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How to create an effective Primary Care Network Team

Updated: Apr 17, 2023

Last week, I was kindly invited to the Happy Healthcare Professionals Live Show hosted by Komal George, where I shared my take and experience working with Primary Care Network-based pharmacists.

The video can be found here. Please note, I was so nervous. This stream went out live on LinkedIn, Facebook and Youtube! I will definitely be sticking to podcasts and blogging moving forward :-).

Whilst the topic of the conversation was about pharmacists, the heart of the discussion was how to create an effective team.

If you are a new Primary Care Network Manager or Clinical Director, or you have experienced difficulties retaining your PCN team, this blog will provide you with practical advice to build an effective team.

If you are part of the PCN team, there is some advice here for you too.


I am not saying I am perfect and get things right all the time, but what I know to be true is;

Communication + Clarity + Consistency + a Positive Culture = Success

DISCLAIMER 2: I haven't forgotten about the necessity of a shared purpose and accountability, but one could argue this is tied to a positive culture.

In the early days of your role, you can heavily influence and practise excellent communication, provide clarity, ensure consistency in your activities and contribute to a positive culture.

You may not be able to facilitate a shared purpose in the first 90 days of your role if the network isn't clear, but we will address this in a later blog. This is just part 1 of how to grow an effective primary care network team.

Let's get started.

PCN Managers and Clinical Directors, this section is for you.


Keep your team in the loop and involve your team in your decisions about them. Be clear, be kind and do not make promises you cannot keep.

If you are new to your PCN, you will quickly need to;

  • Identify who your team are and what they do.

  • The communication channels are used to communicate with the team. (i.e., team meetings newsletters or regular 121’s).

  • Diarise regular 1-2-1’s. If you want a structure for these meetings, check out - Questions to aid your Primary Care Network (PCN) staff reviews and 1-2-1's

  • What should your team know now, and what future developments are in the pipeline?

Clarity and Consistency

To help each role and, ultimately, your team succeed, create a structure but also allow them to deliver their work flexibly.

By this, I mean give them a solid induction and ongoing direction.

There is no need to micromanage. Do not restrict them. Be fair and empower them.

  • Over-communicate and do this consistently, as this will promote trust.

  • Every role should have a consistent induction plan.

  • Help each role to create a 90-day progress plan.

  • Create a leadership and management 90 - day plan to work to and use this to keep your network informed.

  • Set up systems, processes, and standard operating procures. Our job is to create an infrastructure that enables our team to work collaboratively, independently and productively.


As a PCN manager or Clinical Director, you can really be influential in improving the network's culture simply by role-modelling positive behaviours.

  • Being available.

  • Being transparent.

  • Protect your team.

  • Celebrate them - When we worked with Cranbrook PCN, we would send flowers to the team on their birthday. It was a small gesture that went a long way.

  • When you come together, ask your team what is working well and what could be even better if? Then act on this.

  • Welcome new ideas. One new idea instigated by a team member resulted in the introduction of Multi-Disciplinary Team Educational Sessions – I have provided the framework for you here.

  • Do not make promises you can’t keep.

  • Do not brush issues under the carpet, hoping it will go away.

For the PCN Team members

Pharmacists, First Contact Physio Therapists, Dieticians, Mental Health Practitioners, Care Coordinators, Social Prescribing Link Workers, Advanced Clinical Practitioners, Podiatrists, Pharmacy Technicians, Health and Wellbeing Coaches, Nursing Associates, Trainee Nursing Associates AND Paramedics, this is for you.

(Sorry if I have missed anyone, but I am talking to you and all the PCN roles).

You have a crucial role in helping to build a successful team.

  • Be proactive. Ask yourself what one thing can I do each day to help me progress in my role? And then do this.

  • Speak up. If something isn’t working, what possible solution could you implement which helps your practices and doesn’t create more work for them?

  • Visit your practices. Please get to know them. Do not hide behind your email.

  • Sometimes you will need to go the extra mile. Do this!

  • Be patient – This is a new way of working for many.

  • Help the PCN to understand your role. Don’t be shy; share your successes.

  • Find your allies and stay in close contact with your manager.

  • When opportunities to develop your skills or lead on work streams present themselves, grab them.


As hard as it is for me to write this, if you have consistently tried all these things over a period of time and you aren't getting the support you need to do the role to the best of your ability, you should probably start to look for another position.

You are highly skilled and highly sought after.

The right network will welcome you with open arms and will provide the communication, clarity, consistency, and a positive culture to help you succeed in your role.

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