• Tara Humphrey

The Ultimate Guide to Hiring Your Primary Care Network Manager

We have created the ultimate guide for Primary Care Network Clinical Directors to gain a better understanding of the PCN Manager role to help them recruit your next superstar!

In this jam-packed guide, we provide direction on the following areas.

1. Getting Started - What do you want the role to do?

Some of our most popular blogs provide insight into the role of a PCN Manager:

Whilst the role of the Primary Care Network Manager will vary from network to network, I believe many PCNs require their manager to develop and maintain eight core pillars:

  1. HR

  2. Business Development and Horizon Scanning

  3. Contract Management

  4. Financial Management

  5. Operations Management

  6. Project Management

  7. Relationship Management

  8. Strategic Planning

Depending on the maturity, size, existing support and infrastructure, you will need to decide what you need.

I appreciate that you want the job description up and ready, but I encourage you to consider what you need, what support you can provide, and if this role is wanted.

Do you want the above pillars developed, or are you looking for an administrator/coordinator?

The framework below will help you better to understand the difference between coordination and strategic leadership. I created this resource as I have seen many PCNs employ coordinators expecting them to undertake a management role or experienced managers capable of so much more. Download the framework and see what you think.

2. Collectively agree on the objectives of the role

Now you have a better understanding of the role; it's time to carefully decide as a network what objectives you would like this role to fulfil.

I wouldn't leave this task just down to the Clinical Director, as all of the network's board members need to see the value of this appointment.

3. Employment Model - Permanent Employee or Contractor

Now you have decided what you need and why you need it, do you hire a permanent, fixed-term or a contractor for the role?

Neither is better or worse. Employees and contractors serve slightly different needs.

The table below will help you weigh up what will work for you.

4. Agree on the finances

Once you have collectively agreed on why you need the role, what you want this person to do, and the mechanism to hire them, you need to assign a budget to invest in this area.

To reiterate, this is an investment and not a cost.

The more experienced the manager, the higher the investment and the more they can do for you.

The qualifications, professional development, accolades, the years in service, the deliverables from past clients or employment and testimonials, all play into the salary or fees of the contractor.

Value their experience, expertise and skills just like you would want people to value yours.

A less experienced person may need more training, direction and support. This is an excellent opportunity to develop someone, and I am seeing this work well.

You will have to decide which level of experience will help you achieve your goals.

Please also remember that the network manager should help you plan for the future and will release your time, enabling you to concentrate on those things only you can do.

I have seen many roles being offered between £45- £50k per annum.

5. The Job Description

Attached is a PCN Manager job description we have used on multiple occasions when helping PCNs recruit to the management role.

This JD should provide you with an excellent foundation to get you started.

PCN Manager JD Example 2022
Download DOCX • 36KB

6. Where to advertise

Do not just limit yourself to NHS jobs.

Share your JD with friends, colleagues, family, use social media, maybe your Federation, CCG, LMC, and us at THC Primary Care. Share it and share it again and let your potential new manager know you can't wait to find and support them in this Role.

7. Shortlisting

When shortlisting, think skills. Many networks are looking for a PCN Manager who has done the role below; however, focus on the core skills and attributes, and you can teach them the rest.

I used to be a shift running manager at McDonald's, a team leader in the insurance industry and a Business Development Manager at a University before I entered the world of primary care, so please do not overlook people's work experience.

8. The Interview

Now you have a great pool of candidates, and it's time to prep your interview questions.

Here is a list of questions for you to use and adapt to help you find the right candidate for your network.

1. What attracted you to apply for the Role?

2. How would you describe what a primary care network is?

3. What do you know about our primary care network?

4. What essential skills do you feel a PCN Manager needs to succeed in the Role?

5. What do you anticipate the challenges of the Role will be?

6. Can you share an example of how you have facilitated a conversation and struggled to gain a consensus to move forward? What happened?

7. Can you provide us with an example of how you led a project that involved multiple organisations?

8. If appointed, how would you approach your first 90 days?

9. Have you ever had to make an unpopular decision or announcement? Please, describe the reaction you received and how you handled this?

10. Can you share a project you are particularly proud of and your approach to making this happen?

11. What do you feel is needed to create a highly engaged network?

12. How would you describe your management/ communication style?

13. If appointed, what support would you need to support you to be successful in this Role?

14. Please describe your ideal employer?

You can also use this list to help you prepare for the interview if you are the candidate.

Along with the questions, you will need to decide if the interview will take place in person and who will be on the panel.

9. The first 90 days

Hopefully, you have now found your superstar manager, and now you will need a plan for the next 90 days. The Role of the Primary Care Network Manager's blog provides you with a framework to help guide your manager in their first 90 days and serves as an induction checklist for you.

10. The Monthly Check-in

Once hired, your PCN Manager should receive a monthly check-in ( as a minimum) to see how things are progressing.

We have these covered, and you can use the framework here to help guide these conversations.


So here you have it. This is your guide to support you in recruiting your superstar PCN Manager.

Please include your practice managers in progress as the relationship between your PCN Manager and Practice Managers are key.

Ensure you are ready for them when they start and set up key meetings and touchpoints, so they have direction.

If you found this blog useful, you may also like;

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At THC, we provide an introductory course for new PCN Managers. This is ideal for forming part of your PCN Manager's induction period.

Tara is a PCN Manager and MD at THC Primary Care with an MBA in Healthcare Leadership and Management.

Tara is published in the London Journal of Primary Care, is the author of over 200 blogs, and hosts The Business of Healthcare Podcast and has worked with 19 PCNs to date.

Find out more about THC Primary Care at www.thcprimarycare.co.uk.

And follow Tara on:

Twitter: @THCPrimarycare

LinkedIn: /tarahumphreythc

Instagram: @tarahumphreyy