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What to do when your Primary Care Network does not agree

Updated: May 9, 2023

At THC Primary Care, we provide resources for primary care network leaders and this week's blog is specifically for any of you who may be experiencing some conflict in your network rights now.

Navigating your Primary Care Network can be tricky, especially when your practices don't agree on a course of action.

Moments like this can feel extremely challenging for all parties involved, and quite commonly, in our experience, one party can feel that they are bending over backwards to accommodate another, whilst the other party feels that they are not being heard.

I wish this blog could provide you with a perfect checklist to follow (which would result in you never having to go through this), but this is sadly impossible.

What we can do though is provide you with a list of considerations to help you proactively minimise and address any tensions.


If you are reading this, and you know me, I am not specifically talking about you.

This blog is an accumulation of my experiences, observations and mentorship calls that I have had with other PCN Managers, Clinical Directors, Pharmacists, and Social Prescribers and other PCN staff.

The questions and thought processes are my step one in attempting to resolve conflict, which I am pleased to say (to date) have been highly effective.

Before we get started, and if you find yourself in the midst of conflict…..

  1. Don’t rush in to fix it. This needs to be handled carefully and sensitively but also, don’t ignore it.

  2. Acknowledge the situation. Only you can decide how formal the initial conversation needs to be but our first instinct is always to pick up the phone.

  3. Don’t gossip about it.

  4. Understand that this isn’t about you. Don’t make it personal.

  5. Remember, no one wants to be in this situation. Conflict can be extremely stressful and can take a toll on your mental and physical health.

Why do networks disagree? Setting the context.

I believe the easiest way to explain this is 👇🏾

How to manage conflict when it occurs...

Before you read on, it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. What works for one person may not work for another but here are some options to consider

Get clear on the rationale for the decision in the first place.

Consider the facts:

What led you down this road?

  1. Cost

  2. Efficiency / productivity

  3. Quality

  4. Ease of use

  5. Equity

  6. Access

  7. Contract requirements

  8. Safety

  9. Timing

  10. Complaints

Define The Problem

What is it that you and your Primary Care team are disagreeing about?

  • What is the issue? (Trust, equity, history, communication, governance?)

  • Is this issue related to people issues, performance or systems and processes?

  • What are the facts?

  • What are the implications of the issue?

  • How many people / practices are experiencing the issue?

  • How long has this been an issue for?

  • What is not being said?

  • What is your role in this?

  • What are the options for moving forwards positively?

We hope this helps!

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Whilst we share a lot of information in our blogs, there is so much more, and for those of you who are looking to invest in your professional development and the performance of your network, our programmes are full of tools, templates and master classes.

We also provide facilitation.

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 200 episodes.

I have over 20 years of project management and business development experience across the private and public sectors, and I have supported over 80 PCNs by providing interim management, training and consultancy.

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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