We’re taking a Primary Care Network journey. Want to come along?

24 Jul 2019

By Paul Brett, Monkbar Pharmacy

Primary Care Networks (PCN) officially came into being at the beginning of July.  Liaising with our local pharmaceutical committee and supported by the National Pharmacy Association, we will actively engage with our local PCN in the months ahead.

We’re going to tweet and blog about our experiences along the way, so that you can see our highs and lows and maybe you can start your own ‘PCN Journey’ with the help of your local pharmaceutical committee.  If we can do it, you can do it too!

We own a 100 hour pharmacy inside the beautiful walled city of York. Monkbar Pharmacy was opened by me and my friend and colleague Neil, after years of dreaming of creating a pharmacy which would be designed entirely around the needs of customers.  The initial fundamental principles of going that extra mile and doing away with targets for staff, so that they are free to focus on the needs of the individual are just as strong as ever, although increasingly challenging in these times.

My wife Vikki has been with us throughout, but this year has become much more involved and is using her skills gained during a long career in the NHS, and her passion for collaborative working to forge new relationships within the local healthcare community.

Our future as a community pharmacy business is to some extent dependent on how well we engage with the local NHS on the delivery of clinical services.  The new way to get involved in England is through Primary Care Networks, so over the next few months we’re going to do our best to establish a clear understanding of what the local PCN is all about.  We’ll start to build relationships with GPs and PCN officers too, within a framework discussed with the local pharmaceutical committee.

We are co-ordinating this with our LPC, because it’s not a good idea for individual contractors to go it alone at this stage.  Recent guidance from NHS England describes how LPCs should go about engaging with PCNs and gives an indication of timeframes.

The NPA is also helping us to take this journey, including business coaching from Michael Lennox who is working for the NPA on a part time basis.  Michael has been chief exec of Somerset LPC for three years and that area is quite advanced in terms of community pharmacy engagement with LPCs – so we’re looking forward to benefitting from his experience there.  We’ve never been on this journey before, so it’s great to have the NPA help navigate this for us.

Watch out for our blogs and social media posts (#mypcnjourney) from September.  InPharmacy magazine will also be regularly reporting our progress over the next 12 months.

Right to left: Monkbar Pharmacy’s Paul Brett, Vikki Furneaux and Neil Withycombe

Join NPA members Paul Brett and Vikki Furneaux as they embark on their ‘Primary Care Network journey’. They will be providing regular updates over the next year about their progress engaging with their PCN in Yorkshire. Learning from their experience, your own PCN journey may be made easier.