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: PrimaryCareWorkforce@nhs.net.
Links to other publications presenting healthcare workforce information can be found under Related Links.