A major programme of work is underway to help Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) develop their Primary Care Network (PCN) estate strategies in line with national guidance and ultimately improve services for patients.
National guidance states integrated primary care providers need modern, efficient, reliable, and well-maintained buildings, equipped with the latest technologies, to enable their practices to develop, expand patient services and cope with future demands.
The NHS Long Term Plan sets out how GP practices would be funded to work together as PCNs to cope with pressures in primary care and extend a range of local services, creating integrated teams of GPs, community health and social care staff, and bring some hospital-based services into the community.
The plan also includes how PCNs need to respond to the population health of their communities and estate optimisation is key to this.
Now, Citycare has been commissioned to work with local CCGs to support the development of PCN estate strategies and look at how they could work together to inform investment decision making, assess estates and suitability, and make recommendations on change and improvement.
The team’s work locally complements and aligns national work being carried out by Community Health Partnerships (CHP) to develop the PCN Toolkit, which will benefit the primary care sector in a similar way in the future.
Caroline Havler, Senior Consultant at Citycare, said: “This is a new variation of our strategy work and demonstrates how we’re able to work flexibly to move with the times, working in partnership with CHP and NHS England.
“We understand the current changes facing the NHS and we’re responding using our existing strategy expertise, helping PCNs to get their estates ready to address overall population health.
“This includes reviewing existing estates, space, staff, services and potential level of investment needed to support future plans and growth, analysing that information, and offering the best recommendations and solutions at a PCN level.
“We appreciate one of the biggest challenges facing PCNs is around ensuring they have enough clinical space to accommodate additional roles and this work is helping them to assess the best estates solution for that.”
Chris Clarke, Senior Commissioning Manager (North East and Yorkshire) at NHS England and NHS Improvement, which is leading the work nationally, said: “We have found it very helpful to work with Citycare to support the development of PCN Estate Strategies.
“Each PCN grouping is unique and has different challenges in terms of its accommodation.
“However, Citycare, as a trusted NHS partner, has been able to work effectively with local PCNs and utilise their expertise in estates and strategy development to support the PCNs to progress their own PCN Estate Strategies.
“This will ultimately help inform strategic estate needs and the investment decision making process going forward.”