Many who live with long term conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, or who have mental health issues, need to access local health and care services more often.

GP practices working together and with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services, in their local areas are creating Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to help patients access the support and care they need.

Networks have been given new money to invest and increase both the number and type of workers that can be employed in General Practice. Funding is available to employ the following additional types of workers:

First Contact Physiotherapists, Social Prescribing Link Workers, Health and Wellbeing Coaches, Care Co-ordinators, Clinical Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians, Dietitians, Podiatrists, Occupational Therapists, Physicians Associates and Nursing Associates and Trainees, Paramedics and Mental Health Practitioners.

Individual PCNs will have the flexibility to decide how many of each of the types of staff they wish to employ.

PCNs have also been given contracts to offer improved services in a number of areas:

  1. Improving the care that is given in care homes
  2. Improving early cancer diagnosis
  3. Developing social prescribing
  4. Providing more services over a greater amount of the day and early evening
  5. Doing more checks on people’s medications and offering ways to remove medications that are no longer needed

PCNs will also be developing the following in the near future:

  1. Further improvements in catching people early who might have heart disease
  2. Identifying and offering more help to people who are at danger of becoming unwell or needing hospital admission to try and prevent deterioration in health
  3. Doing more to address the fact that people who are disadvantaged by poverty, poor housing and many other things have poorer health and die younger than people who are better off.