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Primary care services are, once again facing change. As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, GP practices are in the process of coming together to form Primary Care Networks (PCNs). These networks will allow care to be delivered at scale, typically to between 30,000-50,000 patients. Part of their remit will be to consider implementing broader forms of working, for example, through an extended and more integrated workforce as well as a focus on both personalised and preventative care.

By systematically answering key questions, the Evidence Synthesis Working Group (ESWG), a collaboration of all nine members of the SPCR, is working to support many of the changes facing primary care. Workstream 4 has a particular focus on developing the evidence for improved service delivery for patients, clinicians and policymakers. Some of the highlights from this workstream include the production of evidence related to telephone triage and the optimal ways of implementing this technology. Researchers from Bristol are leading an evaluation of community hubs in providing extended primary care. At UCL, researchers are leading an evidence synthesis on the role of delegated home visiting services in the community. While in Oxford, members of the ESWG are leading a programme of work on social prescribing, specifically the role of social prescriber link workers.

A number of the reviews are now maturing, and we are working closely with evidence users to ensure that the findings are contextualised and disseminated in the most appropriate ways.

Kamal R. Mahtani (Oxford)

For more information about this work, or if you would like to get involved in any of the reviews, please contact or