News & Views overview

Unique analytical tool bolsters increased work with Primary Care Networks

Pioneering technology is enabling Citycare to support Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in developing their Primary Care Network (PCN) estate strategies in a major programme of work to improve services for patients.

Strategic Health Asset Planning and Evaluation (SHAPE) is an analytical evidence-based tool which informs and supports the strategic planning of services and assets across the local and national health economy. It helps commissioners to configure services to best meet the needs of the local population.

Created by Citycare sister company Parallel, the team has now created a bespoke analytical tool within SHAPE which enables CCGs to assess the capacity of General Practitioners (GPs) within a Primary Care Network (PCN) and benchmark against other areas.

It also looks at future needs based on population numbers and enables NHS teams to forward plan, ensuring maximum efficiency in buildings, staff, and services.

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.

Working in partnership with Parallel, Citycare has been commissioned to support CCGs across the Humber region in the business development of their 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 regionally 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.

Nikola Idle, Associate Director at Citycare, said: “One example of the work we’re doing is helping CCGs and, in turn, the relevant PCNs to look at whether they’re using their existing buildings efficiently or whether they need to expand.

“They have had to consider more digital appointments post-Covid and due to a shortage of GPs there are more support roles, and more staff require more space.

“This work helps CCGs to understand where they should invest in their estates and we’re very excited to work with Parallel, using this bespoke tool to achieve positive solutions.”

Ashley Clough, Creative Director at Parallel, said: “We’re providing CCGs with the ability to assess and benchmark the capacity of GPs within their PCNs.

“This sophisticated data tool offers flexible solutions and helps to explore multiple evidence-based options to meet population needs.

“Parallel brings the data analysis expertise to this programme of work and Citycare brings its extensive estates knowledge and the excellent relationships it has with its clients.

“We’re merging our skill sets to provide a wider picture of what the data shows both locally and nationally.”

News & Views overview