Primary Care Networks

Whether you're a Primary Care Network Clinical Director, or a local pharmacist looking to work more closely with your local GP practices, this is the place to find out all about what Community Pharmacy can do in collaboration with our other primary care colleagues. 

Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan, with general practices and community pharmacies being a part of a network, typically covering 30,000-50,000 patients. The networks will provide the structure and funding for services to be developed locally, in response to the needs of the patients they serve.

The networks will have expanded neighbourhood teams which will comprise a range of staff such as GPs, clinical pharmacists, district nurses, community geriatricians, dementia workers and Allied Health Professionals such as physiotherapists and podiatrists/chiropodists, joined by social care and the voluntary sector’.

Future of Community Pharmacy

 Primary Care Networks (PCNs) will bring health & care professionals together to provide joined-up primary and community-based care in line with the NHS Long Term Plan. Unlike previous plans the role of Community Pharmacy features heavily. Our contribution and our potential have been recognised.

This NHS England film below outlines more

PCNs will build on current services by enabling primary & community care to become more proactive, personalized, coordinated, and integrated.
 Likely to cover populations of 30,000-50,000 people & to be based around GP lists.
Typical PCN includes approx. 5 GP practices & 8 community pharmacies.
Small enough to be personal but large enough to enable other services that can’t be provided in individual GP practices 
(e.g. physio, mental health, social prescribing?).
Across North of Tyne we have 17 identified PCNs working across 3 Localities. 
Download NoT PCN and Lead information

Why do community pharmacy contractors need to engage?

 Your survival as pharmacies depends on it, because of the interdependence relationship between PCNs and Community Pharmacies going forward.

You will have greater control and influence over local medicine optimisation decisions by engaging in PCNs.

PCNs gives you the potential to take on a greater paid role of managing patient’s condition locally and develop existing service… maximising your income potential.

PCNs will be the local focus for primary care provision & potential future local sub-contracting, getting involved now helps secure your future.

PCNs will bring opportunities Community Pharmacy, but only via if you engage, collectively with other pharmacies. The time of collaborative working as opposed to competition is upon us.

The role of community pharmacy PCN Lead

 The community pharmacy PCN Lead must:

Act in good faith, for the benefit of all NHS community pharmacy contractors in the PCN

Provide leadership for the community pharmacies in the PCN to help them develop and implement a collaborative approach to engagement with the PCN

Work closely with the key members of staff of the other pharmacies in the PCN to discuss and describe how community pharmacy can support the PCN to achieve local targets, aligned to national NHS priorities

Develop relationships and work closely with the PCN clinical director, other community pharmacy PCN Leads, clinical leaders of other primary care providers, health and social care providers, local commissioners and the LPC

Manage and declare any conflicts of interest and maintain the confidentiality of any PCN information, as appropriate

Provide regular and timely reports on relevant developments within the PCN to contractors in the PCN area and the LPC

Adhere to any general guidance on the role of the community pharmacy PCN Lead issued by PSNC and/or NHS England and NHS Improvement

Only make decisions on behalf of other community pharmacy contractors in the PCN area with the agreement of all those contractors.

Pharmacy Quality Scheme (PQS)

 It is important that community pharmacy teams are fully involved in the work of their PCN and this is being encouraged via the Pharmacy Quality Scheme.

Part 2 of QPS formally commenced on 1st October 2020 and declaration for Part 2 of the scheme is to be made via MYS from 01/022021 to 26/022021. 
For the PCN element 2 domains apply:

PCN Prevention

Contractor must engage with PCN Lead to communicate they would like to get involved in increasing the uptake of influenza vaccinations to patients 65 and over e.g. copy of emails or messages to PCN Lead could be kept as evidence.Contractor to provide information of PCN Lead when declaring on MYS portal.

Keep as evidence the number of over 65 influenza vaccinations carried out by contractor per month in 2019/2020 season and 2020/2021 season to show an increase in vaccinations given.

PCN- Business Continuity

Contractors to ensure they have a business continuity plan in place and ensure these are communicated with the PCN Lead to facilitate a coordinated response with other contractors and Gp’s if a temporary closure occurred. Copy of BCP as evidence and document of conversations with or email sent to PCN Lead

For this domain PCN Leads will need to engage with the Clinical Director as well as engaging with pharmacies. The LPC will be facilitating some of this to help Leads and Pharmacies achieve their points in this domain. Please keep an eye out for communication from your PCN Lead.

Further resources

·  Primary Care Networks (PCNs) : PSNC Main site


PSNC Briefing 030/20: Pharmacy Quality Scheme – Guidance for LPCs on the Primary Care Network domains

PSNC Briefing 030/20: Pharmacy Quality Scheme – Guidance for LPCs on the Primary Care Network domains (October 2020)


 PSNC Briefing 031/20: Pharmacy Quality Scheme- Guidance for pharmacy contractors on the PCN domains

PSNC Briefing 031/20: Pharmacy Quality Scheme – Guidance for pharmacy contractors on the PCN domains : PSNC Main site


PSNC Briefing 032/20: Pharmacy Quality Scheme- Guidance for Pharmacy PCN Leads on the Primary Care Network domains

PSNC Briefing 032/20: Pharmacy Quality Scheme – Guidance for Pharmacy PCN Leads on the Primary Care Network domains (October 2020)


North of Tyne LPC support for our PCN leads....

Promoting PCN Lead selection by PCN pharmacies to maintain a full complement of  Leads.

Held 2 x virtual training sessions in July. Excellent attendance (16/17 95%), excellent feedback- successful, provided leads with direction and drive.

Provided follow up training support materials- focusing on key areas identified as areas of concern- engagement and communication.

Access NoT PCN Lead Resources