Module 2

Welcome to Module 2 – Building successful Primary Care Networks

Module 2 explores the building blocks for PCN working from the partnership perspective and it will provide you with a deeper appreciation as to why partnerships sometimes fail, how to overcome the barriers, and the foundations needed to help establish common purpose, trust, leadership buy-in from the outset and how to build more effective relationships across your PCN and beyond. You will learn how to forge successful multi-disciplinary teams operating across your PCN. Module 2 is structured around 4 different Units of Learning.

Unit 1 – Setting up the PCN Partnership

An essential first step in building successful Primary Care Networks is to understand and define the concept of primary care network, how this fits with the wider health and social care system, as well as the type of partnership that the PCN is.

We know from the NHS Policies that a PCN is a geographically contiguous teams of practices caring for a population of 30,000 to 50,000 people delivering data-driven integrated multi-disciplinary team based services. We also know that its purpose is to:

  • stabilise general practice, including the GP partnership model
  • address capacity gaps and improve skill-mix by growing the wider workforce by over 20,000 wholly additional staff as well as helping to increase GP and nurse numbers
  • become a proven platform for further local NHS investment
  • dissolve the divide between primary and community care, with PCNs looking out to community partners not just in to fellow practices
  • systematically deliver new services to implement the Long Term Plan, including the seven new service specifications, and achieved clear, positive and quantified impacts for people, patients and the wider NHS.

Learning Outcome:
A deeper appreciation as to why the PCN partnerships can sometimes fail, and of the building blocks needed to help establish common purpose, trust, leadership buy-in and a shared motivation for change from the outset across the PCN.

Unit 2 – Developing powerful PCN Partnerships

Academics Huxham and Vangen (2005) said that because collaborations were inherently difficult, ‘you should only collaborate is the task requires collaboration to succeed.’

So, it is not surprising to discover that when PCNs do come together, they spend most of their time focusing on the ‘deal’ aspects of the PCN – the integration of services they seek to deliver together.

However, the essence of good ‘Collaborative Leadership’ is all about getting the right balance between the deal (what we want to achieve by working together) and the relationship (how we work together as a team to realise the deal and the other challenges that are likely to arise). Get this balance in kilter and working collaboratively across the PCN becomes easier.

To help you achieve this, we devised a simple framework you can use to guide the facilitative process enabling the teams themselves to address the ‘deal’ and ‘relationship’ aspects of PCN working in a positive way. The process is as follows:

It is important to remember to get all member practices commitment to using this simple framework to guide their discussions on setting up and developing the PCN Partnership. The member practices will need to understand the benefits this framework can bring to them, as they seek to engage their staff in the setting up of the PCN partnerships.

You may well be asked to facilitate these team meeting sessions, as they seek to establish their own understanding of the PCN partnership and how it will change the way that they work together and with others across the partnership. Managing member practice expectations will be important too. This Unit of this module will build your understanding on how to structure and facilitate these meetings using the 4-step process. It also provides you with the tools and templates you can use when facilitating strategic discussions across your PCN.

Learning Outcome:
Developing your partnership facilitative skills and providing you with a series of tools, templates, and techniques to help you forge and develop successful PCN partnerships at the strategic level.

Unit 3 – Building Multi-Disciplinary Teams

Based on Newman’s (2011) work on innovation teams and SSA’s work with collaborative teams across the public sector, we noted that high performing and innovative multi-agency teams were built on four foundations: hearts and behaviours, a shared approach, a common purpose and leveraging each other’s organisations.

What marks out successful collaborative teams is the level of trust they have built over time and the clarity and commitment they have for their common purpose. As we previously outlined, it’s all about trust and vision. Successful teams spend time at the outset building trust (hearts and minds) and a shared vision (common purpose). These are the first two building blocks for successful collaborative team working.

Next the team must determine how it makes change happen. This has two aspects: a common approach to innovation (shared approach), and a willingness to go back into their own organisations when needed to ensure that their resources are leveraged behind the noble cause (leveraging your organisation).

This Unit looks at the building blocks of successful multi-disciplinary teams, the different types of teams that you might experience across a PCN, and the roles involved in a multi-disciplinary team.

Learning Outcome:
A deeper understanding of the practical actions that you as a PCN leader can do to help set-up effective and sustainable MDTs.

Unit 4 – Returning to you

The first three units are focused on the setting up and development of Primary Care Networks as well as the multi-disciplinary teams working across the PCNs. When combined, these elements make up the basic template for HOW TO DO collaboration within the PCN context. The last unit, Unit 4, examines HOW TO BE collaborative.

Working across PCNs and in multidisciplinary teams will require you to lead beyond departmental silos and organisational boundaries, facilitate the process, whilst making change happen when you don’t have positional power or authority, regardless of the discipline you have.

As Middleton (2007) explained, someone with the capability to lead beyond the boundaries of their own authority do this by ‘adopting real interest in people and building consensus, verses the traditional focuses on gaining power by whatever means, resulting in leaders still gaining “integrity and authenticity” and therefore power’.

Ultimately, successful multidisciplinary team working will require successful collaborative leaders.

Unit 4 will provide you with an opportunity to reflect on the skills and behaviours required to be successful in your PCN and/or the multi-disciplinary team you are working in and identify your areas of development.

Learning Outcome:
Develop new insights into how to build trusting relationships, across professional disciplines, between teams and with the community

What materials do you have to go through for each Unit?
On the PCSA platform, you will have a video for each Unit outlined above, introducing you to the main theory and practice for that respective unit, as well as the self-reflective activities which you will need to fill in the Module 2 workbook.

We suggest you have your workbook either as a hard-copy or opened on your computer while watching the videos and undertake the self-activities in the workbook while progressing through the various units of learning.

The self-activities for each Unit of Learning for Module 2 are outlined in the workbook. To ensure the learning is embedded as you progress through the programme and the learning outcomes achieved, we recommend you undertake the self-activities in their entirety.

Download Workbook

Remember to download your workbook for Module 2 on your PC in word format or print it as a hardcopy before progressing further.