Link Workers and Primary Care Networks
Twelve ‘Primary Care Networks’ (PCNs) have been established across east and north Hertfordshire in a move designed to improve local or ‘primary care’ NHS services.
By encouraging GP practices to work more closely together in groups, together with other health and care staff in their local area, Primary Care Networks (PCNs) aim to provide more proactive, personalised, coordinated and joined-up health and social care.
CNs will be able to employ a wider set of staff roles than is possible in most GP practices, such as physiotherapists, pharmacists and specialist ‘social prescribing’ link workers* who are employed to connect people with support and advice services in their local area.
Networks will receive specific funding for clinical pharmacists and link workers this year, with funding for physiotherapists, highly trained clinicians called ‘physician associates’ and paramedics in subsequent years.
Beverley Flowers, Chief Executive of East and North Hertfordshire CCG said: “A key aim of our work is to ensure that health and care services that can be delivered locally are delivered locally, by experts working together to benefit their communities. The creation of Primary Care Networks is a significant step towards that goal. By joining forces in this way, we can bring together district nurses, pharmacists, GPs and physiotherapists, so that people don’t have to travel as far to get the specialist help that they need.
“Members of the public who are most likely to benefit from these new ways or working are those who have the most complex health needs, people who need extra help and support to live healthy, happy lives and those who don’t have ready access to their own transport.”
PCNs will typically serve populations of 30,000 to 50,000. Each PCN will have an appointed Clinical Director who is accountable to the other network members and will provide leadership for the PCN’s strategic plans. Clinical Directors will also help ensure that the aims and ambitions of the national NHS Long Term Plan are delivered in our area.