How do you lead a Primary Care Network?

On 1st July, almost 1,300 Primary Care Networks (PCNs) become live across England, each with a newly-appointed Clinical Director (CD) in post. PCNs are local networks made up of teams including GPs, pharmacists, district nurses, physiotherapists, paramedics and physician associates, with the aim to offer more proactive, personalised, coordinated and joined-up health and social care for patients.  Typical PCNs serve communities of around 30,000 – 50,000 people; this population is small enough to provide the personal care that is valued by patients and GPs, but large enough to have an impact through practices and others collaborating, sharing services and resources.

The new Clinical Directors will have significant responsibilities in their part-time roles.  Organising practices into PCNs is a vital part of the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan to move more care out of hospital and into the community, and placing a greater focus on preventative care.  What skills and strategies will CDs need to deliver these outcomes and transform the patient experience?  How about the following:

  • The ability to seek common purpose and agree a shared vision – skills to describe a compelling vision of the future, that appeals to practice partners and staff?
  • Leadership skills to encourage and empower others, and to lead and manage teams?
  • Confidence to challenge assumptions and perceptions and resolve potential conflicts?
  • Understand and practice a population health focus?
  • Develop innovative plans collectively – to deliver better outcomes for staff and patients?
  • To be an active and collaborative partner in your local health and care network?

What do others think?  If you are a new Clinical Director in post, how confident and capable do you feel about taking on these challenges?  How will you get your support?