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Introducing the PCN Diaries | What is working well and what would be even better if?

Due to my work with Primary Care Networks directly as a Network Manager, and Dr Farzana Hussain’s role as a Clinical Director at Newham Central 1 PCN, and current reign as GP of the year, we are increasingly being asked: “what is happening at ground level with Primary Care Networks?”.

So, Dr Farzana Hussain and I thought we would give you our PCN diaries in the form of blog posts, short videos and social media posts to share our warts-and-all look at the work being delivered in primary care.

Who is who?

Dr Farzana Hussain is a GP Partner, GP Trainer & Appraiser, is on Newham LMC and is Clinical Director at Newham Central 1 PCN.

Tara Humphrey is Founder and MD at THC Primary Care with a project management background. She is also host of The Business of Healthcare Podcast.

The Approach from Tara

I was recently asked what project management tool I use when working with Primary Care Networks and the honest answer is…

Firstly, I do not see the PCNs as a project. The networks are coming together as a new vehicle to provide care at scale spanning multiple organisations.

Secondly, with over 20 years of project, operations and management experience together with completing an MBA, Prince 2 and Quality Improvement courses, I am not using one single approach.

I am mixing and matching quality improvement, project management, strategic planning tools, organisation development principles, evaluation, team building, leadership and management, human resources and human factors principles.

There is structure but there is also flexibility, reflection and refining of what could be done differently as we progress.

What are we currently working on and thinking about?

  • Working with the network to refine their shared purpose. They need to know why they are doing this and what it means to them individually, and collectively. This will serve as the anchor for decision making and purpose.

  • Creating a 12-month plan and then breaking this down into 90-day goals with real and practical plans. Progress need to happen.

  • Financial planning using a good old fashioned excel spreadsheet to understand and track income and expenditure.

  • Monthly and quarterly reporting on existing practice and network-based contracts.

  • Reflecting on what is working well and what would be even better if.

  • A recruitment plan – which will require project management, operations management, HR and finance support.

  • Creating a light touch communications and engagement plan. This will be a simple plan of what and when communication gets cascaded to the board members. It will include what information goes to the wider network, who will be attending PCN meetings and what communication tools and meetings are best for what.

  • Conducting a review of the network governance and roles, responsibilities and expectations within the network. Now with more work required, we need to share the load, review the time commitment and ensure people understand what is required of them.

What is working well?

The Pharmacist and the Social Prescriber. They are embedding in well and getting themselves known to the practices. At Newham Central 1 PCN , We love our Social Prescriber so much we have nominated him for an award!

Communication with the Network Manager and CD. WhatsApp, email and weekly catch up calls ensure we are in close communication and responsive to last minute pulls on our attention.

What would be even better if/ areas for improvement?

As a result of our last network meeting, we are cutting down the agenda items in our meeting to allow more time for discussion. We also need to slow down a bit as the volume of information was a bit overwhelming for some.

What are you guys focussing on at the moment?

For more like this check out:

Lessons learnt from using social media to make connections blog

The Business of Healthcare Podcast with Dr Farzana Hussain | GP & PCN Clinical Director

The Business of Healthcare Podcast: The Role of the Clinical Lead

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