What is possible in 80 days? Can great things be achieved?

I’m sure many of us are familiar with Jules Verne’s book, in one of it’s many guises, about Phileas Fogg and his attempt to travel Around the world in eighty days. It was clearly quite a productive few weeks, with lots of challenges to overcome and plenty of learning along the way.

So with looming timescales, and just 80 days left until the deadline for the delivery of Primary Care Networks, due to be mobilised on 1 July, what do PCNs need to prioritise?

Setting priorities

For PCNs the next few weeks and months must be all about the development and build of thee networks, in what is a relatively short timescale. And whilst it’s not the same as an around the world trip, it is a significant change in direction for primary healthcare.

We also mustn’t lose sight of the key issues, primarily the formation of PCNs including delivery responsibility, form, structure and future operation. There are certain areas which we can all answer right now, however, some of the challenge PCNs and the wider health sector faces is that some of this guidance is still emerging.

What next?

A lot of work has already been taking place to identify PCNs with lots of discussions already underway. To support this there has been facilitation to help identify ways forward and I’ve been involved, along with the ATSCALE team, to support this with some CCGs, GP federations and GP practices (do drop me a line if this is something we could help you with).

A lot of the work we’ve been involved in has been to facilitate to help identify wants forward, to provide a framework to focus on challenges, and to apply a methodology across CCG areas – ideally led by a federation. In addition to this we’ve been using existing local patterns to outline PCNs, provided mediation and also supported PCN  applications, identifying actions to address issues and risks prior to PCNs being set up. All with an ETA of 1 July 2019.

Some inspiration…

I appreciate my earlier reference was based on Jules Verne’s fictitious journey. However, I wanted to end on a fact I read recently. Inspired by Verne’s novel, in 1889 Nellie Bly decided to try and travel around the world in 80 days for her newspaper, the New York World. She managed to do the journey within 72 days, meeting Verne in Amiens. Her book Around the World in Seventy-Two Days also became a best seller!

Hopefully that’s reassuring news and offers some inspiration and hope, with 80 days left until the deadline for the delivery of Primary Care Networks. And if you have any questions about how we cold provide support to you through your own PCN journey please get in touch.


Rachel Edwards is a director at ATSCALE with more than 15 years’ experience working in the public sector and NHS including working on at scale, mergers, collaborations and resilience projects in primary care.