Primary care networks must be nurtured not imposed

30 January 2019
According to the NHS Long Term Plan all GP practices will be members of primary care networks (PCN) with every practice expected to be networked from the end of June 2019.
 
Networks formed purely on the basis of geography with no regard to the quality of practice relationships, shared interests and common business goals, and the freedoms and constraints of primary care contracts are unlikely to succeed.
 
This raises a number of issues for the commissioners who manage and fund the creation of primary care networks and for practices expected to work together, including how to ensure:
 
  • That the members of networks can form effective working relationships as quickly as possible
  • That they understand the purpose of collaborative working and the potential benefit to their businesses
  • That they understand the potential obstacles to collaboration and are committed to overcome them
  • That their service priorities are shared and  aligned with the strategic priorities of the commissioner
  • That commissioners and local practices both understand the flexibilities and limitations of existing GMS and new network contracts
  • That they have the will, knowledge and skills to respond to opportunities for providing services together
  • That all members of the network are well led with staff and business processes able to support participation on an equitable basis.
 
PCC has more than a decade of working with commissioners and providers to develop their knowledge and skills, embed leadership, improve systems and processes and deliver better primary care services.
 
Our core team and network of expert associates has provided improvement planning for individual practices, training for practice teams (for example on access audits and correspondence management), hands-on support for practice managers, coaching for partners and federation boards, and strategic facilitation for organisations starting to work together or considering their next steps.
 
We have unrivalled knowledge of the rules governing current contracts across the four primary care professions, a track record of facilitating practice mergers and informal collaboration, and extensive experience of supporting primary care organisations to let or bid for contracts.
 
The PCC team and our associates are all qualified by experience having working in primary care provider organisations in clinical or managerial roles.
 
Contact us at enquiries@pcc-cic.org.uk to find out more about how we can support your primary care improvement and PCN strategies.
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