The Role of the Primary Care Network Manager
Updated: Jan 4
A 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.
This infrastructure is comprised of systems, processes, relationships, staff, financial models, contract requirements, financial models and the reach of the network. They are there to help the PCN shape and execute the vision of the network.
With more contract specifications, more projects, more roles and money to manage; your Network Manager is essential to help your network reach its fullest potential and ensure things do not fall through the cracks.
The 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 of 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.
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 PCN
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
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
Tara provides project and network management to Primary Care Networks and coaching support to clinical leads and has worked with 11 Training Hubs and 12 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 180 blogs also hosts The Business of Healthcare Podcast.
Find out more about THC Primary Care at www.thcprimarycare.co.uk
And follow Tara on Twitter @THCPrimarycare