Primary Care


Primary Care Networks were introduced in 2019 to help the NHS meet the changing needs of patients.

Durham Dales have 3x PCNs within the locality and these are Teesdale PCN, Bishop Auckland PCN and Wear Valley PCN.

What it means

Primary Care Networks are groups of GP practices working together to improve care for populations of 30,000 to 50,000 patients.

Because more people need to use more services, there has been a steady increase in GP practices working closely with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary organisations.

This is largely due to a growing and ageing population and more people living with
long-term conditions or taking more types
of medication.

PCNs formalise areas of this co-working,
and allow for clearer treatment paths for patients, as well as cost efficiencies and sharing of resources.

How it works

The size of PCNs means they benefit from economies of scale when buying resources, but can still keep a personal relationship
with patients.

Health initiatives across networks mean more consistent, holistic approaches to how conditions or issues are dealt with, and better integration into care services.
The networks allow specialist staff to work across practices, providing services individual practices couldn’t deliver individually.

How it helps


Primary Care Networks have 7 key areas within the DES which all focus on improving patients’ health.

  • Structured medication reviews – particularly aimed at reducing over prescribing.
  • Improving health of care home residents.
  • Anticipatory care – focussing on prevention of illness rather than treatment.
  • Personalised care to help people manage their own physical and mental health and wellbeing.
  • Early cancer diagnoses through full and quick uptake of screenings.
  • A Cardio-vascular disease testing programme to find undiagnosed patients.
  • Tackling inequalities.