The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) consolidate their stance on primary care networks (PCNs)
This is an edited version of an article first published by the RCGP.
Responding to the latest Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report ‘Realising the neighbourhood NHS: Delivering a new deal for primary care in England’, professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The College is hugely supportive of the partnership model of general practice, within a mixed and flexible economy of contractual models. It allows GPs to innovate in the best interests of local populations and it provides excellent value for money for the NHS.
“We are also optimistic about primary care networks, which sound similar to the Neighbourhood Care Providers advocated in this report, and PCNs and the partnership model are not mutually exclusive – it is essential that partnerships work effectively with and within PCNs to deliver high-quality place-based care to patients. However, PCNs need to be given the time, space and support to effectively develop and to build connections within the wider NHS system, in order to deliver place-based care that meets the local needs of their patients.
“Scrapping the partnership model is certainly not the solution to the pressures facing general practice, improving patient access, or meeting the Government’s target to build the workforce by 6,000 full-time-equivalent GPs.
“Last year’s independent review into the partnership model clearly stated that it is an important model, and viable career option for GPs at all stages of their careers – but that there are key issues that need addressing, most salient being the need to reduce unnecessary workload in general practice and expand the workforce.
“The new GP contract, published yesterday, is a step in the right direction and financially supports GPs into partnership roles through a new scheme. We also need the forthcoming NHS People Plan to include comprehensive plans on how they plan to train and recruit more GPs and other staff, as well as retain existing GPs in the profession and encourage more GPs into partner roles – and tackling ‘undoable’ workload should be a starting point. On top of this, we need to see continued support for PCNs to be allowed to achieve their potential.”