Can a Primary Care Network deliver the NHS Long Term Plan?
How does a Primary Care Clinical Network with common policies, deliver the NHS Long Term Plan? General practices have limited spare-time and energy to invest in creating Primary Care Network (PCNs). Working as a PCN has also introduced challenges for staffing/clinical governance including policies/procedures. The challenge is even greater with Primary Care investment being low and increasing patient complexity.We recognized the need to work in a common-way in many areas. To facilitate developing our PCN and amalgamating our processes we employed a Project Manager to support the Clinical Director/Practice Managers.
The Project Manager was able to spend time understanding the expected work of the PCN and support mechanisms e.g. the shared income stream, the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme supporting the CDs in decision making. The service specification that funds the PCNs could also be developed sharing ideas to improve/develop Directed Enhanced Services, or find existing services. Where policies/procedures required a common approach e.g. Adverse Weather/Business Continuity Planning the Project Manager amalgamated existing documents producing common/single documents. Sharing good practice/learning ensured learning quickly and efficiently. It was recognized some areas may be different.GDPR required common documents to be produced to allow data sharing if patients were to be able to be seen at any site, including privacy statements and Data Protection Impact Assessments. Mapping back office staff skills allowed planning for ‘neighbourhood’ working in Business Continuity Plans. Audit work to support QoF submissions/NHS DSPT could be benchmarked and compared. The Project Manager was able to direct/administer all audits.
The Project Manager Found, and understood the funding available to support the PCN and funded new roles – doing things differently/preventing illness and tackling health inequalities/getting the most out of taxpayers investment in the NHS Developed and share new policies/protocols and ensure old ones were up-to-date - backing our workforce. Shared good practice and find new ways of ensuring compliance with many common submissions and processes in Primary Care e.g. NHS DSPT, SARs, PatientOnLine preparation, safeguarding returns – making better use of data and digital technology/getting the most out of taxpayers investment in the NHS. This allowed the practices to continue to function with little disturbance to the delivery of care, often improving back office service delivery.
The Project Manager allowed CD and Practice Managers to continue to spend time doing their usual-work ensuring they were able to give more time and energy to the PCN when required. To maintain independence but work together using a third party to review ways of working and find new/improved systems has made amalgamation less fraught. Moving forward with joint working now trust has been developed will be easier.