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Primary Care Networks

What are Primary Care Networks?

In general, people are living longer, and some are living with a number of conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and mental health issues. Primary Care Networks are groups of GP Practices based around a GP registered list of approximately 30,000 – 50,000 patients, bringing practices together in order to offer care on a scale which is small enough for patients to get the continuous and personalised care they value, but large enough to be resilient, through the sharing of workforce, administration and other functions of general practice.

The benefits of these services working together are:

  • Longer opening hours
  • Sharing staff
  • Better access to specialist health professionals 
  • Services closer to home
  • Ability to share information and technology 

Primary Care Networks are an important building block of developing our current community services to support better delivery of hands-on, personalised, coordinated and more joined-up health and social care.

The creation of PCNs follows the release of new guidance from NHS England on 31 January 2019 to support the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan. This guidance included significant changes to the GP contract, including the development of PCNs.


How Primary Care Networks were formed

CCGs were required to meet three key deadlines which were nationally mandated and set by NHS England:

All PCNs had to submit registration information to their CCG by 15 May 2019.

Each PCN in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent achieved this deadline.

By 31 May 2019, CCGs had to confirm the network coverage and approve the variation to GMS PMS and APMS.

The CCGs have three established Primary Care Commissioning Committees which cover the north, south and east of the county. They gave permission to establish a single PCN Application Review Panel for the six CCGs, which had delegated authority to review and agree PCN registration applications and provide subsequent assurance to the Committees in June.

Terms of reference were developed for the panel which detailed panel membership and governance around the decision-making process for PCNs.

The membership of the panel was as follows:

  • Executive Director of Primary Care
  • Local Medical Committees
  • Primary Care Development Team
  • Head of Primary Care NHS England
  • Lay members
  • Enhancing Primary and Community Care Programme Director

This panel was not a voting panel, and the ambition was to achieve a group consensus for each application based on the criteria stipulated within the guidance for PCNs.

A group consensus was achieved for each application.

The Panel was responsible for ensuring 100% population coverage of primary care networks. The requirement of NHS England for agreeing PCN applications was as follows:

“Each Primary Care Network must have a boundary that makes sense to: (a) its constituent practices;(b) to other community-based providers, who configure their teams accordingly; and (c) to its local community.”

On 1 July 2019, the Network Contract goes live across 100% of the country

26 PCNs formed across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, these include:

  • Four PCNs have been agreed for South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula CCG:
    • Seisdon
    • Lichfield
    • Burntwood
    • Mercian

Membership of the four networks can be found on the CCG’s website

  • Six PCNs for North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG):
    • Leek and Biddulph
    • Moorlands and Rural
    • Newcastle North
    • Newcastle Central
    • Newcastle South
    • About Better Care (ABC)

Membership of the six networks can be found on the CCG’s website


  • Seven PCNs have been agreed for Stoke-on-Trent CCG:
    • Hanley, Bucknall and Bentilee
    • Shelton and Hanley
    • Whitfield
    • HIPC (Holistic Integrated Person Centred)
    • South Stoke Central
    • South Stoke West
    • Meir

Membership of the seven networks can be found on the CCG’s website


  • Four Primary Care Networks have been agreed for the Stafford and Surrounds area:
    • Stone and Eccleshall
    • Stafford Central
    • Stafford South
    • Stafford Town

Membership of the four networks can be found on the CCG’s website


  • Four Primary Care Networks have been agreed for Cannock Chase CCG. These are:
    • Cannock South
    • Cannock North
    • Cannock Villages
    • Rugeley and Great Haywood

Membership of the four networks can be found on the CCG’s website


  • One PCN for East Staffordshire CCG

Membership of the network can be found on the CCG’s website


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