top of page
THC Advert (1).png

The Diary of a Primary Care Network Manager (2022)

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

(What do we actually do?)

This week, I thought I would provide an overview of some of the activities which take place in a typical week within our Primary Care Networks', with the view to helping those of you who are new in post or want reassurance that you are doing the right thing.

Please note we manage multiple PCNs, and this list below only showcases the most interesting aspects of our role ha!

Where you see this symbol 🎯, this highlights an approach or insight you could consider.

Let's get started, and we have also recorded a video too!

Clinical Strategy Meeting

This week, we had a pre-meeting to discuss our clinical strategy in relation to population health, health inequalities and premises.

This meeting was organised by the Integrated Care Board, who have commissioned the National Association of Primary Care to facilitate these meetings and upcoming workshops.

The meeting was attended by 2 Clinical Directors, a Care Coordinator and myself (PCN Manager).

We covered:

  • The population health profile and the rise of fast-food outlets in the town which will impact upon the health of our population

  • Recruitment

  • How we interact and integrate with other organisations to understand if we were operating as integrated neighbourhood teams (we aren't yet, by the way!)

  • How we are navigating around the various sources of population health data

  • Our strategy FOR identifying patients with undiagnosed hypertension linked to health inequalities

  • Housing

  • Mental health

It was a really good meeting (only 30mins) where we all had something to contribute, and it was an affirmation we are moving in the right direction and are on the same page.

This meeting will feed into a wider workshop we are having across our locality.

We also discussed vaccinations and the bank holiday provision.

I also sought clarification of our approach to identifying hypertension patients. 🎯 It's ok not to have all the answers. If in doubt, just ask.

An Impact and Investment Fund, DES and email review

I met with my THC colleagues Jade and Leah to review the Ardens dashboard ahead of a PCN meeting taking place next week. There is some missing data and a few coding issues that we flagged and will follow up on.

We also jointly discussed some emails which had come into a shared inbox to make sure they were all being addressed.

Board meeting preparation

In one of our PCN’s we had a board meeting and prepared a set of slides to communicate the progress in our networks. The slide deck included the following:

  • The agenda for the meeting

  • The vision

  • Our business plan on a page

  • The focus for the next 90 days

  • Who is leading on what

  • An up-to-date organisation chart

  • The impact and investment fund progress update

Presenting the information in this format provided a visual aid to help people understand the work taking place behind the scenes, and this was received positively.

🎯 Managers and CDs, this meeting preparation is something your administrator could pull together.

Service Development

One workstream we are focussed on in one of our PCNs is enhancing our pharmacy provision. The PCN has recruited a superstar Advanced Clinical Practitioner to provide clinical leadership, and my role at the moment is to facilitate this and make sure everyone is on the same page. In another PCN, their focus is frailty, and we have created a service framework which covers:

  • Service requirements

  • Key stakeholders and their contact details

  • Rota requirements

  • Key performance indicators

  • Roles and responsibilities

  • Meetings schedule

  • The availability of the team

  • The action log

This is a working progress.

🎯 Managers and CDs, could you replicate this framework for your services so you do not need to start from a blank page each time?

Meeting Management

Managing meetings is a daily activity where we are either:

  • Questioning if the meeting is still necessary

  • Preparing to attend a meeting

  • Attending the meeting and completing any subsequent actions the meeting has generated

🎯 We cancelled some meetings, to which one CD was particularly pleased and replied with: “I love seeing you guys (I really do!), but I think we need to protect our time”.

Task Management

At THC, we use a combination of managing action logs in the project and task management tool Asana and excel. Following a team meeting, we decided to ditch Excel and only use Asana, which has made everyone happier as we were duplicating a lot of work.

🎯 We are always considering what should we stop, start and continue doing. Are there any enhancements you could make to improve your communication and productivity?

Financial Management

At THC we have just hired a finance lead to support us to conduct a financial audit, and we are mobilising this.

🎯 If you are PCN Manager and find your finances need some extra attention, I strongly advise you to get some help.

Just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you should if you can hand it over to an expert. It will likely save you time and money in the long run.

One thing that is still staying with me is a discrepancy regarding an invoice, but a quick phone call helped diffuse things.

🎯 Pick up the phone and do not contribute to the chain of email madness!

I hope this help and provides some insight into how we approach things. If you would like more of these, please let me know.

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. 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.



bottom of page