Arc Primary Care and Primary Care Networks

In recent years there have been ongoing efforts across primary care to find ways of connecting practices. The aim has been to achieve efficiencies and improvements in services that cannot be attained by practices working alone.

Arc Primary Care is an example of such a network. We are a ‘federation’ of Chesterfield GP practices who proactively created a business to act as a vehicle for collaborative working.

In 2019, NHS England, who had been watching and assessing the various efforts nationwide, determined that networks were a valuable tool. They therefore mandated their creation across England and Wales, specifying certain characteristics, and calling them Primary Care Networks.

Within the given parameters, practices were afforded the freedom to choose with whom they would partner. The same Chesterfield practices who had formed Arc, decided they would be happy to further combine within a PCN. An approach was then made to the group by three practices in Dronfield. This was well received by the Chesterfield group, who felt that a larger Network would lead to better results, and the Dronfield practices were consequently included.

At the time of writing (February 2020) the Chesterfield and Dronfield PCN is in the final stages of setting up. A Network manager will be starting on the 24th and recruitment into a number of predetermined clinical roles has already begun.

Derbyshire and Derby Clinical Commissiong Group have published their own summary of what PCNs are, and how they have been formed in this area shown on the link below.

Whilst Arc Primary Care and the PCN are not the same organisation, there will be a close relationship between to the two, and as such.


PCN Summary

Below is some more information about Primary Care Networks as published by NHS England:

Since the NHS was created in 1948, the population has grown and people are living longer. Many people are living with long term conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, or suffer with mental health issues and may need to access their local health services more often.

To meet these needs, practices have begun working together and with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas in primary care networks.

Primary care networks build on the core of current primary care services and enable greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care. Clinicians describe this as a change from reactively providing appointments to proactively care for the people and communities they serve. Where emerging primary care networks are in place in parts of the country, there are clear benefits for patients and clinicians.

Refreshing NHS Plans for 2018-19 set out the ambition for CCGs to actively encourage every practice to be part of a local primary care network so that these cover the whole country as far as possible by the end of 2018/19. Primary care networks will be based on GP registered lists, typically serving natural communities of around 30,000 to 50,000. They should be small enough to provide the personal care valued by both patients and GPs, but large enough to have impact and economies of scale through better collaboration between practices and others in the local health and social care system.

Find out more through case studies from across the country where primary care networks are already making a difference to staff and patients.

Watch a short animation that explains the concept of primary care networks (PCNs) and how this new way of working enables health and other services to work together to provide better access for patients.


Case Studies