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In North Central London (NCL) we recognise the important role Primary Care Networks (PCNs) have in supporting the future workforce for primary care.

NHS England (NHSE) Workforce Training and Education (WTE) has changed the way learning environment approvals are managed. Since September 2022, environment approvals have shifted to a PCN footprint to grow multi-professional educator capacity and expand placement opportunities for primary care.  

The goal is for PCN to develop educational capacity to: 

  • Increase the number of student and trainee placements hosted by the PCN

  • Increase the number of educational sites used in the PCN to support training, supervision and education

  • Develop non-GP roles as educators and supervisors

  • Improve educator peer-support and development with links to local Faculty groups

  • Enable the PCN to pool supervision resource to explore other clinical placement opportunities

The NCL Quality resources page provides more information including: 

  1. FAQ document for practices and PCNs wanting to apply for approval at scale.

  1. A guidance document for completing the application form.

Completing a PCN application 

There are two types of PCN applications: 

  1. PCN application of educators and learning environments already approved: This application type is for new educator and learning environments and applies to GP practices not currently approved and who wish to host placements and training.  

  1. PCN application including new and existing educators and learning environments: This application type is for GP practices already approved to host placements and training. 

Your PCN may be required to attend a NCL assessment depending on the type of PCN application above. 

The first step in applying to become an at scale learning environment is to register your interest. 

The PCN will need to nominate a managerial lead and educational lead to complete an application form.

The following steps form the process for a PCN to become an approved learning environment: 

Step 1: Register your PCN’s interest

A PCN representative must register interest on behalf of the PCN to become an approved learning environment in NCL.  

Step 2: Application Form

Once a PCN has registered, the NCL Training Hub Faculty and Quality team will send the named PCN representative an application form and instructions in preparation for an NCL assessment. 

For a PCN application of educators and learning environments already approved: 

Educators and learning environments already approved to host placements and training will complete one application form collectively as a PCN.  

PCN application including new and existing educators and learning environments: 

New educators and learning environments can be added to the same PCN application form. However, they will also need to complete a separate application form and attend an NCL assessment. For more information on this is available on the educator and practice pages. 

Please refer to the NCL Quality resources page for additional information and guides to help you complete your application form. 

Step 3: Attend an NCL Assessment

For PCNs who are applying with new educators and/or learning environments to be approved, the NCL Training Hub team will ask the PCN to attend a NCL assessment. You can find out more about the NCL assessment process for new educators and learning environments here.  

Once the PCN has uploaded the application form and supporting documents the NCL Training Hub Faculty and Quality team will invite PCN/practice representatives and new educators to an NCL assessment. More information about the assessment panel and process can be found in the NCL Training Hub Educator and Environment FAQ document.  

The NCL assessment panel will make a recommendation to NHSE WTE to formally approve the PCN as a recognised learning environment, and to formally approve new educators. 

Questions about the approval process can be sent to nclicb.approvedlearningenvironments@nhs.net.