• Tara Humphrey

An Introduction to Primary Care Network Finances (2022)

Updated: Apr 21

1. Who is this blog for?

If you are a new Primary Care Network Clinical Director, whilst you do not have to know the technical process for raising claims, processing payments, reconciliation of accounts and addressing finance related queries, you should have an overview of what happens behind the scenes, and this is the purpose of this blog.

This resource will:

  • Provide you with seven key functions to support your primary care network’s financial management

  • Present a draft governance policy for you to edit and amend for your PCN

  • Remind you of what income streams will the network be managing in 22/23

  • Let you know which systems and portals your PCN will need access to

  • Give you a sample default diary to guide your PCN financial activities

A few words of acknowledgement

If you are fortunate enough to have a finance lead that organises and processes the network finances, CHERISH that person as they are a tremendous asset to your PCN. If you are the PCN Manager and are also responsible for the network claims and payments. Hats off to you! You are juggling a lot, and you are also a tremendous asset to your network.

2. What should financial management look like in my network?

The image below represents seven key functions that, as a minimum, are required to support the financial management of your network.

  1. Start with familiarising yourself with the DES; our summary found here is a good starting point

  2. Then book a meeting with those who currently manage the network finances, and they will get you up to speed

3. Financial Governance

Underpinning your financial management should be a set of governing principles agreed by your PCN.

These may include that the network will:

  • Operate as a not-for-profit entity 

  • Establish and oversee proper and transparent financial management and accounting procedures  

  • Maintain a sound system of financial governance and internal controls, including safeguards against fraud, error and poor practice 

  • Ensure all funds are to be used for the purposes intended 

  • Ensure all decisions are made for the benefit of the network and not as individual members

  • The networks accounts are an accurate and fair reflection of the business's finances and will be discussed in quarterly finance meetings

  • The PCN Finance Leads are XXXXX, and they are responsible for assuring the board of financial performance and probity/compliance

  • The authorised signatories for approving and paying invoices are XXXXXX

  • Financial variations will be escalated to the PCN financial at the earliest opportunity and brought to the next PCN Board

These are just ideas. It is for your PCN Board to decide.

If you would like to refresh your PCN financial governance, please click here to get your FREE PCN Governance template to edit and amend for your PCN.

4. What income streams will the network be managing?

The core funding streams presented in the 22-23 specifications currently cover the following. (Please see pages 71 and 72 of the DES.)

a) Clinical Director Payment

b) Core PCN Funding

c) Enhanced Access Payment

d) Care Home Premium

e) PCN Leadership and Management

f) Impact and investment funding

g) Additional Reimbursement Scheme

In the last financial year, you would have also seen:

a) PCN Development funding

b) The CD uplift

If you are unsure how much money the network should be receiving, please head over to The General Medical Services (GMS) Ready Reckoner 2021/22.

NHS England created this resource.

The image below provides an illustrative example of what a network could be managing funding wise.

This list is not inclusive of every financial source your PCN may have, so please talk to your PCN finance lead or CCG if you are unsure of any payments.

5. What systems and portals will the PCN need?

The PCN will need access to:

a) The Primary Care Workforce Portal (The Additional Roles Reimbursement Portal Portal) https://www.primarycareworkforce.nhs.uk This platform is needed to process the claims associated with the people hired using your additional role reimbursement scheme.

b) Tradeshift - If you are based in a Federation, you may need this. https://nhssbs.support.tradeshift.com

To gain access to Tradeshift, you will need to contact your Clinical Commissioning Group to let them know you are the nominated service provider for the PCN, and they will organise access.

You will need this to process DES claims.

c) Finance software For example, Xero, Quickbooks or Sage. You will need to raise invoices and manage your PCN funds.

d) PCN Bank Account You will need to use your PCN bank account together with your finance software to manage your PCN funds and process payments. e) Your own PCN spreadsheet which should detail at a minimum

  • Income - See Section 5

  • Expenditure

  • Salaries

  • Extended access breakdown per practice

  • Care home allocations per practice

f) Calculating Quality Reporting Service (CQRS)

Here is a training guide. DISCLAIMER: I tried to use this last year to track our Impact and Investment Fund, and for one reason or another, the information was not accurate, so… use it with caution.

6. Which systems process which payments?

Following on from the section above, the table below lists the systems you will need to process certain payments.

This list is not inclusive of every financial source your PCN may have, so please talk to your PCN finance lead or CCG if you are unsure of any payments and how they should be procesed.

Funding Stream

Funding Source

What is required to raise the invoice?

System /process

PCN core fundings - (PCN Core funding, Clinical Director funding, Extended hours funding)


PO number required

Via Tradeshift

IIF funding


PO number required

Via Tradeshift

​Leadership and Management funding


PO number required

Via Tradeshift

PCN Development funding


PO number required

Via Tradeshift

ARRs roles funding

CCG finance via Portal

Via Portal

Via DES Portal

SPL funding

NHS England/PCSE

PO number required

Direct invoice

CD Uplift funding

NHS England/PCSE

Unlike the payments above, this is a direct payment from the CCG

Direct payment

7. Which payments happen when?

This will look slightly different in each PCN, but we have created a default diary of activities to support your productivity as a guide.

I know this is a lot, but this resource will provide enough information to support you to have a productive and detailed discussion regarding how your PCN finances are managed.

For those of you which require a deeper level of PCN Management support, our PCN Accelerator may just be what you need, check this out here.

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We provide project and network management and training to Primary Care Networks, coaching support to clinical leads and have worked with 11 Training Hubs and 19 Primary Care Networks to date.

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Tara has an MBA in Healthcare Leadership and Management, is published in the London Journal of Primary Care, is the author of over 200 blogs and also hosts The Business of Healthcare Podcast.

Find out more about THC Primary Care at www.thcprimarycare.co.uk

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