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Primary care

As the population ages and health needs change, primary and community services need to be at the forefront. Developing the capacity and capability of the primary care and community workforce is at the heart of our ambition for transforming health and healthcare.

We need to ensure a sustainable body of competent and capable staff who are able to work in an interdisciplinary way to manage patients with increasingly complex and multiple conditions closer to home. This supports the national priority to ensure that people with long term conditions are better looked after outside the hospital system, reducing their need for emergency services.

All our work in this area aims to support multi-disciplinary working. From training GPs, expanding professions such as physician associates and clinical pharmacists to developing new roles including medical assistants, we will help to shape the primary care workforce of the future.

The primary care programme

The primary care programme is part of Health Education England's Kent, Surrey and Sussex local team's skills development strategy (SDS).

KSS has made primary and community care workforce planning and development one of its priorities. The first phase of our primary care programme developed networks of GP practices to increase nurse student placements and healthcare assistants training in primary care based in general practice. This year, the primary care programme is focussed on establishing eight Community Education Provider Networks (CEPNs) to formalise these existing education networks in primary and community care. The local knowledge and expertise of these groups will steer decision-making so that the appropriate training and education opportunities are made available to each CEPN footprint. The CEPNs will connect into and support delivery of the work that is being done to develop Sustainability and Transformations Plans (STPs) in the region with the ultimate aim of

We continue to work with CCGs, NHS England area teams and local medical committees (LMCs) to encourage and support GP practices to collect and utilise primary care workforce data to enable workforce and succession planning to be carried out at practice, CCG and regional levels. Access to these data also means education and training can be planned effectively to equip and prepare the workforce for delivery of high quality patient services closer to patients home.

A number of initiatives are underway to support the necessary increase in numbers of practice nurse over the coming years. The number of practice nurse placements has been increased, to provide nurse students with experience of working in primary care. HEE has increased the region’s pool of qualified nurse mentor s to over 350 through funding for a nurse mentorship programme. These individuals have the skills to support, teach and assess learners (including pre-registration student nurses and practice nurses) within the practice environment. This growing resource will make general practice a more attractive and supportive environment to work in for those new to the role. Additionally, we have worked with our higher education institutions (HEIs) to provide an “introduction to practice nursing” course, on which over 100 nurses have embarked. This course equips its participants with the core knowledge and skills needed to work in general practice.

The CEPN board oversees the programme and has representation from:

  • Clinical commissioning groups: South Kent Coast & Thanet, Surrey Downs, Medway, Horsham & Mid Sussex and West Kent
  • Community healthcare trust: Kent
  • Lay representative: TBD
  • Local medical committees: Kent LMC and Surrey & Sussex LMCs
  • Universities: Brighton, Surrey, Canterbury Christ Church and Greenwich

 Dr Hilary Diack                                                     Nicholas Barry-Tait

 Head of Primary Care                                          Senior Primary Care Programme Manager


The Community Education Provider Networks (CEPN)

CEPNs are currently being established across all 20 CCGs in the region. Using existing educational networks, a CEPN formally brings together all involved with education and training in primary care within a specified geography with aim of  helping to attract, recruit and retain staff in the region and develop a sustainable workforce for primary care.

For more information, please visit the CEPN page.

Introduction to practice nurse training

This unique, funded training course equips those new to practice nursing with the core knowledge and skills needed in today’s busy general practice environment. It has been developed as the first stage of a three-stage pathway that links entry level with CPD through to advanced practice.

For more information, please visit the introduction to practice nursing page.

KSS GP workforce tool

The KSS GP workforce tool gathers primary care workforce information to assist workforce planning and better understand challenges and opportunities within this sector. By completing the KSS GP workfoce tool, practices will meet the requirements of the wMDS data collection and also provide anonymised and aggregated practice data that links staffing levels with skills and competencies vital for workforce data.

For more information, please visit the KSS GP workforce tool page.

For more information

For more information on the primary care programme, please contact programme manager Nick Barry-Tait.



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