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Enhanced Primary and Community Care - April 2019

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Enhanced Primary and Community Care (EPCC) update from Steve Grange, Programme Director

One of the priorities of the NHS Long Term Plan is the delivery of Primary Care Networks – networks of GP practices.

We will be submitting our finalised footprint of PCNs within Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to NHS England (NHSE) in mid-May and will be in a position to reveal more detail about the areas these will cover in July.

The NHS Long Term Plan describes a chance for practices, no matter their size to work together through PCNs and to support each other while providing improved services to patients, including weekend and evening appointments.

It aims to provide greater opportunities to GPs to work within their own demographics and offer patients a local approach to their care needs. It also enables integration of health and social services and offers NSHE funding opportunities for social prescribing.

Partners, including voluntary and community sector groups and social care are working together as part of an Integrated Care Team (ICTs) delivery group to look at the demand for community services across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and the capacity of our workforce.

ICTs bring together a range of primary, community and mental health services, alongside social care professionals and the voluntary and independent sector – enabling a coordinated approach to improving the health of the community they serve.

They will form part of a Primary Care Network and be the spine of health and care services for their local populations.

Finally, we are due to finalise and submit our Primary Care Strategy to NHSE by October. This is being developed in a cohesive way with clinicians within primary care and they will be consulted though the whole process. The document will outline the changes to contracting and workforce needs to enable PCNs to develop and new roles to emerge – providing exciting opportunities for those looking to start their career in health or those who want a change.

The strategy will also outline how we as a system plan on supporting the retention of our current GPs through integrated working and developments of the PCNs. It is hoped this will help to reduce GP appointments and free up much needed time for patient care.