PCN (Primary Care Network)

PCN logo 1

Since the NHS was created in 1948, the population has grown. Many people are living with long term conditions such as diabetes and heart disease or suffer with mental health issues and may need to access their local health services more often.

To meet these needs, GP practices are working together with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas in groups of practices known as primary care networks (PCNs).

Non-urgent advice: First Contact Physiotherapist

The role of First Contact Physiotherapists (FCPs) in Primary Care is to assess patients with soft tissue, muscle andjoint pain and to decide on the most appropriate management pathway. FCPs are physiotherapists with expertise inthe assessment and management of Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. They may also be known as AdvancedPractice Physiotherapists (APP) or MSK Practitioners.
If you are unsure where to direct patients, please discuss with your FCP and they will be happy to advise you.

    All soft tissue injuries, sprains, strains or sports injuries
    Arthritis - any joint
    Possible problems wuth muscles, ligaments, tendonsor bone, eg tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome,ankle sprains
    Spinal Pain including lower back pain, mid-back painand neck pain
    Spinal-related pain in arms or legs, including nervesymptoms, eg pins and needles or numbness
    Changes to walking
    Post-orthopaedic surgery



Acutely unwell Children under 16
Medical management of rheumatoid conditions
Women's health, antenatal and postnatal problems
House-bound patients
Medication reviews
Neurological and respiratory conditions
Acute mental health crisies
Patients who do not want to see a FCP


Non-urgent advice: Clinical Pharmacist

How can a Clinical Pharmacist help you?

They undertake asthma and COPD reviews. Ensuring patients get the most out of their inhalers and to monitor if their condition is under control with their current therapy and also counsel patients on inhaler techniques.

They also review medication.

Review of the holistic approach of the entire medication.

Patient’s understanding of their medication.

Optimising of doses to achieve targets for blood pressure, cholesterol and HbA1c amongst others.

Being patient centric they ask about side effects, understand patient concerns, needs and wants; this couldalso result in referring patients to other PCN services such as social prescribing and chair based exercises.
The CP’s are involved in therepeat medicationprocess
They deal with medication relatedqueries including finding alternatives when medication
Medication reviews are also completed for new patients
CP’s also provide exercising and diet advice, inform patients of smoking cessation services in the borough

Non-urgent advice: Health & Wellbeing Coaches

Help with self-identified existing issues and encourage proactive

prevention of new and existing illnesses
support with personal choice and positive risk taking

Support to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to

Become active participants in your own care to reach your health and wellbeing goals

Access to self-management education, peer support and multiple sessions for coaching and motivation through support to identify your needs, set goals and help you implement
your personalised health and care plan

Non-urgent advice: Phlebotomist

Phlebotomy technicians collect blood from patients and prepare the samples for testing.

Check with the practice which day this service is available

Quick 10 minute appointments

Results will come straight to thepractice within
5-10 working days

Non-urgent advice: Social Prescriber

What is Social Prescribing?
Social Prescribing involves helping patients to improve their health, wellbeing and social welfare by connecting them to community services run by the council or a local charity. It does this by focusing on 'what matters to me'.

How we can help YOU

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Food Bank
  • Finance
  • Immigration
  • Carers Support
  • Social Isolation


> GP refers patient to a social prescriber

> Social prescriber arranges a consultation with the patient

> The social prescriber and the patient identify  patient needs together

> Social prescriber then refers the patient to relevant services within their local community

> The social prescriber arranges follow up appointments with the patient (up to four appointments)

Non-urgent advice: Podiatrist

Did you know that there is a PODIATRY service available at your GP Practice?

What YOU need to do

  • Call your GP Practice
  • Tell them what your foot issue is
  • Attend your appointment

Appointments are 30 mins long. If the podiatrist is unable to help you, they will refer you to the right people.


Common foot problems

  • Foot pain at the heel, mid or forefoot
  • Nail problems and skin conditions affecting the feet including corns and calluses
  • In-growing toe nails
  • Foot related problems including wounds for Diabetic patients
  • Problems with circulation


Non-urgent advice: Physician Associate

Physician associates are healthcare professionals, with a generalist clinical education, who work alongside GPs to provide care as part of the multidisciplinary team. They provide care for the presenting patient from initial history taking and clinical assessment through to diagnosis, treatment, and evaluation. Whilst physician associates currently do not have prescribing rights prescribe, they can prepare prescriptions for GPs to sign. Apprentice physician associates undertaking approved training can be employed by PCNs under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme from April 2023.

Physician associates:

  • Demonstrate critical thinking in the clinical decision-making process, including assessment and diagnostic skills, leading to the delivery of safe care for all patients.
  • Work collaboratively with the practice team to meet the needs of the patients, supporting the delivery of policy and procedures.
  • Provide a holistic and clinical service, with support from GPs as required, implementing agreed management plans, and following approved protocols as appropriate.

Non-urgent advice: Dietician

Dietitians diagnose and treat diet and nutritional problems, both at an individual patient and wider public health level. Working in a variety of settings with patients of all ages, dietitians support changes to food intake to address diabetes, food allergies, coeliac disease, and metabolic diseases. Dietitians also translate public health and scientific research on food, health, and disease into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.

Non-urgent advice: Paramedic

A paramedic in primary care can provide a rapid response to deteriorating patients and patients with long-term conditions, minor injuries, and minor illness. They can also support patients who require wound care, have fallen, have musculoskeletal problems, and have urinary tract or respiratory infections. Paramedics can supply a range of medicines through patient group directions, including antibiotics and analgesics.

Paramedics can support PCNs in responding to on the day demand by offering telephone triage or undertaking home visiting. They can also support PCNs to improve access to care by managing minor ailments and seeing patients in care homes.