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The Role of the Primary Care Network Manager

Updated: Jan 25

The Role

A Primary Care Network Manager, in essence, is there to build the business infrastructure of the Primary Care Network (PCN) working alongside the Clinical Director, all member practices and stakeholders.

With more contract specifications, more projects, more roles and more money to manage; your PCN Manager is essential to help your network reach its fullest potential and ensure things do not fall through the cracks.

The Primary Care Network Manager, depending on their experience and how you see them, may also be referred to as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operating Officer (COO) or Operations Manager.

What can they do?

  • Represent the network in stakeholder meetings.

  • Proactive stakeholder engagement.

  • Business planning (that includes financial and workforce planning).

  • Manage the contractual requirements of the network.

  • Coordinate training and development.

  • Coordinate recruitment and retention of new roles.

  • Coordinate, administer or chair meetings.

  • Ensure the network is kept up to date with national and local policies.

  • Implement network projects.

  • Create and implement systems and processes.

What should the PCN be looking for in a Network Manager?

Your Network Manager is a highly skilled professional with experience in leading complex initiatives.

They may have experience in practice management, clinical commissioning, GP Federations, leading private organisations or in fact, run their own consultancy.

Experience in primary care is valuable but not essential if you have a supportive network with the time to invest in filling in their blind spots. Our PCN Leads Accelerator Programme can support you with this.

Ultimately; business acumen, project, relationship and operations management is what is needed along with tremendous resilience and resourcefulness to deliver the role successfully.

Benefits to the Primary Care Network

The role of the network manager will:

  • Increase the capacity of the Clinical Director so they can focus on the clinical leadership required of the PCN, rather than the business and administration side of the network.

  • Provide a skilled resource to support the direction and sustainability of the network

Case Study:

Initially, Cranbrook PCN hired an interim Network Manager to lead the implementation of two network-based projects looking at Type 2 Diabetes and proactive care at home.

After eight weeks, the Network Manager is now, along with the management of the projects;

  • Using their own network to support the recruitment.

  • Onboarding new roles within the Additional Role Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS). Creating inductions, training programmes and rotas.

  • Enhancing communication with the network, bringing more structure to network meetings. And has introduced a practice managers PCN forum and a network newsletter.

  • In the process of building a business plan and not just a workforce plan.

  • Liaises weekly with the GP Federation which provides the legal entity to employ new roles.

  • Informing and writing the development plan.

  • Ensuring workforce submissions are made on time.

  • Has oversight of the flu DES.

As the role moves forward,

The network manager will have oversight of:

  • All of the DES contracts.

  • The local Pilot in Primary Care Scheme (PIP Project).

  • The networks Local Incentive Schemes (LIS).

Cranbrook PCN is comprised of eight practices covering a population of 49,218 patients, and the network manager is contracted two days a week.

“The manager is the ambassador for the PCN, who represents the PCN and ensures it operates effectively on a day to day basis. This involves excellent communication with member practices and all stakeholders. Having an effective manager has really helped me focus on providing clinical and strategic leadership for the PCN as Clinical Director.”

Dr Altaf Baloch, Co-Clinical Director Cranbrook Primary Care Network


The Role of the Primary Care Network Manager

I have also released a podcast episode with the same title, if you prefer to receive information via this format please do download today by clicking the image below.

We hope this helps!


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 240 episodes.

I have over 20 years of project management and business development experience across the private and public sectors.

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.

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