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Supporting establishment of a primary care network

Our support for the establishment of Chester East Primary Care Network has been held up as best practice by NHS England.

Following successful application for funding through the primary care network (PCN) development fund in 2018, Chester East PCN was formed, covering a network population of 37,020 patients. The network engaged the services of The Improvement Unit in November 2018 to provide project management support to deliver their shared vision: “Working together to deliver high quality, innovative and sustainable healthcare for our community with commitment, compassion and integrity”.

Taking an agile approach, we aligned workstreams and provided a clear programme structure by developing an overarching project specification, detailed plan, risk register, mitigation strategies and communication plan. We did this alongside providing support and expertise for development of the operational board structure, Memorandum of Understanding and governance arrangements.


  • The Chester East PCN project was identified by an independent audit on behalf of NHS England as an exemplar of best practice
  • Using an 0365 platform to share project information and documentation has provided visibility of project progress and supported collaborative and agile working in the absence of shared file arrangements
  • Dedicated programme support has enabled the work to move at pace, providing a structure for everyone to feed into and embrace
  • CSU expertise within the programme management provided valuable support in sharing best practice across the network, using case studies to support current and future opportunities in collaborative working
  • The programme has provided an opportunity to standardise the approach to future projects on a “do it once” basis, providing a rich library of accessible templates
  • Creating a robust governance structure has enhanced working relationships and provided visibility and clarity on roles and responsibilities across the network
  • An “out of box”  approach has stimulated creative thinking in the design of a collaborative Dressings and Visiting service, focusing on a phased approach embracing LEAN practices and principles.

Exemplar PCN, the way everything was organised from finances to workstreams was excellent.
Charlotte Fisher, NHS England on behalf of Mersey Internal Audit

High calibre project management – MLCSU – game changer.
GP Dr Shana Tam, Boughton Medical Group

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