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Header image for the current page Transforming primary care

Primary Care Network (PCN) Support

Primary care has a fundamental role to play in shaping and delivering the objectives identified in the NHS Long Term Plan by appropriately migrating care to an integrated community setting.

We support health systems at a strategic level to ensure ICSs and Primary Care Networks (PCNs) work collaboratively and have the resources and expertise required to develop primary care services that become a fundamental building block for each ICS. At a local level we also support practices and PCNs to innovate, improve and transform services. Our modular or end-to end solutions range from effective strategy development through to the implementation of change programmes that realise the benefits available from primary care at scale.

As ICSs and PCNs look to the future, and the need to develop strategies which deliver efficiencies and transform local services, our primary care solutions offer support spanning six essential areas:

We take a functional approach to workforce and strategy design that includes agreeing the care functions that are necessary to meet the population health needs of a PCN. We help build an understanding of the current skill mix and support planning for how this will develop over time. Our programmes deliver a positive team culture, training, development (from floor to board) and succession planning.

Our workforce and strategy support empowers health economies to collaboration based on a shared vision and objectives. We create a balanced workforce design and engage with Community Education Provider Networks (CEPN) and other education networks to improve capacity, capability and collaboration. Our approach moves away from modelling simply based on roles, to one of complimentary team-based care functions to design a truly integrated workforce that can:

  • Reduce hospitalisation rates and costs
  • Increase effectiveness and innovation
  • Increase the wellbeing of team members
  • Deliver higher quality patient care and implement more innovations
  • Deliver lower patient mortality
  • Reduce error rates
  • Reduce turnover and sickness absence
  • Increase staff engagement.

Whatever your current system maturity or individual challenges, we can help you establish a workforce and strategy that supports the care functions required to meet your populations health needs now and in the future.

Our Population Health Management approach is built on bringing together our unparalleled access to data with advanced analytical expertise, to guide your primary care planning and delivery, with the aim of reducing health inequalities and improving health outcomes.

To enable entire health systems, or PCNs, to adopt a PHM approach we offer two levels of support:

Population segmentation insight packs for primary care
Firstly, we work across your health system to develop robust data sharing agreements to facilitate the sharing and analysis of data at neighbourhood, place and system levels. Then we utilise our award-winning primary care segmentation model, benchmark performance against similar locations and deliver initial analysis and reporting. To turn this analysis into intelligence, we work collaboratively with you to understand the findings, explore how this data can support your PHM approach and determine the emerging priorities and potential next steps.

Primary care PHM strategy development
After establishing robust data sharing agreements, we complete an analytic validation and refinement of segmentation that utilises a health econometric analysis to identify impact and significance. This delivers initial insight and understanding at a PCN level that drives a ‘deep dive’ into key areas (e.g. diabetes and frailty) in order to identify and explore opportunities for efficiencies. We provide access to our unique PHM Explorer Tool and deliver facilitated sessions that empower your health system to explore data packs and understand the intelligence and applications within a wider PHM approach. We utilise this information and our experience to feed into your PHM strategy to:

  • Grow understanding of PHM and the application of data to deliver consensus on vision and strategic priorities
  • Explore outputs and key focus areas and triangulate with local understanding and priorities
  • Establish key roles and responsibilities
  • Develop a route map for development of PHM approaches.

Delivering the NHS Long Term Plan’s ambitions for primary care at scale will rely on general practices working together with other primary care contractors and a wide range of local providers, including community and secondary care services, social care and the voluntary sector.

To make this transformational change, PCNs will need to partner or form alliances with a wide range of individuals and organisations to successfully deliver personalised, coordinated health and care. Partnership arrangements could be operational ‘form’, parallel to or as part of an Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme, or organisational ‘function’ to deliver the integration of local services. But whichever approach is taken, commissioners will only contract with legal entities to meet their responsibilities under procurement law.

Arden & GEM partner with a range of legal firms that provide the specialist expertise required for developing partnerships covering both function and form. We draft and negotiate partnership agreements and act independently to resolve issues that arise during the process. Our services can provide certainty on arrangements for finances and decision making as well as averting future misunderstandings and disputes.

Our Partnerships and Contracts services support health systems at a strategic level to ensure STPs/ICSs and PCNs have the necessary agreements in place to deliver effective collaborative working.

Arden & GEM is ideally placed to support primary care discover, embrace and embed technologies that result in digitally transformed services. Our extensive work on the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) Programme provides unique insight and transferable learning that can help drive digital innovation at both a local and system level.

We provide digital solutions that fall into two main areas:

Enabling IT Services
Effective IT services provide the foundations for all digitally-enabled/digital first primary care. We already provide IT solutions for General Practice and commissioning organisations throughout England as well as emerging and developing GP Provider Organisations and Primary Care Networks. Delivering IT support to over 500 NHS sites enables scale economies that provide cost efficiencies and access to a broad range of specialist expertise. Our end-to-end IT services can be delivered at both a strategic and operational level and covers infrastructure, equipment and user support.

Digital Innovation and Transformation
Staying on top of digital innovations within primary care can feel overwhelming. With so many emerging technologies in the market, digital transformation must be carefully considered in order to minimise the risks and maximise the benefits.

We are utilising healthcare technology to reduce the burden on primary care professionals and to enable patients to access the care they need efficiently and flexibly. With a network of partners across the NHS, industry and government we are at the forefront of digital innovation and transformation spanning prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. From developing a digital strategy, to designing at-scale solutions, to delivering digitally-enabled care pathways, we have a wealth of experience and expertise to support you in your digital journey.

We offer both strategic and operational medicines management solutions that ensure the use of medicines is optimised throughout the NHS. By working with local, regional and national organisations, our clients enjoy scale economies, comply with latest policy guidance and ensure that patients get the most from their medicines.

Recent developments in the Network Contract Directed Enhanced Service (DES) have incentivised PCNs to secure additional pharmacy resource and provide medicines optimisation in care homes. We can support you to maximise this opportunity through:

  1. New pharmacist/pharmacy technician induction support: successfully onboard your new resource with bespoke induction programmes.
  2. Professional support: support from experts that provide clinical supervision, mentoring/coaching, networking and personal development planning.
  3. Customised support: tailored to meet your exact individual needs from supporting recruitment process, to developing systems and operating procedures.

Arden & GEM has one of the largest and most experienced medicines optimisation teams in the country, meaning we can also deliver direct support in areas including:

  • Audits and reviews - Clinical and non-clinical audits, together with QIPP action planning.
  • Drug switch programmes - Biosimilar treatment switches that improve efficiency and outcomes
  • Capacity provision - Part-time or full-time provision of specialist expertise including clinical pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
  • Care home medication reviews - Providing robust processes, implementation of best practice and delivering cost efficiencies.

Our medicines optimisation team delivers experience and expertise gained within primary, secondary and community care. We can support practices and at-scale collaborations to improve prescribing practice and patient safety while also identifying significant cost savings.

Whether you are looking to deliver new services to meet the needs of your population or to reshape services to deliver efficiencies, our transformation experts provide the capacity and expertise required to deliver effective, strategic, tactical and operational change programmes. Our award-winning team combine established change management tools and techniques with health data and insight to deliver evidenced based and clinically appropriate transformation.

Our team bring unrivalled expertise in the development and delivery of integrated, cost-effective care to meet the needs of local populations - incorporating collaborations spanning health and social care, community, acute, mental and physical health services. As part of the NHS family, we understand the pressures you face in delivering better patient care alongside greater efficiencies. Our solutions provide value for both your organisation and the population you serve and deliver efficiencies and better outcomes for patients.

Improving care for patients, through extending local services and creating integrated teams, also requires GP practices to have the capacity to focus on designing and leading service improvements. Our range of high-quality, competitively priced and effective business support services enable the smooth running of practices and at-scale collaborations, so that staff have the time they need to innovate and transform.

Our extensive range of business support services includes:

  • Payroll and HR
  • Finance, accountancy and revenue maximisation
  • IT (infrastructure, equipment and support)
  • Communications and marketing
  • Governance and risk management
  • Health and safety
  • Best value procurement
  • Policies and procedures.

We can keep your organisation safe and compliant, with all your business support needs met by just one NHS supplier, so you directly benefit from our economies of scale.

Benefits of primary care at scale

Our services are supporting health systems to:

  • Build greater resilience within primary care
  • Deliver better integration with community and secondary care and other system partners
  • Identify and understand gaps and actions required to ensure compliance with legal, regulatory and commissioner requirements
  • Discover opportunities to deliver efficiencies through economies of scale
  • Develop new services under emerging care models and other system-wide developments
  • Tackle health inequality via the Complete Care Community programme

We can support you to achieve at-scale delivery, run your day to day operations as smoothly and efficiently as possible, while extending and improving patient services through intelligent use of data and embracing new technology and ways of working.

We would love the opportunity to talk with you about working collaboratively to meet your primary care challenges.


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: