PRIMARY CARE NETWORKS ENGAGEMENT
We have been involved in the establishment of Primary Care Networks (PCNs) right from the beginning in a number of localities, leading on the workforce planning and development. The introduction of PCNs brought with it a number of challenges, which we helped to address, as well as unprecedented opportunities for system connectivity and integrated care.
We are acutely aware that PCNs have been struggling with multiple priorities, that are mainly in relation to their establishment, and expectations of them in relation to new roles and specifications. Each PCN has a Clinical Director (CD) appointed. One of the major areas of consideration for PCNs and GP Federations is workforce: both understanding it and how it needs to change and develop in order to meet the aspirations and commissioned outcomes.
There is limited information in relation to existing workforce within PCNs/GP Federations, and how certain elements of workforce development could be coordinated better with shared resources. The PCNs have unprecedented opportunities to forward the workforce development and planning agenda in their local areas both in terms of widening participation, in increasing the education and training placements, and activities to upskill their workforce. This requires careful planning and support, as well as interfacing infrastructure that involves GP Federations and PCNs.
In a number of different areas, we have been working with stakeholders to engage PCNs in workforce development agenda across health and social care. We have also been delivering targeted projects to map the current PCN based workforce and skills, and carried out training needs analyses to support them in developing their workforce to meet the changing expectations.
We can provide targeted support at GP Federation level or PCN level to assess the current workforce, map its skills-set against service expectations, identify gaps and suggest innovative solutions to address these, including maximising opportunities associated with new roles. We have also worked with individual general practices to identify training needs and develop workforce development plans in response.
NHS England, NHS Improvement and HEE defined a clear national strategic vision in Primary and Community Care Training Hubs document that was published in March 2020. It outlines ‘the ambition for training hubs to co-ordinate the education and training programmes throughout the careers of all disciplines and a commitment to further develop training hub infrastructure enabling them to:
- Support workforce planning at ICS/STP and PCN level
- Advise on, develop and deliver educational programmes to develop the workforce
- Assist in ensuring adequate capacity in the training of the primary care workforce
- Advise, develop and facilitate primary care recruitment and retention strategies
Working directly with both ICS/STPs and PCNs, training hubs should play a key role in supporting the development and delivery of workforce strategy across the system.’
Having significant experience in establishing and managing local training hubs, we can provide targeted support to training hubs to improve their understanding of PCNs in their area and establish structures to engage their PCNs in delivering a primary care driven education and training network.