The health system is facing considerable challenges. These include workforce issues, the changing health needs of an ageing population, and an emphasis being placed on looking to local community strengths and resources to focus on prevention and early detection, as put forward in the NHS Long Term Plan.

General Practice, too, is undergoing a significant period of change, with the implementation of a Direct Enhanced Service encouraging practices to operate in Primary Care Networks (PCNs) of 30,000 to 50,000 patients alongside changes to the GP Contract.

The emergence of Primary Care Networks provides a platform for the provision of care across a wider population – enabling primary care to engage more cohesively across the health and care system and the implementation of new models of care. The development of PCNs and progression through the NHS England Maturity Matrix will require a more in-depth understanding of, and connectedness with and across the health and care system. Leaders will need to think outside of their current organisational boundaries and look to integrated solutions.

Primary Care Networks will only succeed if they can both develop and then implement their vision. To do that well they will have to engage and then fully support whole practice teams to come together, collaborate, share staff, share delivery linked to income, and hold each other accountable. This environment will be dependent upon trusting relationships and influence as opposed to traditional models of leadership, moving away from power based relationships.

Leaders will need an understanding of a new and different way of working emphasising the importance of partnerships at a patient-practitioner level, throughout whole communities and across population’s serviced by PCNs and indeed ICSs. 

To deliver this level of change PCNs are being encouraged to make population health management a reality.

How SCW can help

The SCW Primary Care Network offer focuses on working with general practice (both providers and commissioners) to develop and deliver networks of care. Our team of experts can:

  • Support the development of robust governance and ways of working across networks.
  • Identify community assets supporting a geography including health, care and third party organisations.
  • Support the development of a shared vision of integrated approaches to care, across a geography.
  • Enable an understanding of the care needs of a population and support the use of intelligence to inform priorities.
  • Support networks to develop and embed integrated care models focussed on the needs of the population ensuring
  • sustainable solutions.
  • Provide leadership development opportunities and learning environments.
  • Design and embed systems to evaluate the impact – both quantitative and qualitative – on patient outcomes
  • and system sustainability.