About us

About Us

What is a Primary Care Network?

A primary care network is a group of practices who work together to focus on local patient care. They’ve been around since 2019 and 99 per cent of practices across England now work as part of one.

With increased demand and a shortage of clinical staff, practices find they can provide greater, more personalised care for patients when they can work together on certain services or issues.

Take a look at this short animation from NHS England which explains how they work.

Take a look at this short animation from NHS England which explains how they work.

Governing Body

Core Member Representatives

The Core Membership Board comprises of one practice representative nominated by each Core Network Practice.

The purpose of the Core Member Representatives is to strategically guide PCN decision-making by:

  • Providing an opportunity for Core Network Practices to engage with the Network and to keep abreast of issues affecting the Network’s role in the wider health and social care system
  • Overseeing the work of the PCN Executive Board
  • Deciding Membership Board Reserved Matters and other matters falling to be decided by the Membership Board

Core Member Representatives are listed below:

  • Blacketts Medical Practice – Dr Joshua Shaw, GP Partner
  • Carmel Medical Practice – Dr Raza Hasnain
  • Clifton Court Medical Practice – Dr David Gray, GP Partner
  • Denmark Street Surgery – Dr James Nevison, GP Partner
  • Moorlands Surgery – Lucy Smith, GP Partner
  • Neasham Road Surgery – Dr Piotr Szemis, GP Partner
  • Orchard Court Surgery – Ian Blessley
  • Parkgate Medical Practice – Emma Brough, Chief Executive Officer, Intra Health
  • Rockcliffe Court Surgery – Dr Alison Macnaughton-Jones, GP Partner
  • St George’s Medical Practice – Dr Andrew Hunt, GP Partner
  • Whinfield Medical Practice – Dr Helen McLeish, GP Partner

Clinical Directors

The overall objective of the clinical Directors is to lead on clinical governance, education, and supervision and to support the achievement of clinical and non-clinical performance measures in conjunction with the PCN leadership and management team and PCN workforce by:

  • Remaining up to date with contractual requirements and guidance
  • To provide clinical and operational leadership whilst balancing a clinical workload
  • Working alongside the management team to support recruitment, appraisals, professional development, and performance monitoring
  • Pro-actively leading the development of clinical provision across the PCN
  • Ensuring the delivery of safe and effective services that are responsive to the changing needs of the local population and sustainable over time
  • Facilitating stakeholder engagement to negotiate, influence, and develop effective partnerships to support the transformation of clinical pathways
  • Attending project/workstream-related meetings and proactively keeping the network informed

Joint Clinical Directors are listed below:

  • Dr Helen McLeish – GP Partner, Whinfield Medical Practice, Joint Clinical Director
  • Dr Alison Macnaughton-Jones – GP Partner, Rockliffe Surgery, Joint Clinical Director

PCN Executive Board

The overarching purpose of the Executive Board is to provide operational and strategic leadership for the Network and have delegated responsibility to undertake the following matters on behalf of the Network:

  • Developing a strategy for the development of the Network for approval by the Membership Board
  • Developing a Network Annual Plan/Budget and Workforce Plan for approval by the Membership Board
  • Managing and supporting the Network’s implementation of the Network Annual Plan/Budget and Workforce Plan
  • Identifying additional projects and opportunities to support the development of the Network and supporting the implementation of such projects approved by the Membership Board
  • Overseeing the Network’s financial arrangements, including scrutinising the financial reports provided by the Nominated Payee and arranging for preparation of Network Annual Accounts by the Network Accountants
  • Managing the performance of contractors/sub-contractors providing services for and on behalf of the Network
  • Supporting the engagement of the Network with relevant stakeholders including patient groups, other Primary Care Networks, community and secondary care providers, social care providers, and local authorities
  • Representing the Network and developing appropriate strategic partnerships within relevant integrated care systems (ICSs)
  • Supporting the development of resilience and sustainability within general practice across the Network Area
  • Supporting and overseeing the work of the Clinical Director and the PCN Operations Manager
  • Reporting to the Membership Board on the work of the Executive Board
  • Undertaking such other activities as may be delegated to the Executive Board by the Membership Board

Executive Board Members are listed below:

  • Vikki Bailey – Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Neasham Road Surgery
  • Chris McEwan – Lay-Member
  • Dr Joshua Shaw – GP Partner, Blacketts Medical Practice
  • Lucy Smith – Managing Partner, Moorlands Surgery
  • Dr Kirsty Walker – Salaried GP, Primary Healthcare Darlington

Meet Our Team

Alison Macnaughton-Jones
GP Partner, Joint Clinical Director  

I have been a GP in Darlington since 2003 working at Rockliffe Court Surgery in Hurworth. I have recently joined Dr Helen McLeish as joint Clinical Director of Darlington PCN so we can work together to improve the care of patients in Darlington. I am also a director of Primary Healthcare Darlington our GP federation that runs contraceptive clinics and evening and weekend GP appointments.

I have worked full time in general practice for 20 years and have seen many changes but have never know such challenging times. We need to work together to provide quality care with ever reducing staff numbers.

I am lucky to have a supportive husband and 2 grown up children so I have the time to devote energy to primary care. When not working I enjoy running and have an interest in renewable energy.

Helen McLeisch
GP Partner, Joint Clinical Director

I have been a GP for since 2000, and partner at Whinfield Medical Practice since 2002. I worked full time for most of these years, until December 2023 when I became one of the Clinical Directors for the PCN, being fortunate to have a husband who was happy to stay at home to look after our 2 daughters as they grew up.
Over the years I have experienced a lot of changes in general practice, fundholding was happening when I was training! I was quite excited about primary care networks when they first started, and how for the first time we have more control over how we deliver care to our patients in Darlington. I have never found general practices as challenging as it has been since the pandemic, and I strongly feel the only way to manage the ever-increasing pressures is to work together in new and innovative ways.

Chris McEwan
Lay Member

Chris has served as a Councillor on Darlington Borough Council since 1999 holding several posts including Children Services, Resources, and Lead for Economy and Regeneration. In terms of his day job, shortly after completing a degree in Economics he joined the NHS, originally through the finance route, and undertook several senior roles over the last 25 years, including working with primary care. He left the NHS in early 2017, with his last assignment being within a Commissioning Support Unit leading Continuing Health Care across the North of England working for several CCGs. Chris has worked as a Local Government Association Peer Member since 2007, latterly, and since leaving the NHS, undertook several Prevention Matters assignments as well as supported the development of Health and Well Being Boards. He also sits on the Lay Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh. Chris is a keen champion for local engagement and involving local people in the development of health and Well Being initiatives and more widely, growing community involvement and spirit.  

Joshua Shaw
GP Partner

I have worked at Blacketts Medical Practice for the last 3 years, ending my GP training before taking up a salaried role and eventually becoming partner. I am a strong believer in closer working across the town to provide more services to our patients. I also am keen on developing more IT systems to help alleviate work load pressures and free up time for GPs to see patients. Being part of the PCN board gives a great opportunity to develop these areas and create a better primary care across Darlington.

Kirsty Walker
Salaried GP

Blurb coming soon.

Lucy Smith
Managing Partner

I have worked in the healthcare sector for 19 years, and as a Registered Nurse I strongly believe in having the patient at the centre of the care we deliver as providers. I have been Practice Manager at Moorlands Surgery for just over 2 years, and feel that as Primary Healthcare evolves and the needs and demands of patient care increase, it is essential that all care providers including Primary, secondary, the third sector, local authorities and many other providers work collaboratively to deliver equability and excellence in care to the population of Darlington. As a Primary Care Darlington Board Member, I am motivated and dedicated to working with our fellow colleagues to improve and shape systems and services to meet the need of patients now and in the future.

Vikki Bailey
Advanced Nurse Practitioner

Blurb coming soon.