Intended for healthcare professionals


GPs condemn new specifications for primary care networks

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 27 January 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m258
  1. Richard Murray, chief executive
  1. King’s Fund, London, UK
  1. R.Murray{at}

Lack of capacity means the specifications are set up to fail

Back in July when primary care networks (PCNs) got off to a flying start, I warned of two key risks to this good beginning.1 The first was that these emergent PCNs would get overburdened with too many commitments, and the second that some commitments might look sensible in theory but prove too hard to implement in practice.

These risks exist because of the multiple challenges to which primary care networks are meant to be the answer: firstly, to stabilise general practice given the current workforce and morale crisis; secondly, to bridge a gap in the evolving reformed structure of the NHS by acting as the principal link between general practice and the rest of the health and care system; and, lastly, to deliver key elements of the long term plan through a set of new service specifications.

In December, NHS England and NHS Improvement released five …

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