Report to:

East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC)


Date of meeting:


2 March 2023


Assistant Chief Executive



Primary Care Networks (PCNs), Emotional Wellbeing Services and mental health funding


To provide an overview of Primary Care Networks in East Sussex.


The Committee is recommended to note the report and consider whether to include any further work on this topic in the Committee’s future work programme.

1.            Background

1.1.        The Health Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) has received a number of reports at its previous meetings which explored primary care services, covering areas including access to GP appointments and surgeries, access to NHS Dentistry and an update on the eHubs pilot and other work to improve access to primary care in East Sussex.

1.2.        The report in appendix 1 provides an overview of Primary Care Networks (PCNs), including information on Emotional Wellbeing Services that are being established within PCNs.

2.            Supporting information

2.1.        PCNs are groupings of local general practices that are a mechanism for sharing staff and collaborating while maintaining the independence of individual practices. These groupings started from 1 July 2019 and there are 12 PCNs in East Sussex, covering everyone in the county. The geographical footprint of each PCN and details of the GP practices included within them are included in annex b and c of appendix 1.

2.2.        The main nationally set ambitions for PCNs are to:

·      take collective action – with system partners – to address the wider determinants of health,

·      provide increased levels of joined up and coordinated care,

·      become more proactive; using predictive tools to better support people to stay healthy,

·      provide a differentiated support offer to individuals, thus reducing inequalities and supporting them to take charge of their own health and wellbeing, and

·      attract and retain a multidisciplinary workforce.

2.3.        PCNs should draw on the expertise of staff already employed by their constituent practices and receive funding to employ additional staff under an Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS). The ARRS scheme provides funding for additional roles across the PCN to create multi-disciplinary teams. The drive to broaden the professionals who can work in primary care teams is intended to take pressure off GPs and practice nurses but also develop the services that are offered.

2.4.        The report includes examples of new clinical models and approaches PCNs across East Sussex are developing. This includes Bexhill PCN having established a hub to Support Adolescent and Young Persons Health (SAYPH), a safe space for young people aged 11-16 years to come together, socialise, relax, and link in with healthcare professionals who are actively supporting young people and referring them on to other services as appropriate and can support any young person who is waiting for contact from the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). The report also highlights Emotional Wellbeing Services models of population based mental health care being developed across PCN footprints which bring clinical Mental Health Practitioners alongside non-clinical Mental Health Support Coordinators within every PCN, with the aim to provide easy and timely access to mental health support at a neighbourhood level.

2.5.        The report also outlines how PCNs are tackling health inequalities and personalising care in their areas, as well as actions being taken by NHS Sussex to support PCNs across East Sussex to deliver the national contracts and continue to innovate to respond to local need.


3.            Conclusion and reasons for recommendations

3.1.      The HOSC is recommended to note the report and consider whether to include any further work on PCNs or Emotional Wellbeing Services in the Committee’s future work programme.


Assistant Chief Executive

Contact Officer: Martin Jenks, Senior Scrutiny Adviser
Tel. No. 01273 481327