From July, patients visiting their GP Practice in the BOB ICS area  (covering Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West),  will be offered enhanced access to health care services, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan through the creation of Primary Care Networks (PCN).

PCNs typically serve communities of around 30,000 to 50,000 and are where GP practices work together and with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services, to provide health and social care in their local areas.

This means they should be small enough to provide the personal care valued by both patients and health care professionals, but large enough to have impact and economies of scale through better collaboration between practices and others in the local health and social care systems

By giving more people access to different types of health and social care through their GPs, the new PCNs will free up family doctors to devote more time and attention to the sickest patients.

Smaller GP practices will be more sustainable as they can share resources through the wider PCN.

As well as more convenient access to treatment without the need for a lengthy referral, GPs and other health professionals will be supported to do more to tackle killer conditions like cancer, heart disease and diabetes, while also offering more support for people with conditions like depression and anxiety, by basing mental health therapists in surgeries.

Dr Nikki Kanani, a GP and NHS England’s Acting Medical Director for Primary Care, added:

“People in the BOB ICS area will benefit from access to more convenient and specialist care through their local GP Practice.   

“As part of the Long Term Plan for the NHS, GP surgeries large and small will be working together to deliver more specialist services to patients.

“The extra investment, additional staff and more convenient care will be a game-changer for NHS patients in the BOB ICS area and across the country. Family doctors are coming together in networks which will not only deliver better care, but a more efficient use of vital NHS resources.”

Rachel Thompson, GPFV SRO & Transformation Lead for BOB ICS says: “Setting up primary care networks across BOB ICS, is the foundation of improvements to NHS services set out in its Long Term Plan published in January.

“To help family doctors deliver improved care, a new landmark agreement between GPs and national NHS leaders will see additional funding of £4.5 billion and the recruitment of 20,000 members of staff to support GP Practices, building on the increase of more than 5,000 extra practice staff working with GPs over the past four years”.