The way people want to access services is changing and the use of technology is increasing. You can see evidence of this in local engagement work and also from our NHS Long Term Plan engagement report findings (June 2019), where comments were raised about the ‘better use of IT and electronic records’ and how all hospital trusts should have computer systems that talk to each other.
Helping people and families to plan ahead, stay well and get support when they need it in the most appropriate way is key. People want to be: ‘listened to, trusted and taken seriously as experts of their own bodies’ and that ‘a lot of people saw social prescribing as a positive and wanted more access to this support’. We couldn’t agree more and this is central to the work we are doing.
Developing Primary Care Networks (PCNs)
We have established 56 Primary Care Networks (PCNs), designed around the diverse needs of local people, generally covering populations of 30,000 to 50,000 patients each. PCNs build on current primary care services to enable greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more joined up health and social care. They involve primary care professionals working with wider health care providers and other staff to deliver services that reflects local people’s needs.
By working at scale, they will support organisations and staff to work together to deliver effective population health management. Clinicians describe this as a ‘change from reactively providing appointments to proactively caring for the people and communities they serve’. Improving how community services are delivered is essential to achieve the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan. The joining up of primary and community care is important for our workforce, service stability and patient choice.
We will explore further opportunities for community services and voluntary and community organisations to support PCNs, building on the relationships with community providers to enhance existing community delivery methods. We will agree an approach to implementing NHS Improvement’s Community Services Operating Model Guidance, delivering improved response times, quality of care and productivity.