Primary Care Networks: Governance and proof of concept

NHS Whitepaper concept large

As if there isn’t enough paperwork in primary care, Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are currently working through the schedules required as part of the PCN submission.

While there is a great temptation to follow the path of least resistance and develop ‘light touch’ governance schedules, there is real value in taking your time and having an in-depth exploration of decision-making and engagement as part of the process.

Key considerations include:

    Testing approaches in ‘what if’ scenarios will tease much of this out but, as with many things, the proof of concept will be in the doing. 

    The future success of a PCN, and indeed an Integrated Care System, will be reflected through the impact they can have on both population outcomes and the sustainability of the system. To be perceived as a partner of choice in the implementation of new care models, PCNs will want to demonstrate that they have a track record of delivering high quality and consistent care without unwarranted variation.

    Using carefully selected projects that are feasible within the practices in a Primary Care Network, the PCN leaders can test their decision-making, their response to the challenges involved at scale, and the ability of practices to implement consistent new ways of working.

    This ‘experimental’ method will identify any issues in the governance approaches of a PCN, highlighting areas where amendments to the schedules need to be made and / or provide case studies demonstrating consistent approaches to care that deliver improved outcomes for the population they serve.

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    The Primary Care Team in SCW will continue to provide unrivalled support and direction to Practices, Primary Care Networks, and Federations as they work to successfully implement the required changes, develop their links, and work with their Integrated Care System to realise the best possible outcomes from this opportunity. 

    To discover more about how to develop a business-ready Primary Care Network, please email SCW’s Director of Primary Care, Alison Westmacott at:

    Director of Primary Care