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The Primary Care Network DES | A checklist of what to focus on in Q2

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

As always, we create resources with new PCN Managers and Clinical Directors in mind.

In this week's blog we;

  • Revisit the initial areas to focus on in Q1

  • Remind you of the business as usual activities

  • Provide guidance to Clinical Directors

  • Present a checklist for PCN Managers to use

Let's get started!

Areas of focus in Q1

In April, we shared our initial thoughts on the 22/23 DES and some activities to focus on between April, May and June.

Check out that blog here, but to summarise, we believed most networks would benefit from looking at;

b) Reviewing their governance and finance

c) Developing and delivering local improvement pathways and workforce strategies

Business as usual activities

This list should be becoming familiar to you as it presents the business-as-usual services and activities we all should be delivering.

DES specifications

  • Extended Access and moving into Enhanced Access from 1st October.

  • Social Prescribing.

  • Enhanced Care in Care Homes.

  • Cardiovascular Disease (CVD).

  • Medication reviews and medicines optimisation.

  • Early Cancer Diagnosis (ECD).

  • Tackling Neighbourhood Health Inequalities.

  • Delivering on the Impact and Investment Fund.

Details of the DES specifications can be found here.

Other areas for development

  • The vaccination programme – (If you are still delivering this).

  • Monitoring network performance.

  • Recruitment.

  • Stakeholder management.

  • Local contracts and projects the PCN is also delivering on.

For Clinical Directors

As we move into quarter 2 (Q2), it's a timely opportunity to review;

  1. What has been working well?

  2. What progress have we made in relation to the Impact and Investment Fund (IIF)?

  3. Where are we with the DES, and could we easily evidence our progress and performance against the specifications if our local primary care team asked us?

  4. What does the financial position of the network look like?

  5. What next steps do we need to take in relation to Enhanced Access?

  6. Do we want to support phase 5 of the Covid Vaccinations, and what are our next steps?

  7. If you commission services, should we get in touch with our providers to ensure everything is on track?

  8. What must we do?

  9. What one thing could be done in the next 90 days to enhance or maintain our performance?

A Checklist For PCN Managers

Here is a plan of action for you to modify and add to.

Performance Management

  1. Review your IIF progress and share it with the network. In one of the PCNs we support, their pharmacy tech compiled this data.

  2. If you haven't already made one, create a simple DES tracker using EXCEL, which details the requirements of the DES for you to quickly assess where you are and what needs to be done and discuss with your team.

Service Development

  1. Identify the net steps regarding Enhanced Access.

  2. Identify the next steps regarding Covid Vaccinations.

Workforce Planning

  1. Review your workforce plan to see if you are on track? What roles need to be recruited to?

  2. Ensure you are aware of the annual leave of your PCN Team as we are now in the summer period.

Financial Management

  1. Review your finances from Q1 and see if any payments are outstanding

Communication and Engagement

  1. What updates need to be shared with the PCN?

  2. What does your upcoming meeting schedule look like, and do any meetings need to be rescheduled due to holidays?

  3. Update your 90-day plan and share with the team.

Key Timelines

We also have included the key timelines presented in the PCN DES to inform you of what needs working on now and what can wait.


Initial deadline

Service goes live

Submit Enhanced Access plan to commissioners


31st July 2022

1st October 2022

Commissioners must agree and the Enhanced Access Plan with PCNs


​31st August 2022

1st October 2022

Data sharing and processing arrangements to start Enhanced Access delivery must be in place


1st October 2022

Extended Access goes live


1st October 2022

Commissioners must agree an estimate of unclaimed ARRS funding for 22/23


​31st August 2022

All PCN staff must complete refresher training for Shared Decision Making


30th September 2022

Personalised Care Design must be complete


30th September 2022

On 1st October

Delivery of a proactive social prescribing service for an identified cohort

Personalised care review must be complete along with shared decision-making audits


31st March 2023

A PCN must contribute to the development of ICS Anticipatory Care design


Late 2022

Late 2022

I hope this helps!

If you’re new to your PCN Manager role and are unsure of what is expected of you, please check out our PCN Accelerator Programme below

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Tara and Team THC provide project and network management and training to Primary Care Networks. Between our training programmes, facilitation and interim network programmes, we have now supported over 50 PCNs!

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.

Find out more about THC Primary Care at

And follow Tara on Twitter @THCPrimarycare


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