Key points

  • From 1 July 2019, all patients in England will be covered by a primary care network (PCN) – the most significant reform to general practice in England in a generation.
  • PCNs should help to integrate primary care with secondary and community services, and bridge a gap between general practice and emerging Integrated Care Systems.
  • Since January 2019, practices have been organising themselves into local networks to provide care at greater scale by sharing staff and some of their funding.
  • While PCNs offer huge potential to integrate care and improve services, there is a risk that the speed of implementation will undermine the best intentions of the policy.

This briefing places PCNs in the context of previous changes to general practice funding and contracting. It examines the rationale for networks, explores relevant evidence and draws out intended benefits and possible risks for the future of PCNs.

Read the briefing online now

Jump to section in publication:

Cite this publication

Fisher R, Thorlby R, Alderwick H, 'Understanding primary care networks: context, benefits and risks. Health Foundation; 2019 (https://www.health.org.uk/publications/reports/understanding-primary-care-networks)

Further reading

Blog

Primary care networks: lifeboats launched on stormy seas

4 July 2019
Blog

Primary care networks (PCNs) went live on 1 July 2019. Despite their potential to improve primary...

Discover

Primary care

Discover

Primary care is usually the first point of contact for people when they need health advice or...

Briefing

Investing in The NHS long term plan

June 2019
Briefing

A briefing analysing the challenges for health and social care following the publication of the NHS...

You might also like...

Press release

Tracing positive COVID-19 cases and their contacts less successful in more deprived areas, new analysis reveals

Press release

New Health Foundation analysis reveals that tracing positive COVID-19 cases and their contacts is...

Event

Webinar: The government Spending Review

Event

Catch up on this Health Foundation webinar, analysing the key headlines from the government's...

Press release

Call to prioritise public health as analysis shows at least 77,000 premature deaths result from inequality each year

Press release

A new report by the Health Foundation says that, in the wake of the pandemic, there is a window of...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

RT @AlexanderBryson: Our new @HealthFdn survey of social #caregivers records the impact #COVID19 has had on their #jobs, livelihoods and th…

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more