The Right Customer is Key!

It may seem like a really obvious thing to state but finding the right customer with whom to work is vital!

As leaders of Primary Care Networks (PCNs), Clinical Directors (CDs) may be the most obvious people to go for when looking to engage with your local PCN, but they have limited time – around a day a week – and a significant volume of work, responsibilities and tasks to discharge in this time. To put it another way: they are swamped. Consequently, even when they are willing, you are unlikely to find they have the time to meet and engage with you, so who should you be trying to engage with?

We would strongly advise you to establish who represents the PCN constituent practices, or the GP federation of which the PCN is part, if they have one.

Check if the PCN and/or GP federation are business-ready? Do they have a track record of project and service delivery and examples you can point to that suggest they will engage? Have you completed your research and checked the Companies House record for the GP Federation (please see earlier article on this topic) and looked for their own website to build a clear picture of why this is the right group to engage with? In our work we then test their engagement using very simple and basic service changes, which are all in their own gift, to ensure the engagement is real and they can deliver.

The other thing to bear in mind is that, Covid-19 apart, the majority of PCNs contain practices who have not had to work together in this way previously and are getting to grips with their own internal relationships as well as having to decide the hows, whichs and whats of the new additional reimbursed roles that they want to deploy within their networks. Also bear in mind that many ICSs are literally just in the process of forming and have only just got into the starting blocks. In a nutshell, each part of the country has parts of the system that are at differing levels of maturity and business-readiness, and you need to do your homework to establish that in the areas in which you work to ensure that you approach and engage with the right people.

For those working secondary care there is a completely new client base for you as well in the business development, contracting and finance teams, who will look at your projects and approaches in a very different way. There will also be STP and ICS leads you can target. We have numerous examples of hospitals coming together with their local PCNs, federations and super practices to develop their integrated approach. This is an agenda that is ripe for your input, but only if you understand it and can connect with the right people, who are unlikely to be the clinical leads.

Next time, we be looking at the prevention agenda, what it is and isn’t and how you can engage with that agenda, which includes links into the positive impact on the workload and the workforce. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please make contact.

Scott McKenzie is an independent management consultant supporting GP Practices, GP Federations, Primary Care Networks of 30k-50k structure correctly to then deliver high quality patient outcomes with financially viable solutions. Scott is working to support the Pharma, Med Tech and Device Companies better engage and access the NHS. For more information on how we can support you please contact Frances on 0845 388 0302 or email

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