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Header image for the current page Providing transformation support for Primary Care Networks in the Black Country

Providing transformation support for Primary Care Networks in the Black Country

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Recognising the fundamental role that Primary Care Networks (PCNs) have to play in shaping and delivering integrated care services, NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB) funded targeted primary care transformation support from Arden & GEM which could be accessed by their system PCNs.

With expertise in OD, quality improvement, change management, programme management and team building, Arden & GEM’s Healthcare Solutions team provided a tailored support programme to PCNs which included workshops, mentoring sessions, team development programmes and research projects.

The programme helped PCN leaders to deliver service change, brought newly formed teams together to work more effectively and provided intervention evidence for service development in priority areas. PCN leadership teams described the support as “invaluable’ and “instrumental”.

The challenge

PCNs have a fundamental role to play in shaping and delivering integrated care services which improve the health and wellbeing of their local population. To achieve this, the practices, teams and individuals within each network need to work effectively with a shared vision and purpose. Recognising that new ways of working and service change take time, insight and evidence to deliver, NHS Black Country ICB made funds available for targeted primary care transformation support from Arden & GEM which could be accessed by their system PCNs.

The support covered service transformation and organisational development assistance for specific projects or a PCN’s overall improvement agenda. Requests went to the ICB, where they were filtered and matched against the scope of Arden & GEM’s offer.

Our approach

Arden & GEM’s Healthcare Solutions team brings together expertise in OD, leadership, quality improvement, change management, programme management and team building. This expertise was combined with clinical and national experience within primary care, and a knowledge of the Black Country system, to offer a tailored support programme to PCNs covering a diverse range of areas.

Supporting managers to deliver service change
Arden & GEM worked with the clinical leadership team of Your Health Partnership PCN to design a series of workshops and mentoring sessions which would support operational managers to develop the tools, techniques and confidence to deliver service change.

The first session focused on the basics of the NHS change model and change management before asking participants to baseline their current skills and knowledge in these areas. The outputs from this exercise were then used to plan subsequent sessions in the areas of least knowledge and confidence.

Workshops were complemented by regular individual mentoring sessions to support the delivery of three projects. By acting as a critical friend, our practitioners were able to provide a sounding board, independent advice and objective guidance to those tasked with project delivery and assurance.

Team building across diverse roles and skillsets
Brierley Hill and Amblecote PCN requested OD support for their newly formed wellbeing team. With the introduction of new roles into the PCN – including care navigators, dieticians and occupational therapists – under the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS), the team was not only new to working together but brought with them different skillsets, specialities and managerial expectations.

In collaboration with the Clinical Director, Arden & GEM designed a team development programme using an appreciative inquiry approach to build understanding and cohesiveness. A series of workshops was facilitated to help the team think about and agree a ‘team canvas’ which articulated their purpose, priorities, values and behaviours. This approach built on the positive aspects of team working rather than focussing on deficits creating alignment so that the team could achieve its purpose for patients and wider stakeholders.

Researching intervention evidence
Another PCN had identified severe mental illness as a priority area for service development and needed support to understand the range and success of existing interventions for this group of patients. The CSU’s knowledge specialists undertook literature reviews to research specific interventions around weight management, smoking cessation and reducing cardiovascular disease. By highlighting those interventions appropriate to primary care, the PCN was able to plan services based on the most applicable and robust evidence.

Based on the usefulness of this research, further literature searches were requested and carried out, looking at the same patient cohort, for interventions within social prescribing or the voluntary sector. The PCN described this work as “invaluable” and has since adopted the outcomes measures highlighted in the report for their own use.

The outcomes

By working collaboratively with both the ICB and PCNs to understand the scope of the transformation challenges faced in primary care, Arden & GEM was able to tailor a programme of support, which was well received by staff working in a range of different roles, both clinical and non-clinical.

The Healthcare Solutions team was able to work flexibly – offering a range of sessions both online and in person – recognising the significant time pressures that the primary care workforce was under.

Within the PCNs who accessed support, individuals, teams and services are now better equipped to deliver high impact change for patients.

"The Arden & GEM team was instrumental in bringing together members of our newly formed (ARRS) Wellbeing Team, to work collaboratively, to understand each other's roles and to appreciate how, together, they can make an excellent impact on our patients.

I thank the CSU for helping us explore our individual strengths and how we can combine them to work effectively as a team."

Dr Dalvinder Ratra, Clinical Director for Brierley Hill and Amblecote PCN