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Header image for the current page Primary Care and PCN support

Primary Care and PCN support

The increasing pressure on Primary Care services is well documented. Growing patient demand, multimorbidity and complex needs, workload and workforce pressures, complex administrative and technological burdens and financial constraints are all common challenges faced by General Practice, Dentistry, Optometry and Pharmacy.

Arden & GEM is an NHS organisation that supports a wide range of local, regional and national NHS clients. Our specialist Primary Care Team comprises a wealth of experience and expertise across the primary care agenda. We work with primary care organisations to support greater understanding the PCN DES, enabling maximisation of Impact and Investment Funding, Quality Outcomes Framework funding and Additional Roles funding.

We work collaboratively to understand your individual challenges and deliver multidisciplinary solutions that draw on specialist expertise spanning digital/IT, business intelligence/analytics, population health, workforce planning, organisational development, leadership coaching, financial management, procurement, contract management and governance.

We work with clients in a spirit of co-production and facilitation, offering insights, support, and assistance, recognising that every client’s needs are bespoke to their own individual operation and population. As an integral part of the NHS family for over a decade, we work as your system partners to provide support without the overheads associated with the commercial sector and that put patients and value for money at the heart of everything we do.

We have strong relationships with NHS England and are closely connected with all aspects of the policy agenda. We fully understand challenges facing practices, PCNs, ICSs and ICPs and have shaped our offer to support planning and management of increasing demand in the face of capacity challenges.

Our service offer falls into four key areas with underpinning support:


We support individual GP Practices to meet national requirements, find solutions to their individual challenges and deliver against their business objectives. Our support includes:

  • A review of IT systems (incl. telephony) and their use, potential and fitness for purpose in the light of current national requirements, generating insights for improvements – including the use of digital technologies and the automation of processes to ease staffing pressures. This can extend to a review as to what data can be generated and how it can be used to best effect.
  • A review of workforce deployment, identifying opportunities for greater efficiency / productivity.
  • Facilitated support to practice self-assessment under the national General Practice Improvement Programme (GPIP).
  • Practice-specific team development, providing an external expert assessment of team dynamics and opportunities for change.
  • Joint application of Arden & GEM’s leading-edge analytics programme, ATHENA, enabling review of the practice’s impact on population health, providing insights to inform practice activities and focus. Find out more here.
  • An assessment of current website use and value, integral to a review of means of enhancing patient engagement and assessing patient satisfaction.
  • The review and enhancement of links between local general practices and Community Pharmacy Clinical Services (CPCS), reflecting our experience of effective arrangements.
  • Provision of wellbeing advice and support to practice staff.

Our services can support the effective delivery of primary care across multiple organisations within a Primary Care Network or GP Federation. Our support includes:

  • A review of IT (incl. telephony) systems across the PCN(s), their use and fitness for purpose in the light of national requirements, generating insights for improvement. These can include means of enhancing staff and patient satisfaction and the efficiency of General Practice through digital applications incl. process automation.
  • An assessment as to how data generated can inform prioritisation and population health management.
  • Information Governance and Data Protection services (including outsourced DPO).
  • A review of workforce deployment, identifying opportunities for greater efficiency/productivity.
  • Support with the implementation and measurement of capacity and demand plans and an assessment of current compliance against trajectories.
  • PCN Team Development
  • Joint application of Arden & GEM’s leading-edge analytics programme, ATHENA, enabling review of the PCN’s impact on population health. Find out more here
  • Enablement of discussion with GP Federations and/or between PCNs to support networking and development, identifying efficiency opportunities, enable joint delivery and shape the local Place-based agenda.
  • A review of the effectiveness and efficiency of insourced and outsourced functions (e.g., Physiotherapy, Contract Management, Medicines Management support).
  • An audit of current enhanced services delivery, with recommendations.
  • A review of website functionality and effectiveness, incl. patient engagement and access to records.
  • With direct access to primary care data sets, we can work with you to identify means and priorities for reducing health inequalities.

We also supply primary care support at a macro level for both ICSs and ICPs. Our support can help you to deliver your objectives and vision for best in class, sustainable primary care services. Services include:

  • Support to ICB Primary Care Team capacity, whether through temporary skilled staffing or analytical insight using Athena. Find out more here
  • Support to the design and development of Place and Neighbourhood-based service integration.
  • Identification of scope and priorities for reducing health inequalities through General Practice/Place-based actions.
  • Specialist Information Governance and Data Protection Services (inc. nominated Data Protection Officer) for Integrated Care Boards, General Practice and Primary Care Networks. Keeping you safe, compliant and enabling the effective use of data in delivering improvements to patient care.

We also offer specialist capabilities and capacity specially designed to support Dentistry, Optometry and Pharmacy.

  • We can extend all of our services and approaches in support of providers and/or commissioners of NHS Dentistry, Optometry and Pharmacy.
  • This may take the form of a broader Place or Neighbourhood-wide assessment of Primary Care capacity and demand or specific support to one of the professions or providers. We are aware of the particular current focus on enhancing access to (and the scope of) Community Pharmacy, whilst the public concerns over access to NHS Dentistry are well understood. A national Dental Recovery Plan is forthcoming, which is likely to focus on capacity and demand across systems, and we are well placed to support responses to such.
  • Joint application of Arden & GEM’s leading-edge analytics programme, Athena, enabling review of service impact on population health as well as providing insights to inform activities and focus. Find out more here


Our Primary Care solutions are made by the NHS, specifically for the health and care sector and can help you to:

  • Build greater resilience within primary care
  • Deliver better integration with community and secondary care and other system partners
  • Identify and understand any gaps and actions required to ensure compliance with legal, regulatory and national requirements
  • Leverage opportunities to deliver efficiencies through economies of scale
  • Develop a better understanding of the needs of your population
  • Access the capabilities and capacity required to improve your operation and to develop new services.

Download a brochure detailing full primary care services here.


Arden & GEM is already supporting primary care providers to deliver efficiency and improve outcomes for patients. Find out more by accessing the resources below.


If you’d like to find out more about how we can support you to transform primary care, please fill in the form below: