Primary Care Networks (PCNs)

NHS England has significant ambitions for Primary Care Networks (PCNs), with the expectation that they will be a key vehicle for delivering many of the commitments in the long-term plan and providing a wider range of services to patients. The networks will provide the structure and funding for these services to be developed locally, in response to the needs of the patients they serve.

PCNs are based on general practice registered lists, typically serving natural communities of around 30,000 to 50,000 patients. They should be small enough to provide the personal care valued by both patients and healthcare professionals, but large enough to have impact and economies of scale through better collaboration between general practices and others in the local health and social care system, including community pharmacies. It is important that community pharmacy teams are fully involved in the work of their PCN.

Community Pharmacy PCN Leads  

Community Pharmacy PCN Leads were introduced as part of the Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS) in 2020 under a limited scope of flu vaccinations. This was removed from PQS in 2022. Community pharmacy is an integral part of the NHS and has a vital role to play as a full partner within a Primary Care Network (PCN).

NHS Sussex and NHS Surrey Heartlands have recognized the importance of the PCN lead role as a crucial element to support integration at a PCN Level and therefore have provided funding for these roles.

The Community Pharmacy PCN Lead has an important role in shaping engagement between pharmacies and other healthcare professionals in the PCN and will:

  • Provide a single channel of engagement with the PCN, building collaborative working relationships with relevant PCN members.
  • Identify opportunities for pharmacies in the PCN area and assist the LPC, and other relevant LPCs, with the development of community pharmacy service proposals to meet local population health needs.
  • Become a champion of community pharmacy within the PCN, helping to ensure community pharmacy plays a significant role in delivering healthcare services within the community.
  • Identify key priorities and capacity constraints in the PCN area by getting together with your pharmacy colleagues in the area and discussing how your skills, and the services they could provide, would support the PCN to address their health inequalities.

The Community Pharmacy PCN Leads will be supported by the Service Development and Support Lead at Community Pharmacy Surrey and Sussex.

This short NHS England animation explains the concept of PCNs and how this new way of working enables health and other services to work together to provide better access for patients.


More information