primary Care Network – often shortened to PCN – is a group of GP Practices based in a local community, working together to help improve care and deliver new services. By working together, we can offer more services and staff than we can working on our own.
Typically, a PCN will consist of a group of GP practices covering 30,000 to 50,000 patients.
Our network (Thame PCN) consists of three local GP surgeries –
- The Rycote Practice in Thame
- Morland House Surgery in Wheatley
- The Chiltern & The Brook Surgeries in Watlington and Chalgrove
What is the Structure of this Network?
All your care is still delivered by your own Surgery. You remain registered with your individual Surgery. Thame PCN is a way of us working together on certain issues. It has a Board, consisting of representatives from each of the partnerships. The board is responsible for strategic decisions (including employing some staff and deciding how they should be used, and deciding which services to offer). Day-to-day running of services is led by the individual Surgeries. Working with the Board is a clinical director who is responsible for overall clinical issues and service development. They also represent Thame PCN and the member practices at country and regional levels. The current Clinical Director is Dr Dan Faller, who is a Partner at The Rycote Practice.
Which staff members are the PCN helping to fund?
Since its creation, Thame PCN has been able to employ a wide range of new clinical staff. This includes:
- Physicians Associate
- Nursing Assistants
- Pharmacy Technicians
- Mental health Nurse
As well as this wide range of clinical staff, the PCN has also been able to develop a Patient Support Team. This dedicated team, with a focus on social care and support, has been able to make a huge difference to patients and their carers struggling with a wide range of problems that have an impact on health, including social isolation, poverty, housing issues, care issues, benefits support and end-of-life care.
Will I Have to Travel to See the Person I Need?
Because of the distance between each of our practices, The PCN board has taken a decision to ensure that staff are largely based in individual Practices. Staff funded by the PCN are directly employed by your Practices, and therefore you probably will not even notice which of the team that you see are funded in this way. In terms of the care they provide and the service you can expect, please be reassured that they hold themselves to the same high standards that all the staff in your surgery do. Although staff in each Surgery can consult with patients from other Surgeries (via data sharing arrangements), your clinical records and other information is not available to staff who don’t work within your own Surgery.
What Other Services Does the PCN offer?
Thame PCN is also responsible for delivering additional resources into our local care homes, providing extended GP opening times (early mornings, later evenings and some weekend opening) and coordinating quality initiatives in patient care.
What Will Happen in the Next Few Years?
The Thame PCN practices expect to continue working closely together over the coming years, and we plan to recruit more staff as resources allow.
I Have Another Question. Who Should I Ask?
Any questions about Thame PCN should be directed to your Practice team in the first instance.