2020 PCN Conference: GPC negotiator details PCN workforce expansion

Are you attending our PCN Conference on 8 February 2020? 

We’re bringing clinical directors and practice managers together to learn from leading experts and their peers and discuss the various and innovative ways primary care networks are developing across the country. 

To give you a sneak peek at conference highlights, we talked with one of the key speakers, Dr Krishna Kasaraneni, about his work with the BMA and the General Practitioners Committee in providing more support to our developing primary care networks. 

Name: Dr Krishna Kasaraneni

Role: GP and GPC Contract Negotiator for the BMA

Member of General Practitioners Committee since 2011

Could you please tell us about your background and your work as a GP and a GPC Contract Negotiator for the BMA?

I’m a GP based in Sheffield at a practice with 13,000 patients, and my background is mainly in workforce, equality and diversity issues in the medical profession. I became a member of the GPC in 2011 and joined the negotiation team in 2017. 

My role in the GPC allows me to be part of the annual contract negotiation process and support primary care networks by getting feedback from PCN clinical directors on what support they need to build their workforce. I’ve travelled all around England, from Cornwall to Manchester, to learn about the varied challenges facing PCNs in both urban and rural areas of the country.

You’ve been working closely with the BMA to develop primary care network support services. Could you give a few examples of the work you’ve done to support PCNs?

My role as a member of the GPC is to negotiate the contract in a way that ensures we’re providing support that PCNs say they need to actively recruit new employees, inspire collaboration and manage their workload – thereby encouraging the workforce expansion that our practices have long needed. 

I’ve been meeting with PCNs to discuss what support they need. Sometimes it’s to build their workforce and manage new recruits, and other times it’s to help manage or maintain difficult relationships. I take that feedback directly to the national negotiations. 

I want to make sure the new contract gives PCN leaders what they need to develop their PCN, and that they are not forced into anything that will make their job more difficult. What clinical directors are repeatedly telling me at the moment is that they need more time and space.

What are some of the challenges you’ve seen PCNs overcome, specifically with the support of the BMA?

The biggest challenge is that practices just simply don’t have the time or space to work together as PCNs in many areas. Geographic, cultural and relationship challenges add to this and make recruiting and managing workloads even more difficult.  The more recent challenge was the draft service specification from NHS England which was completely unrealistic. Due to PCN feedback, the BMA rejected those proposals and we’re currently working on a package that is supportive of general practice. 

Thanks to how we at the BMA have structured our PCN support services, many clinical directors and other PCN leaders have come forward to discuss the challenges they’re facing and ask for support, specifically around workforce planning and management. For example, our PCN commuity app provides a forum for clinical directors and others to share the problems they’re facing and find common solutions. We now have nearly 500 actively engaging in these discussions, and when someone raises a question about workforce planning or how to get other teams involved, they can find helpful advice from their peers. We also send them information about our Learning and development service which provides valuable skills in these areas. 

Taking that a step further and applying it locally, we’re working to get the conversation started – or even restarted – in many PCNs, to really dig into the source of these challenges and how the BMA and GPC contract negotiations can resolve them. And, we’re not only informing our negotiations – we’re taking your feedback and incorporating it into improving our PCN services to make sure we’re dealing with the topics important to PCNs. 

What achievements have you seen in the local medical community around PCN development? Could you give a few examples?

I’ve seen many, varied achievements within the last year!

A great example is having watched remote, rural medical communities come together to help their PCNs recruit staff that they’ve struggled to recruit in the past. PCNs in general are learning to work together and more effectively across their teams and practices. Many have been doing this for years with minimal funding, but where PCNs are afforded freedom and flexibility, they are beginning to turn things around – some of them will be at the conference to showcase these success stories!

What progress or achievements would you like to see in PCNs in the year ahead? 

I would like to see PCNs given the resources they need to build their workforce themselves and develop their PCN in a way that works for them. I hope to see that their recruitment and management challenges have been addressed and that they’re getting the support they need from the BMA and GPC. 

As a speaker at BMA’s PCN conference next month, what advice would you like to give attendees? 

I’d like to encourage delegates to use this conference as an opportunity to hear what’s happening around the country and have their say on the future of their PCN. This is a great chance to network with their peers and national leaders, and feed into the current processes by sharing the challenges they’re facing. 

It’s also an opportunity to gain an understanding of how other PCNs are progressing in their workforce recruitment and development and take the best ideas back to your own PCN to further your development. 

Register for the 2020 PCN Conference

Want to learn more about recent proposals or the potential opportunities and challenges for your PCN? Reserve your spot at our conference in February. 

Register for 2020 PCN Conference


Adrian Brooks2020 PCN Conference: GPC negotiator details PCN workforce expansion
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2020 PCN Conference: Community Pharmacy leads the way in PCN development

Are you attending our PCN Conference on 08 February 2020?  

We’re bringing clinical directors and practice managers together to learn from leading experts and their peers and discuss the various and innovative ways primary care networks are developing across the country.

To give you a sneak peek at conference highlights, we talked with one of the key speakers, Michael Lennox, Pharm.D, about his passion for community pharmacy and the work he’s doing to encourage collaboration between PCNs and community pharmacies.

Name: Michael Lennox

Role: Community Pharmacist

Experience in the medical community: Over 30 years

Could you tell us little bit about your background and your work as a Community Pharmacist?

I’ve been a community pharmacist for over 30 years, and I’ve taken on a variety of clinical practice and leadership roles throughout my career. I currently lead the Local Pharmaceutical Committee in Somerset, working with Somerset LMC. At this point of my career, I’m also heavily involved in community pharmacy development policy, primarily as Integration Lead within the National Pharmacy Association (NPA). The NPA is the leading representative voice and support agency for the independent community pharmacy sector, with 6400+ pharmacy contractor members. My role is to support community pharmacies in developing new models of care and new ways of working and connecting and collaborating with primary care networks is at the heart of this.

It sounds like you’re already involved and engaged in PCN development.  What has been your experience thus far?

Oh, for sure, I’d say 90% of what I do is PCN oriented! I’ve actually been involved from the very beginning – I foresaw the formation of PCNs way back in 2013, when I was working for a national pharmacy chain, leading on primary care. I started working with the NAPC to see how pharmacy could enable this primary care development. In 2016, I spent two years working with an NHS community provider social enterprise, working on the NHSE Practice Pharmacist Pilot Programme building teams of practice pharmacists to support surgeries across Devon and Cornwall. As a result, I started devising, developing and delivering clinical pharmacy services tailored to General Practice – gaining an in-depth appreciation and understanding of the challenges general practices were facing.

And, I started thinking about how community pharmacists could make a difference in support delivery too. For instance, how can community pharmacies and general practices optimise the end to end process of prescription production? How can patients be better supported with their medicines through the New Medicines Service (NMS) that is incorporated into the national pharmacy contract. Working together in these areas, we found we could optimise ops, reduce frustrations, grow trust and provide better care for our patients together.

I’m pleased to see that pharmacy is now being more thoughtfully baked into primary care development. I really support this idea that we need to work together to build clinical pharmacy systems that improve the lives of the people we’re serving.

What achievements have you experienced in establishing PCN collaboration with community pharmacies?

So, you’ll see me wearing my National Pharmacy Association badge with pride at the conference. The NPA represents the majority of independent pharmacy contractors, and I’m happy to have seen many of these local pharmacies beginning to become integrated into PCN development. Locally agile and autonomous independent pharmacies are a vital part of the care community and PCNs – these early adopters of collaborative working are to be applauded and encouraged!

Also, our new national pharmacy contract has landed, and as part of our Pharmacy Quality Scheme (our version of QOF) we’re focused on forming PCN-mirroring Community Pharmacy Networks with a PCN Community Pharmacy Lead in each one. This CP lead will then act as a point of contact for the PCN clinical directors, enabling and streamlining the points of contact between pharmacy and practice across the entire PCN system.

It seems that NHSE has mandated that PCN clinical directors reach out to their local community providers from April as well, and community pharmacy is one of the key players.  This has given us a great sense of direction at the moment and we’re excited about future development with PCNs – though we appreciate that there is much still to sort on the PCN road ahead.

In your opinion, how can PCNs benefit from working closely with a community pharmacy and vice versa?

Even if our collaboration hadn’t been mandated by the PCN-DES and our national contract direction, we would’ve strived for it anyway. Being involved in PCNs is crucial to the development of the care community and the future of pharmacy. Picture this – for every PCN, there are about 10 pharmacies and within those you’ve typically got 15 to 20 pharmacists and around 10 other members of staff per pharmacy! So, community pharmacies bring a patient-caring platoon for delivering healthcare that can be harnessed within the PCN service delivery plans.

One last point – we community pharmacies are everywhere, and you can find us in both the hard-to-reach rural and hardly reached poorer areas of the country. As a rule, where there’s deprivation there are pharmacies, and we stand ready to support PCN outreach to these sometimes more difficult-to-reach communities.

What progress or achievements would you like to see in the local medical community this year?

My vision for the future is to see our developing army of 1,259 community pharmacy networks and leads actively supporting PCNs. For every clinical director, there should be a community pharmacy lead who they can work with one-on-one to build their collaborative network. I want them to be seen as an absolutely vital part of delivery for PCNs – to make a positive difference in the life of the clinical director, the PCN and the lives of the population that they’re serving.

To do this, we need to trust each other, build relationships and find a way to work together. If we can move ahead on this, I believe we will begin to make a real difference – even if it’s simply optimising what’s already in place, making the ineffective more effective, before we begin to invent new ways of delivering our collective population health services.

You’re speaking at the BMA’s PCN conference next month – what advice will you give PCN leads regarding LMC collaboration?

I would hope to persuade and inspire them to positively accept the hand of support from community pharmacies. I think we will be the ones reaching out to collaborate, and I would hope that PCN clinical directors would positively accept that hand of friendship. I also hope that I could inspire them to look at their service delivery and see where our collaborative input could make a difference.

On a personal note, I hope to learn a lot from this conference. I’m really looking forward to networking and building relationships with some real movers and shakers in primary care.

Want to learn more about recent proposals or future opportunities for your PCN?

Don’t forget to reserve your spot at our PCN conference. 

Register for the 2020 PCN Conference

Adrian Brooks2020 PCN Conference: Community Pharmacy leads the way in PCN development
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PCN perspectives – nursing and community care

How are PCNs driving collaboration across the health system? The BMA talks to Leeds nursing leader Steph Lawrence about developments in 2019 and what the future holds. Steph is the Executive Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals at the Leeds Community Healthcare and Leeds GP Confederation and is in the rare position of having responsibility for general practice nursing, as well as community healthcare. She will be speaking at the 2020 PCN Conference on 8 February.

PCN perspectives – nursing and community care

How do you assess how PCNs have gone to date?

It’s gone well in Leeds, (there are 18 PCNs in the Leeds area). It was a bit bumpy to start with, but we have now established good working relationships across primary care and community trust level. Leeds is in a strong position as there has been a confederation of practices already in place. It’s pivotal that primary care has one voice.

For me, what’s crucial for the success of PCNs, is good communication and for us to understand what primary care needs.

What practical steps have taken place that you see as positive?

Previously, we tended to pinch staff off each other, (between primary care and community trust). It’s better to understand the needs of both and then explore ways of working together. Now we are starting to have joint posts that are shared – the first example is an advanced nursing practitioner and we are currently looking to fill an additional joint post. We’ve also recently established a joint wound care service in an integrated setting. We’re looking to see if this wound care clinic can drive efficiencies in the system. And, in addition, one of the PCNs is looking at home visiting services, which are shared. It’s a pilot to look at how when a referral comes in it can establish who the right person is to take that on. Just because the referral initially goes to a GP doesn’t mean it’s the GP that should take it up. A community response from a community matron or district nurse may be more appropriate.

What are the main challenges for primary care and for PCNs?

The biggest challenge is workforce and where we get staff from – there is no getting away from that. One method we are looking at is the ‘employ, deploy’ model where the Community Trust takes responsibility for employment but how these staff are then used is led by the practice. This will hopefully support capacity and make things more robust.

We want to try introducing better training for staff such as in long-term condition training. Rather than doing diplomas and courses on one-off conditions we want to develop a long-term condition care package of training. This will mean that district nurses could take on all tasks and aspects of care related to long-term condition management where they are already seeing patients, which will free up time for practice nurses and ensure efficiency and reduce duplication.

What are your hopes for 2020?

My vision would be for us to work more closely in the future across community and primary care. By doing this we can try and take on some of the challenges set by the initial PCN service specifications set out by NHS England at the end of last year. There is a real opportunity to deliver higher quality care. I appreciate that capacity is limited but I do think the goals in the specifications present opportunities as well.

For more information on the conference and to book your place, visit our PCN Conference page

Adrian BrooksPCN perspectives – nursing and community care
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Leading the change at the PCN conference

Change is the new normal for primary care. The introduction of PCNs this year will be followed by further evolution in 2020 to better meet increasing demands. Patient needs are more complex than ever, with increasingly challenging, long-term conditions that require coordinated and integrated care.

We’ve listened to the feedback since PCNs came into force in the summer. We recognise how important it is to build on previous hard work and that we continue to expand and develop PCNs further.

With the five-year framework in place, our ability to prepare, make decisions and provide leadership, as well as implement service changes and collaborate with colleagues across the healthcare system becomes even more essential.

This year’s conference will explore how – with the right guidance – the PCN ecosystem can flourish. We’ll show you how to lead change within your PCN against a backdrop of wider shifts in patient care.

With a range of workshops, case studies, panel discussions and Q&As happening over a full day – and a line-up of sharp minds bringing us the latest insights and best practice – you’ll discover how best to lead change and deliver a wider range of services.

PCNs are an opportunity to redefine general practice in a way that suits our teams, practices and communities. We’re here to help you work through all the details so that your PCN can deliver the targeted, proactive care your patients demand.

The next PCN phase will begin in not-so-far-off April 2020. So that you are fully prepared before then, we’ve put together a comprehensive programme for our second PCN conference, taking place at The ICC Birmingham on 8 February 2020.

The conference will bring together hundreds of PCN leaders, enabling you to develop the necessary skills needed to run a successful PCN. You’ll also gain valuable insights into what’s happening across England, share best practice and build supportive relationships.

PCN DES negotiators, accountants, clinical directors and business managers, LMC offices, and other members of the PCN workforce will share practical knowledge through a series of workshops, case studies, panel discussions and Q&As.

The conference will cover five key streams:

  • PCN workforce: how PCN leaders recruit and manage the new workforce. Plus, ‘members of the five ARRS workforce roles’ talk about what they’re doing across the country.
  • PCN clinical services: what the new service specifications include, and what they mean for PCNs.
  • PCN development: where PCNs are heading over the next four years and how you can help your PCN get there.
  • PCN partnership working: learn about other organisations you’ll engage with, and how PCNs are working together.
  • PCN funding: what upcoming funding is for and how clinical directors are making existing funds go further.

Speakers at the event will include leaders such as Krishna Kasaraneni, BMA GPC negotiator and Richard Vautrey, GPC chair, as well as clinical directors sharing their experiences, lessons and successes (such as Geetha Chandrasekaran, clinical director of North Halifax PCN and Sian Stanley from Stort Valley & Villages PCN).

Further highlights include:

  • networking time to share experiences with your colleagues
  • free one-to-one sessions with our career coaches
  • opportunities to speak with our partner organisations about relevant support for your PCN
  • legal and tax clinics for personalised advice on your situation
  • insurance clinics looking at any gaps in your insurance cover.

Our early booking discount is available until 17 January 2020 – book your place at the BMA 2020 PCN conference.

Sian HeaphyLeading the change at the PCN conference
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Primary Care Network conference

Primary care network conference 2020

Exchange best practice

Immerse yourself in topics important to you and your primary care network at our PCN conference 2020. You won’t want to miss this unique opportunity for gaining valuable insight from experts in the medical community. You’ll also have time to network and exchange best practice with your peers, meet with a career coach, and find answers to those burning questions on legal, insurance and HR issues.

Primary care network conference 2020

Conference registration is now closed. Thank you to everyone who attended. Stay tuned for exclusive content and updates from the conference

Hear from the experts

Get the latest on the primary care network DES contract from national negotiators

Network with your peers

Learn how primary care network leaders recruit and manage their workforce

Seek out professional advice

Find solutions to your queries in our legal, HR and insurance clinics

Themes and agenda

Advancing your primary care network

So, your primary care network is all set up and running…what’s next? Explore what’s in store for primary care networks over the next four years and what you can do to get the ball rolling.

Planning your workforce

Looking to close capacity gaps in your workforce? Find out what actions you can take to strengthen your team, with insight from primary care network leaders, clinical pharmacists and social prescribers.

Improving your clinical services

What will the new service specifications mean for your primary care network? Hear how other clinical leads are preparing for April 2020 and onwards.

Putting your funding to good use

Are you getting the most value out of your existing funding? Get top tips from other clinical directors and the latest update on funding from the national negotiators.

Partnering with your local community

How are you collaborating with other networks and community organisations? Learn how LMCs are providing support to primary care networks across the country and how you can get involved.

Getting there

The ICC Birmingham, Centenary Square,

Birmingham B1 2EA

Takeaways from 2019

Over 250 clinical directors attended our primary care network conference on 5 June 2019. The agenda featured insightful presentations from GPC and the NHSE negotiators, with workshops on a variety of relevant topics. Reviews were positive – but don’t just take our word for it, hear from a satisfied attendee:

As a new clinical with little experience, I attended for a better understanding of my role and responsibilities and to network – thank you for helping with this.

To get a better idea of what you can expect at the 2020 conference, read the workshop summaries or watch the full recording of our last conference.

Join the PCN Community

Connect and engage with fellow clinical directors and leverage the experience of the BMA and PCN network to guide you to PCN success

Sian HeaphyPrimary Care Network conference
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