The benefits of signing up to the DES

At SMC we have continued to work with and support Primary Care Networks (PCN) throughout the challenging times with Covid-19. With deadlines fast approaching, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and make a knee jerk decision; however, this is why many practices have worked with the Primary Care Transformation Team at SMC in online facilitated workshops. Those workshops enable the Practices to take the time to consider what the future looks like and whether being part of a PCN is right for them.

In the sessions we run, the focus has been on the Practice business plans for the next 4 years and beyond. Does being part of a PCN make that easier to achieve? Would the PCN potentially make it easier to recruit and retain a team? Conversely, is the plan easier accomplished outside of a PCN?

We encourage people and practices to think individually and focus on what's right for each practice. Nothing is rushed or forced, we help you take the time you need, and we can share many examples from our work to support your deliberations. This needs careful consideration and a conscious decision.

We can, of course, see lots of benefits and opportunities for Practices in signing the PCN DES, including the ability to address workforce and workload issues through employment to the additional reimbursed roles. The PCN provides a voice in shaping the future locally based upon your local community assets, which we can support you to map. Developing projects that positively impact both the workload and the workforce have also featured heavily in the recognised benefits, where anything proposed must positively impact both. We have worked with the Clinical Directors to build on the collaborations seen in the Covid-19 response, where many want to continue the new working relationships, building upon these and enhancing the outcomes for member practices within the PCN.

Within our work we have many good examples of people and practices making the best of the opportunity the PCNs offer and building a compelling vision for the future is part of the workshop support. Sharing workforce to tackle workload is often to the fore in the early developments. Building relationships with the wider stakeholders and other providers to ensure a joined up multi-disciplinary team approach is another area we often find ourselves working with. The key is that everything is bespoke and built for each client individually, nothing comes pre-planned and off the shelf at SMC.

We sense this is why we already see success within the PCNs we support. It may also explain why we find ourselves working with a small number of PCNs where they are in the process of merging to be one PCN with one Practice. The long term vision for the Practices is about larger scale making it a more attractive model to work within. They want us to support them create a self-sufficient, strong, resilient and independent model based upon a clear and compelling vision for the short to medium term.

At SMC we have been involved in supporting the development of some very ambitious PCNs with even more ambitious plans, which are already delivering for our clients. We are also certain within 12 to 18 months we will see some remarkable models emerge. Our sense is the benefits outweigh the downsides and we are confident in working with you we can demonstrate this to your advantage.

If you want to develop a business ready at scale provider organisation, Primary Care Network, GP federation, Super Practice, PCH or ICS, or are about to deliver any form of change, and are looking for a model to engage every stakeholder in that change, and would like more information on how Scott McKenzie UK Ltd can help and support you please contact please Frances on 0845 388 0302 or email

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