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The rise of primary care networks

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 21 January 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l304
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

Community networks centred on groups of general practices are one of the major tenets of the NHS’s long term plan. Gareth Iacobucci looks at how these groups are developing and what will be needed to make them a success

What are they?

Small networks of neighbouring general practices working together in multidisciplinary teams, typically serving around 30 000 to 50 000 people. They are designed to be small enough to retain the personal care and continuity provided by individual practices but large enough to offer a wider range of services by pooling some staff and resources. They aim to foster better collaboration among practices, pharmacists, district nurses, physiotherapists, social care, the voluntary sector, and others. They are not statutory bodies, and they differ from GP federations, which are usually larger provider groups that cover populations of around 200 000. GP leaders describe primary care networks as “delivery units” that support general practice and in which services are embedded. “The principle is to build it around a population where people know one another, and the clinicians working within that area can develop relationships across that area and support one another,” says Richard Vautrey, chair of the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee. …

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