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What to focus on in Q3 and how to present your quarterly dashboard

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

At THC Primary Care, we create resources for Primary Care Network leaders to make running their networks a little bit easier.

In this blog, I will provide my take on what PCN leaders will need to focus on in Q3 as a starter for ten and how to present your quarterly dashboard.

The quarterly review is a process where I look back (to review the past progress) and consider where to focus my efforts and the network's moving forward.

Many of you will be doing this already, but it's always good to return to basics.

In this blog, we cover:

1️⃣ The key business-as-usual activities.

2️⃣ The importance of allocating your Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme spend now.

3️⃣ A starter for ten to help clarify the position of your existing projects (and locally commissioned services).

4️⃣ Ideas to consider on how to communicate with your patients as we enter winter pressures

5️⃣ A walk-through of a simple dashboard which will showcase network performance each quarter.

Grab your notebook, remove distractions and let's jump in!

what to focus on in Q3 for Primary Care network leaders and how to present your quarterly dashboard

Business As Usual

We fully recognise that no PCN is the same. Many teams run many different projects day-to-day, and 'business as usual' may differ.

With this in mind, here's a list of the core services (and activities) that Primary Care Networks are required to deliver.

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➡️ Enhanced Access

➡️ Social Prescribing

➡️ Enhanced Care in Care Homes

➡️ Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

➡️ Medication reviews and medicines optimisation

➡️ Early Cancer Diagnosis (ECD)

➡️ Tackling Neighbourhood Health Inequalities

➡️ Monitoring network performance

➡️ Contract reviews (if you commission services)

➡️ Recruitment

➡️ Stakeholder management

➡️ The Investment and Impact Fund

🎯 Here is where you will want to review what is working well and identify the areas where improvement is required.

Details of the DES specification can be found here.

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Reviewing and utilising the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme

Now really is the time to think strategically about how to utilise your total ARRS budget best and not wait until Q4 to do this.

Some networks have devolved their ARRS budget down to practices; others hold their budget at the network level and deliver services in this manner. Others adopt a hybrid approach.

Whatever your approach, ensure you are aligned with your network's vision and working collaboratively.

We have written a blog called A comprehensive guide to the Primary Care Network Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme which can be found here.

🎯 If you want to commission services, be clear about what you need and can accommodate and ensure your practices are truly onboard. Otherwise, this will create unnecessary work and frustration on both sides.

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Capacity and Access

I know many networks have not received confirmation on the status of their local capacity and access plan, but I would still progress with this.

Check out this THC blog for an overview of the specification, where we share 15 top tips to help you approach your improvement plan.

PCN projects and locally commissioned services.

Not every PCN is involved in running projects, but if you are, you may wish to consider and incorporate the following into your Q3 plan to ensure clarity and outcomes.

➡️ Service/project scope

➡️ Patient cohort

➡️ The process map

➡️ Training requirements

➡️ Income

➡️ How the service/project will be delivered

➡️ Key dates

➡️ Risk and issues

➡️ Next steps

➡️ ETC…….

Managing winter pressures

Winter pressures is an NHS term which defines the spike in demand when an already-stressed system experiences increased pressure, impacting patient wait times, workforce capacity, staff wellbeing, and health and care financial budgets.

Winter pressures also relates to specific illnesses such as respiratory diseases, flu, chest infections and other conditions which respond poorly to cold weather peaks in the winter.

🎯Taking into account your existing workforce (within both practice and PCN) AND your ARRS budget, this is the time to think about who (or which) services you will need to support you through the winter this year.

This is also an opportunity to reflect on last year and review what worked well or see this as an opportunity to do things differently to help manage demand.

Whilst at the EMIS NUG conference, I sat in on a presentation delivered by Kay Keane, a Practice Manager and Director at the Institute of General Practice Management, who is passionate about social media's role in engaging patients.

Kay invited us to consider whether there may be an opportunity to share information on common complaints and frequent visits, which could be managed differently. We have had the pleasure of welcoming Kay onto the Business of Healthcare Podcast and you can listen to the episode by clicking here.

A couple of great examples of how to communicate patient information is shown here in these videos:⬇️

I'm just providing some food for thought 😀.

Strep A (Scarlet fever) infection information for patients.

🎯You may also want to clarify your HR and sickness policies with COVID-19 on the rise and in the event of adverse weather, to support workforce planning and managing expectations.

Presenting your quarterly dashboard

One of the most common complaints network staff share with us is the lack of communication and visibility regarding progress.

The board wants to know what is happening behind the scenes (particularly where progress is and isn’t being made), so I walk you through a simple way to present this information in the video below.

PCN Managers and administrators who are part of our PCN Management Induction Programme have this editable template as part of their subscription. For those of you who want to purchase the template, check out our templates store.

We hope this helps!


About the Author

the business of healthcare podcast with Tara Humphrey

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 120 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, and also hosts The Business of Healthcare Podcast.


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Find out more about THC Primary Care at:

Follow the team on Twitter: @THCPrimarycare.


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