Primary Care Network
Since the NHS was created in 1948, the population has grown and people are living longer. Many people are living with long term conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, or suffer with mental health issues and may need to access their local health services more often.
To meet these needs, practices have begun working together and with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas in primary care networks.
Primary care networks build on the core of current primary care services and enable greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care. Clinicians describe this as a change from reactively providing appointments to proactively care for the people and communities they serve. Where emerging primary care networks are in place in parts of the country, there are clear benefits for patients and clinicians.
Primary care networks are based on GP registered lists, typically serving natural communities of around 30,000 to 50,000. They are small enough to provide the personal care valued by both patients and GPs, but large enough to have impact and economies of scale through better collaboration between practices and others in the local health and social care system.
Overview of South Rural PCN
South Rural Primary Care Network (PCN) was formed in June 2019 and is made up of five individual, well-established practices:
- Bildeston Health Centre
- Constable Medical Practice,
- Hadleigh Boxford Group
- Holbrook & Shotley
- Needham Market Country Practice
Between us we look after around 52,000 patients and that number continues to grow.
The PCN is lead by two enthusiastic Clinical Directors who are Dr Chris Lewis (Needham Market) and Dr Carrie Everitt (Hadleigh). Our PCN Manager is Lisa Coleman who works alongside the clinical directors on PCN projects.
By working together our vision is to provide a joined up service for local communities. By diversifying our workforce and benefitting from a greater skill mix we can in turn create and develop a better care package for our patients.
Currently as a PCN:
- We offer extended hours appointments to our patients
- We provide an enhanced health in care homes service to the 16 care homes across our area
- We employee 5 clinical pharmacists working at each or our sites to provide medication support and monitoring through structured medication reviews
- We provide peer support to each other sharing best practice and learning outcomes
- We are working to improve early cancer diagnosis rates through increasing national screening uptake
Over the next two years, we hope to be able to bring more new roles and services into our practices such as:
- Health and Wellbeing Coaches
- First Point of Contact Physiotherapist
- Paramedic/Emergency Care Practitioners
- Mental Health Practitioners
- Social Prescribers