Alchester Medical Group and the Bicester Primary Care Network

A Primary Care Network (PCN) exists where GP practices work together at scale in a set community area, such as the whole of Bicester, with an aim to improve the care available to all patients living there. PCNs were first introduced into the NHS structure in 2019 and there will usually be 30,000-50,000 patients covered by a PCN.

The three GP practices in Bicester collaborated for many years before the formation of PCNs, so in many respects the Bicester PCN created in 2019 is an extension of how we have always worked, for a combined patient population of over 50,000 people.  

The NHS is providing funding direct to the Bicester PCN (but NOT to the individual GP practices) to support the service requirements of a PCN and to meet, or part meet, the costs of the PCN employing specifically allowed additional staff.

To be part of a PCN, there is a requirement each year for GP practices to sign an agreed contract, called the PCN Directed Enhanced Service, or PCN DES. We must inform all our patients that Alchester Medical Group, along with Montgomery-House Surgery, will not be signing the PCN DES for 2020/21.

Both practices believe there to be significant deficiencies in terms of funding that will affect the way we work in the medium term. However, we remain very much part of the Bicester PCN with its wider objectives of collaborative working and with Bicester Health Centre, which has chosen to sign the PCN DES.

We also wish to inform all our patients that they will continue to receive the full services in the PCN DES, which include:

·       Access to additional staff, such as a Social Prescriber, Clinical Pharmacist, or Physiotherapist

·       Access to extended hours for patients’ needs

·       Support to care homes, as amended by the PCN DES

Many of these services will continue to be delivered, just as now, through our individual facilities at our premises or through a nominated site within Bicester. Our patients should not see any change to services - even if administration is different.

Additionally, in circumstances like this, the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is also obliged to ensure all patients continue to receive the services of the PCN even if their GP practice has not signed up to the PCN DES in the way we have chosen. 


Published: Sep 15, 2020