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Do we need a Digital and Transformation Lead?

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

For those of you who are considering whether adding a PCN Digital and Transformation Lead could be a valuable move for your Primary Care Network, we have

  1. Compiled some questions for you to consider

  2. Reviewed the GP webinar, which took place on 3rd November and highlighted the intentions for this role

  3. Presented how the Digital and Transformation Lead role can work alongside a PCN Manager

Before we get started.

I am a PCN Manager, and when I started, to be honest, I had no clue what I was doing. Still, I had project management experience, a solid track record in leading teams that I did not line manage across multiple locations, and I picked up things quickly.

I fell into this role accidentally, but I haven't looked back. I LOVE IT!

When I started, there were no resources dedicated to PCN management, so from the outset, I wanted to share my thoughts and ideas in the form of a blog to help others like me.

Each week, we are genuinely astonished to see the volume of visitors to our blog, and they keep growing year on year.

BUT…… I do not claim to have all of the answers. The blogs I share are designed to present some information for you to build, modify or discard if my point of view does not resonate. Also, I am human; you may see typos. I may misinterpret the guidance or see the guidance differently from you, but all we want to do is help.

If you are looking for something you cannot find on our website, email me at Let me know what you need, why you need it, and we will see what we can do.

Ok….. back to the role of the Digital and Transformation Lead, and do you need one?

Let's jump in!

Questions for consideration:

Would our PCN Benefit from:

  • A dedicated resource and expertise?

  • To develop common approaches and standard operating procedures that drive efficiency?

  • To create a better approach to compiling business intelligence?

  • To identify and plan improvements?

  • Understanding the wider developments taking place in the system and bringing this intelligence back to the PCN?

If the answer is yes, the role of the Digital and Transformation Lead role may be beneficial to you.

Also, look at your PCN Business plan, and let this guide you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many Digital and Transformation Leads can a PCN have?

Currently, Primary Care Networks can use the ARRS funds to recruit 1FTE per PCN.

What is the salary for the Digital and Transformation Lead?

PCNs are reimbursed up to 8a on the agenda for change pay scale.

Do we have to pay the role at a band 8a?

Like all of the other roles that are part of the Additional Role Reimbursement Scheme, the pay rates are designed to be fair and transparent and reflect the skills and experience the role requires.

If the role is being reimbursed at 8a. The salary should reflect this.

Should the role be called a Digital Transformation Lead OR a Digital AND Transformation Lead?

It doesn't matter. Choose the title that best fits your needs.

What is this role supposed to do?

This information was taken from the GP Webinar on 3rd November 2022. The recording can be found in

  • NHS Futures | Click here

  • PCNs and Practices Support Hub

  • Communications and Engagement

  • General practices webinar

The intention for this role is to

  • Support Primary Care Networks to identify and plan improvements

  • Deliver quality improvement projects and support staff at all levels in the PCN to take forward change

  • Work with Integrated Care Systems to design strategies and approaches to improvements

  • Improve the induction and the use of existing and new technology to deliver benefits to patients and staff

  • Support integration within the Primary Care Network and wider system

  • Use data to identify opportunities and to drive improvements in care quality and experience

The role is not intended to

  • Manage the procurement or contracting of IT systems

  • Manage administrative functions

  • Replicate the role of the PCN manager

  • Operate in isolation or duplicate existing system functions

  • To deliver EVERYTHING presented. NHSE is choosing not to be too prescriptive to allow PCNs to shape the role to their needs

What support is being put in place to support the professional development of these roles?

NHSE will be providing QI capability-building training, a community of practice and mentoring support.

More information is to follow.

Sponsored By

Does this role replace the PCN Manager?

The Digital and Transformation Lead role is not intended to replace the role of the PCN Manager. However, some PCNs have combined the PCN Manager role and the Digital and Transformation Lead role as there is a clear cross-over.

The PCN management role, in many cases, operates as the Chief Operating Officer tasked with overseeing the network's day-to-day administrative and operational functions. Fire fighting, strategic planning, fostering the PCN culture, internally and externally advocating for the PCN, making sure we deliver on our contractual requirements and looking for opportunities to develop.

We are there to try and create a harmonious environment across a dispersed geography and assemble a stellar team to help the network thrive and deliver clinical and non-clinical services.

The Digital and Transformation Lead is an additional resource to make the PCN vision a reality, focusing on digital and how to implement and sustain change.

One way to see the differences between these roles is by creating a table, inputting the overarching responsibilities of each position and highlighting what the PCN Manager and Digital Transformation Lead could focus on.

We have started this for you. Now you can copy and paste this into a word document and modify it for your needs.

PCN Manager

Digital & Transformation Lead

Human Resources


Financial Management


Business Development & Horizon Scanning


Contract Management


Operations Management


Stakeholder & Relationship Management



Strategic Planning


Data Analysis & Planning


Service Improvement Projects


Management of the Digital Infrastructure


Working with Integrated Care Systems to design strategies and approaches to improvements


Delivering quality improvement projects and supporting staff at all levels in the PCN to take forward change



If you are looking for a JD that combines the two roles, please see our blog. Can the PCN Manager also be the Digital and Transformation Lead, and what would the JD look like?

Lastly, if you are looking for the PCN Digital and Transformation Lead job description, click the image below or check out our Youtube Video.

We hope this helps.

From coaching to courses. Our blog, newsletters and the Business of healthcare podcast. We are a small team hugely passionate about Primary Care Networks and the PCN Manager role.

We try to give you as much FREE content as we can alongside our day job of managing Primary Care Networks.

If you need support to apply the insights we share, we would love to help you. Why not see if we are available for a conversation to discuss your needs - an email to is all you have to do and one of us may be available to discuss things straight away.

Find out more about THC Primary Care at


More about the author

I'm Tara; I am the founder of THC Primary Care, an award-winning healthcare consultancy specialising in Primary Care Network Management and the host of the Business of Healthcare Podcast, where we have now published over 200 episodes.

(Click the image to take you to episode 213)

I have over 20 years of project management and business development experience across the private and public sectors, and I have supported over 50 PCNs by providing interim management, training and consultancy.

I have managed teams across multiple sites and countries; I have an MBA in Leadership and Management in Healthcare, I'm published in the London Journal of Primary Care, and I am the author of over 250 blogs.

I have 3 children. My eldest has Asthma, my middle child has a kidney condition called Nephrotic Syndrome, and my youngest daughter has Type 1 Diabetes, so outside of work, healthcare plays a huge role in my life.


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