Primary Care Network

Richmondshire Primary Care Network (PCN) is an NHS collaboration between eight Richmondshire GP practices who are working together with other health and care providers in the Richmondshire area to improve access to health and care services and information for local people.

What is a Primary Care Network?

Since the NHS was created in 1948, the population has grown, and people are living longer. 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, practices have started working together and with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas in primary care networks.

Primary care networks (PCNs) build on the core of current primary care services and enable greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care. Clinicians describe this as a change from reactively providing appointments to proactively care for the people and communities they serve. Since PCNs began to form in 2019, there are clear benefits for patients and clinicians.

Primary care networks are based on GP registered lists, typically serving natural communities of around 30,000 to 50,000. They should be small enough to provide the personal care valued by both patients and GPs, but large enough to have impact and economies of scale through better collaboration between practices and others in the local health and social care system.

PCNs form a key building block of the NHS long-term plan. Bringing general practices together to work at scale has been a policy priority for some years for a range of reasons, including improving the ability of practices to recruit and retain staff; to manage financial and estates pressures; to provide a wider range of services to patients and to integrate with the wider health and care system more easily. In addition, PCN funding provides the opportunity to recruit a more diverse skill mix into general practice, through recruitment of roles such as first contact physiotherapists, social prescribers and physician assistants.

The Richmondshire area

Richmondshire is an historic county centred on the valleys of Swaledale and Wensleydale in the north-western corner of Yorkshire. There are many wonderful things to see and do across Richmondshire with its breath-taking landscapes, fascinating history and excellent local food and drink.

Richmondshire is the most ethnically diverse and sparsely populated district of North Yorkshire, the local communities we serve are diverse and reflect many places and interests across the area. The military population in Catterick Garrison accounts for one fifth of the total population. The upper dales of the district are sparsely populated sheep-rearing country, but, as they open eastward, livestock-farming opportunities become greater. Swaledale gives its name to a well-known breed of hardy sheep, and Wensleydale is famous for its cheese, now factory-processed at Hawes. The stone farmhouses and small towns, which include former lead-mining centres such as Hawes and Askrigg, and Reeth situated among the stunning vistas of Swaledale are frequented by tourists. Yorkshire Dales National Park covers a large part of the district. Richmond is the main tourist and service centre, and Leyburn, in Wensleydale, has the largest livestock market.

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