Nearly a third of GPs and practice managers spent in excess of 10 hours a week forming their primary care network last year, according to Cogora’s latest survey, which unveils a sector struggling more than ever to meet patient and the government’s demands.

More than a third of practice managers - 35% - and more than a quarter (26%) of GP partners in England had to dedicate at least two extra hours of work each day or had two hours taken away from their full-time jobs so they could form their PCN, the survey of more than 3,600 of our readers reveals.

This was in response to the 2019/20 GP contract which stated all patients in England needed to be covered by a local network by 1 July last year.

This was one of the major findings presented in Cogora’s seventh Primary Concerns report, which takes the title of The State of Primary Care 2019 and provides an insight into the current state of the sector from the healthcare professionals who know it best.

The survey of more than 3,600 readers of Cogora’s five primary care publications- Pulse, Management in Practice, Nursing in Practice, Healthcare Leader and The Pharmacist, was carried out during November and December last year – before battling the coronavirus pandemic became the top priority for all NHS workers.

Readers were quizzed on a range of aspects of primary care, from which new members of staff they had employed with PCN funding, to changes in their clinical priorities, including medicinal cannabis products and intermittent fasting.

The survey suggests that general practice has yet to fully embrace the new roles that could be fully funded under PCNs and the majority of the primary care sector does not think the formation of networks has yet had a positive effect on patient care.

For the first time, our readers reveal new demands placed on their time from lonely and socially isolated patients, and many decision makers confessed they were considering extreme measures to save money, with around a quarter of GPs and practice managers saying temporary list closures is at the top of their lists.

Whilst for their community pharmacy colleagues, several years of funding cuts have tightened their stranglehold, to the extent that packing it all in and selling up remains a real possibility for more than half of contractors.

In addition, we also asked them about their opinions on the compulsory vaccination of children against preventable diseases – with around three-quarters of GPs saying they are in favour, with numbers also high among the other professions.

For more information on the report and survey, contact Cogora’s Group Editor, Gemma Collins on

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