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NHS England finalises its guidance for Primary Care Networks

30th November 2020

The PCN Development Support Guidance and Prospectus originally published in August 2019 has just been updated.

The new document [ad link] sets out the national PCN development priorities for the remainder of 2020 and 2021.  It also provides guidance as to how the £43.7m of national funding should be used to support PCN development particularly given the huge additional challenges brought about by COVID-19.

We thought it would be useful to summarise the key points.

  1. PCN development priorities

The main priorities for funding include

  1. Funding

Independent Clinical Services (ICSs) and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) will be responsible for PCN development and delivering the priorities set out above.

Meanwhile, system and place primary care leaders will have to work closely with PCN Clinical Directors.  Together they will decide which priorities are most pressing so they can apportion the funding to best meet their specific needs and implement the governance that will be needed to meet those priorities.

These discussions will also need to cover what percentage of the funding will be spent on leadership development support for PCN Clinical Directors and agree at what level support will need to be delivered to make the process cost-efficient.

The document also confirms that when it comes to funding, the 19/20 guidance still applies. This means that funding should be used to support development (and the different types of support are outlined below under ‘PCN development support domains’) rather than to pay for delivery of services or other operating costs.

  1. Governance

The NHSE/I Regions will be responsible for making sure funding is being used properly in line with both the agreed priorities and parameters.  These parameters are set out within the new document.

  1. PCN development support domains

The report also sets out the additional support domains that will be provided for PCNs so they can achieve the NHS’ overarching objective – a shared purpose to improve outcomes for people and patients by developing thriving primary care networks.

These six domains have been specifically designed to support organisational development, PCN set-up, leadership development, social prescribing and asset-based community development, greater collaborative working, and population health management.

As always if you have any questions regarding this report or the financial management of your Primary Care Network please contact our specialist medical team on 0116 2827000 or email us at or you can contact the NHS’ PCN development team direct by emailing


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