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Community engagement key to successful Primary Care Network development

Delegates at the Primary Care Development day were told that the key to building successful Primary Care Networks is down to effective community engagement.

Speaking at the conference, Dr Mark Spencer from the award winning PCN Healthier Fleetwood explained that encouraging local people to get involved and help shape the network was the key to its success.

The Development Day, which was organised by the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Groups, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System and the King’s Fund, was held at the DoubleTree Hilton on Thursday 5 December.

The event was a fantastic opportunity to hear first-hand the latest national policy developments around PCNs, share progress on next steps within Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and explore opportunities to engage the whole system.  It brought together GPs, leaders from social care, social prescribers, clinical pharmacists, community leaders and Local Authority members.

PCN development day overview from NottinghamGP on Vimeo.

The speakers included Anna Charles and Beccy Baird, from the King’s Fund, who set out the national picture for PCN Development. They were followed by South Nottinghamshire GP Nicole Atkinson, who discussed the local development.

There were some detailed discussions around some of the key challenges and opportunities around PCN development, with delegates being invited to discuss three of a range of topics, from digital to mental health, planned to primary care, social prescribing and more. Some of the key points from discussions can be found below.

In the afternoon, it was the turn of Nottinghamshire Healthcare’s Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Chris Schofield to showcase the Primary Care Psychological Medicine Service, which started in Rushcliffe but has recently been rolled out across the South Nottinghamshire area. The service offers psychological interventions to people who have high levels of unexplained or persistent physical symptoms of illness.

Following Chris and injecting some real buzz into the room was Mark Spencer from Healthier Fleetwood. Mark’s PCN ‘Heathier Fleetwood’ recently won PCN of the Year at the 2019 General Practice Awards. The success of the strategy in Fleetwood was driven by really strong community engagement, so Mark got the audience engaged and enthused with a bit of a sing song – highlighting the power of positivity and motivation.

He says: “I think there are a couple of things that are really important. The first is to genuinely listen to your communities – the answer to improving the health of the community doesn’t just rest with healthcare, it rests with the residents themselves. And I think the second one is breaking down the organisational barriers and trying to cut through the bureaucracy which gets in the way of doing the right thing.”

The day was a great success and another big step towards achieving more joined-up working across Primary Care Networks and the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICS.

 

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