Elemental responds to Primary Care Networks facing retention issues

Areas of need throughout localities and regions where there are health inequalities are greater now than ever before, and because of this there is a growing concern that social determinants of health are impacting those with health and wellbeing concerns.


Under the Primary Care Network DES, networks have expanded their care teams and have recruited allied health professionals to help solve the workforce shortage in general practices based on community requirements. 


According to GP Online, PCNs are facing retention issues as poor patient data and strict deadlines are affecting recruitment planning, therefore, Clinical Pharmacists, Social Prescribing Link Workers, Physician Associates, Care Co-ordinators, Health and Wellbeing Coaches, and other health professionals are considering their positions within general practices.


“PCN Network director Ruth Rankine suggested that rigid recruitment deadlines meant clinical directors were feeling pressured to recruit staff before working out how their roles would fit into wider primary care teams. She also said remote working was affecting PCNs’ ability to build strong multidisciplinary teams.” – GP Online


By understanding the challenges faced, the increase in demand for Social Prescribing Link Workers, and the need for digital transformation, more than one in ten PCNs have adopted Elemental as their digital social prescribing partner to help connect people, build communities, and improve lives in the neighbourhoods where they are based.


PCN network chair and GP partner Dr Pramit Patel has argued that networks need better data to help them accurately identify the needs of patients and allow them to recruit the correct staff to improve health inequalities.


Dr Pramit Patel, PCN network chair and GP partner

“You only know what you truly need by looking at what your data tells you, for example, where your gaps are in terms of your population needs and your services. We need to get our linked data sets from a population health management perspective, so that we know what we are dealing with. Once we know where the inequalities are, and know where the unmet need is – we can address it by creating those services and then you can map your additional roles against it.”


Reporting on PCN DES funding made a whole lot easier


Elemental’s digital platform is used across the UK and Ireland by allied health professionals, community providers and others to engage and empower people to access and engage in programmes and services in their own community that improve their mental and physical wellbeing. 


The digital platform connects with all the leading clinical systems; EMIS Web, SystmOne, and Vision, which means GPs, and others using those systems can follow up on the uptake and impact of referrals with social prescribing Snomed codes being pushed back into the patient record.


With this two way integration, general practices can:

  • Make an express referral for a patient to Link Workers working in practices or remotely in the community within 3 clicks.
  • Check on the uptake of the social prescribing referral without leaving the EMIS system 
  • Report on the success of the PCN DES funding for social prescribing

Georgie Stanley, Funding & Operations Manager & Public Health Nutritionist, Healthbox CIC

“Since first being introduced to the Elemental social prescribing platform as an exciting and adaptable way to record project outcomes for our Big Lottery Funded ‘Wellbeing High Street’ project in 2017, Healthbox has reaped the benefits of using Elemental as a digital reporting tool. When we expanded to hosting 8 social prescribing link workers across 5 PCNs in Cheshire, we knew Elemental would be the most effective platform for us to manage caseloads and patient data.

The Elemental team has been so helpful in creating a bespoke system for us to host multiple project hubs for different wellbeing services and facilitate EMIS links with our GP practices for direct referrals into our social prescribing teams.”n


If your PCN is currently struggling or dealing with retention issues, Elemental would welcome a conversation on how our digital social prescribing platform can support with the AARS roles within PCNs and reporting back to NHS England. 


Please fill in the form below and we will be in touch. 


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