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Primary Care Networks – publication of Organisational Data Service (ODS) codes

ODS codes and relationship data for Primary Care Networks across England - published on 25 November 2019

NHS Digital have published ODS codes for all Primary Care Networks (PCNs).

In addition to the PCN codes, ODS data will include information on the:

  • core partner relationships from practices to PCNs
  • relationship between the PCN and a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

Please note:

  • where a PCN crosses more than 1 CCG boundary, ODS data will only identify the lead/main CCG, as data restrictions will only allow 1 CCG to parent a PCN
  • the relationship type between PCN and CCG will be a commissioning relationship in ODS data - this is being included to support future proofing to facilitate prescribing in the event this is agreed, and which is currently being considered - however, the contractual commissioning relationship for PCNs remains between the relevant CCG or NHS England local team and the individual GP Practices within the PCN

The information published by NHS Digital can be accessed in accordance with the routes outlined in section 1, which will provide live data. NHS Digital will publish on a monthly basis, an excel spreadsheet containing information for all PCNs and a specification providing information on what the file contains and how the data is maintained. The excel spreadsheet will provide mapping information for practices to PCNs, PCNs to CCGs and which PCNs cross CCG boundaries.  

From 25 November 2019 onwards, the clustering functionality in the Calculating Quality and Reporting Service (CQRS) must no longer be used by CCGs to manage PCN – practice relationships changes. This functionality will be disabled. Instead CCGs are to inform ODS as per the information outlined in section 3.  

Where to find the PCN ODS code and information

PCN ODS codes will be 6-character codes, all starting with a ‘U’ followed by 5 numbers, for example, U12345. You can look up PCN ODS codes from any of the following:

ODS Portal 

The ODS Portal can be accessed by anyone to lookup ODS codes. To search for your PCN code you can click on ‘Organisation Search’ and enter all or part of your PCN name into the ‘name’ search field. Alternatively, to return a list of all PCNs coded to date, you can select ‘Primary Care Network’ from the drop-down list in the ‘Type’ field.

ODS website (excel spreadsheet) 

ODS will be publishing all allocated PCN codes in a temporary excel spreadsheet which will be available on our website - the file, called epcn, can be found in the table and was uploaded 5 December 2019. It should be noted that in general, ODS will be moving away from .csv and xls publications by November 2021 and will only publish organisation data in XML format (via the ODS API – see below).

ODS API 

The ODS Application Programming Interface (API) offers another mechanism from which to obtain the details of PCN codes (although it is a more technical solution than the above). You can query the ODS API to return details of all coded PCNs.

Information on which PCNs are providing cover to a non-DES participating practices population

The PCN ODS data will not include information on which PCN is providing cover to a non-DES participating practice. This coverage is being obtained via local commissioning arrangements and as such will not feature within the PCN ODS data. 

Amending PCN code/data

NHS England and Improvement, NHS Digital and NHSX have agreed a change management process for PCN coding changes, PCN data changes or nominated payee changes.

A PCN ODS Change Instruction Notice should be completed by the lead commissioner to inform ODS of approved changes to PCN data. The completed form should be submitted to ODS by a member of the relevant primary care commissioning team via the Exeter Helpdesk at: exeter.helpdesk@nhs.net. This form should be used to:

  • request a code for a new PCN, set up its core network practices, lead commissioner and nominated payee
  • make changes to existing PCN details – including changing:
    • a PCN name (in line with naming convention guidance)
    • a PCN address
    • the PCN lead commissioner
    • core network practices joining or leaving the PCN
    • the PCN nominated payee (name and ODS code of the new nominated payee must be provided, along with the date that the new payee takes over and any resulting change in the PCN address and postcode)
  • close existing PCN codes
Last edited: 4 February 2021 4:32 pm