The landscape is changing within the NHS, and as with any agency, change brings another load of acronyms – the shorthand for new structures and concepts. Here, I will try to explain two: ICS and PCN.
Integrated Care System (ICS) has been around for a while
Within Berkshire West, the ICS is a partnership of Berkshire West CCG, the Royal Berkshire Hospital Foundation Trust, Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust and four GP Alliances. The ICS also works closely with the South Central Ambulance Trust (SCAS).
“An Integrated Care System is one in which local NHS organisations in partnership with other organisations take on joint responsibility for resources and the health of the local population, providing joined up, better coordinated care.
This is not a new layer of management, but a way for existing NHS organisations – hospitals, GPs, community and mental health teams – to work together more closely. By doing this we can better coordinate the services we provide, agree system-wide priorities based on long-term need, and take shared responsibility for managing resources.”
Find out more about Berkshire West ICS
Primary Care Network (PCN) is a newer term
A PCN is a community multi-disciplinary team based on neighbouring GP practices that work together, typically covering 30,000 to 50,000 people. The expanded neighbourhood teams will comprise a range of staff such as GPs, pharmacists, district nurses, community geriatricians, dementia workers and Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) such as physiotherapists and podiatrists/chiropodists, joined by social care and the voluntary sector.
Find out more about PCNs
Watch a short video explaining more about PCNs – what they are and how they work.