Skip to main content
Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. More about the merger.

Publication, Part of

Primary Care Network Workforce 31 March 2021

Current Chapter

Primary Care Network Workforce 31 March 2021

NHS geography updates

There have been changes to the NHS England and Improvement regional structure since this release. From 1st July 2022, Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) were established as statutory bodies replacing CCGs and STPs. From the Primary Care Network Workforce, 30 June 2022 publication, data is instead aggregated to Sub-ICB Location, and ICB level. These geography updates also involved boundary changes, with some Primary Care Networks (PCNs) moving to different Sub-ICB Locations and ICBs than they would previously have been situated.

In order to have a consistent and comparable time series at regional level, Individual-level CSVs for all periods back to March 2020 were reproduced as part of the 30 June 2022 release, with PCNs and Sub-ICB Locations remapped to reflect this latest structure. National totals are unaffected by this remapping but some figures at Sub-ICB (previously CCG) and ICB (previously STP) levels may differ to those previously published.

The regional bulletin tables 2a and 2b presented here reflect the old structure. Therefore, users are encouraged to use the remapped CSV files released with the 30 June 2022 publication for historical regional primary care network workforce figures. 

1 July 2022 00:00 AM


Primary Care Networks were created in July 2019 to provide accessible and integrated primary, mental health, and community care for patients. The PCN contract is a Directed Enhanced Service and aims to increase the primary care workforce by 26,000 by 2024. The bulk of the PCN workforce consists of Direct Patient Care staff, funded by the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS), and each PCN has the flexibility and autonomy to determine which roles are required to meet the specific needs of their local populations. Initially, recruitment focused on clinical pharmacists and social prescribing link workers, with more roles being included over subsequent years.

Information about the PCN workforce is provided directly by each PCN, and recorded in the National Workforce Reporting System (NWRS) which is the same system that is used to collect information about the GP practice workforce. This collection tool will be replaced by a new and more intuitive collection system later in 2021, but will continue to collect the same data items.

This is the fifth publication of information relating to the Primary Care Network (PCN) workforce and complements figures in the General Practice Workforce series of Official Statistics. The report includes England, CCG and PCN-level figures for Clinical Directors, Direct Patient Care Workers and Admin/Non-Clinical staff working in PCNs at 31 March 2021.

The level of detail in the information that we can collect about each individual varies, as there are different ways that individuals can be contracted to work for their PCN.

Some staff work directly for the PCN, including Clinical Directors, administrative workers, and some Direct Patient Care staff. These individuals may have been newly recruited to the PCN, or could be staff transferring some or all of their working hours from a GP practice or other organisation.

Alternatively, an individual may be employed by a member organisation within the PCN – such as a hospital trust or charity – and deployed to work for the PCN.

In both cases, details about the staff member, including the hours worked for the PCN, are recorded in the NWRS.

However, in some cases, a role – for example a physiotherapist – is not staffed permanently by a specific individual. Instead, the working hours are covered by a group of physiotherapists, employed by another organisation such as the local CCG, and deployed to the PCN as a “contracted service,” which up until the September 2020 release were referred to in this publication series as “pooled resource”. In these cases, the providing organisation holds a contract with the PCN to deliver the physiotherapy service and supplies appropriately qualified staff, possibly on a rota’d basis. Where the healthcare provision is covered by a contracted service of this nature, it is not possible to identify the separate individuals working within the PCN and in these cases, the PCN provides us with information about the average weekly working hours covered by that “contracted service”. This means that although we can calculate proxy full-time equivalent (FTE) figures relating to the service, that no information about headcount or workforce characteristics can be inferred. This means that headcount figures presented in the accompanying Bulletin do not include provision from these “contracted services.”

We are working continually to improve our publications and we welcome feedback from all users by email to: [email protected]

Links to other publications presenting healthcare workforce information can be found under Related Links.

Last edited: 29 March 2023 1:32 pm