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Questions that will inform your next Primary Care Network Partnership

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

DISCLAIMER. This document is by no way intended to provide legal or contractual advice.

As your Primary Care Network develops, more and more relationships will be required. These relationships and partnerships will cover;

  • Informal partnerships to work together

  • Memorandums of understanding

  • The hosting of employment

  • The commissioning of clinical services

  • The commissioning of technology

  • Etc...

To be successful in your partnership, I believe the following factors need to be in place;

  • Alignment of values

  • Equal engagement from both parties

  • Clarity around the service provision and outcomes

  • A clear point of contact

  • What will be monitored?

  • Trust

If you are a new PCN Manager, here are some questions to help shape your thoughts and requirements to support your new partnership.

Please note this list isn't exhaustive but intended to get you started.

Service provision

  • What service do we need?

  • What is this decision based on? (ie. population health needs, time, capacity, IT, financial, etc...)

  • What do we want to achieve?


  • How long do we need the service for?


What arrangements for governance need to be put in place for both parties? For example, you may need to consider;

  • Clinical governance

  • Quality assurance

  • Data protection and Information Governance

  • Intellectual property rights

  • Confidentiality

  • Training

  • HR ( If applicable, this may cover: induction annual leave, sickness, rota management, IT access etc...)


  • What are we happy to take accountability and responsibility for?

  • What do we expect the service providers to take responsibility for?

Points of Contact

Who do we need to be in contact with to make this relationship easy on both sides? For example, you may need key points of contact with the authority;

  • To make decisions and changes to the contract

  • For financial questions

  • For day to day operational running

  • For technical assistance

  • To escalate issues that are not being resolved

Notification of changes

  • If changes relating to personnel, IT, rota's, and monitoring are required, what is the notice period?

Last-minute changes can hinder your partnership and may result in cancelling patient appointments or breaks in the service. Make sure this is clear and communicated upfront so that you can be prepared.

Performance monitoring

What do we need to monitor in this partnership, and how will we monitor this?

  • Codes

  • Templates

  • Meetings

  • Dashboard

  • Patient feedback

  • Staff feedback

  • End of contract evaluation

Financial Considerations

  • Have we sourced quotes to ensure we are getting the best of what the market can provide? (And remember, cheaper doesn't mean better.)

  • What is our budget?

  • What is the funding source?

  • Is funding recurrent?

  • Have we included the financial lead?

In going through these questions, you will also need to ask, what are we willing to compromise on to make this partnership work?

Lastly, start planning now, so there are no last-minute decisions made in haste because things always take longer than you think it's going to take.

If you found this blog helpful, you will also like the following resources;

Plus, check out The PCN Managers Accelerator Programme, which is now open for registrations for our January cohort. This is the only training programme available to provide new-to-the-role PCN Managers with the fundamentals to be successful in their role.

Tara provides project and network management to Primary Care Networks and coaching support to clinical leads and has worked with 11 Training Hubs and has now worked with 18 Primary Care Networks to date.

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 also hosts The Business of Healthcare Podcast.

We provide a range of services from Facilitation, PCN Management Training, Organisational and Team Development, and Interim PCN Management

Work with us and book a call today here.


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