SHAPE Project Spotlight: A web enabled toolkit for PCN Estates Planning

Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are using a new, dedicated data toolkit to help forward plan, analyse data and enable commissioners to make informed decisions about future funding allocations.

The digital toolkit provides PCNs with a consistent way of creating estates strategies, by prepopulating data including key statistics on population projections, demographics and the impact that will have on GP contact rates.

It takes PCNs through an online, step-by-step journey to develop their estates strategy, establishing where buildings, services and resources are needed in the future.

PCNs involve GP practices working with community, mental health, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services to build on existing primary care services to deliver more focused health and social care for people closer to home, proactively caring for people within the communities they serve.

The web-enabled PCN Estates Toolkit has been developed by Parallel, the providers of SHAPE, in partnership with Community Health Partnerships (CHP) and the National Association of Primary Care (NAPC) on behalf of NHS England.

Tim Warwick, Developer at Parallel, said: “The tool provides a current picture of patient numbers and demographics, services, premises and size, existing estate, rooms and facilities, ownership and costs associated with them, any planned works to the estate, projected patient growth, existing estates and service-related challenges.

“This new web-enabled toolkit is a step change for the NHS and CHP. Rather than working solely from office documents, it’s held in one place and the data can be used for a variety of purposes, instead of it being locked in spreadsheets.

“The idea is to take a current snapshot of existing PCNs and use that to forward plan for their needs and requirements. It makes a necessary process a lot more streamlined and consistent because every PCN goes through the same process.”

Once the data has been provided, the toolkit compiles an output document for health officials. After the user has completed the online, web-enabled live form, the data is saved to a database which can be reported on and used to generate outcomes to help inform decisions.

Tim said: “Whilst this taps into the same databases as SHAPE, this is not a map-based solution. The application has been a bespoke project to meet NHS England’s digital aspirations. We hope this will be the first of many digital toolkits to support our clients.”

Laura Garnham, Strategic Portfolio Holder at Community Health Partnerships (CHP), said:

“The web enabled implementation of the PCN Toolkit has been a huge undertaking with a lot of benefits to our wider NHS stakeholders. It has been great to work with the team to see the ‘hard copy’ version transform into an ongoing, live strategy tool, and a key product in delivery of the national PCN planning programme being delivered by CHP.”