Healthy Abingdon invited people interested in our local health services to a presentation and discussion on Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in Abingdon.
Primary Care Networks were set up in July 2019, after six months of planning. They group GP practises into larger units covering between 30 – 50,000 people. Abingdon is split into two PCNs. One covers The Abingdon Surgery and Malthouse Surgery, in the town centre, with 33,657 people. The other covers Marcham Road Health Centre and Long Furlong Health Centres in Abingdon, Berinsfield Health Centre and Clifton Hampden Surgery with 30,043 people.
PCNs will allow closer coordination between GP practises to allow things like better extended hours cover. They will also get more funding for extra specialist services in the area. One such service that has already been set up is Social Prescribing. More services with funding will follow.
Social Prescribing is something GPs have always done. It is referring people to activities in the community, possibly college courses, possibly for help from voluntary groups (The Abingdon Bridge – counselling, and Health Walks Abingdon are examples). Treatment from the NHS is not the only answer.
Having a specialist Social Prescriber allows GPs to do this more effectively. Emma and Emma, the two ladies who job share the role, told us something of what they did and how they help people. There followed an interesting round table discussion about what people in Abingdon would like out of social prescribing.
About forty people attended the meeting at the Conduit Centre, at Trinity Church, in Abingdon.