Embed your ARRS staff into your PCN

Suyin Chia
July 27, 2023
5 min read

If you work in a Primary Care Network (PCN), you might be familiar with the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) and what it is.

PCNs are an expansion of current primary care services that offer more personalized and integrated health and social care. The creation of PCNs enables the provision of proactive care to patients.

The Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) funds 26,000 additional roles that can be used to create multi-disciplinary teams to support PCNs. By working with local community services, PCNs can assess the needs of their local population and offer support where it is most needed.

ARRS supports 12 new roles, read more here.

The purpose of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) is to provide funding for additional roles in primary care, which can be used to create bespoke multi-disciplinary teams to support Primary Care Networks (PCNs).

The scheme aims to help PCNs deliver more personalized, proactive, and integrated health and social care services to their local populations by providing funding for 26,000 additional roles. The scheme is intended to support the development of more effective and efficient primary care services that better meet the needs of patients and communities.

Integrating the dietitian into your PCN

In 2022, the King's Fund published a report examining the issues related to the implementation of 4 ARRS roles.

The King's Fund report explores the challenges and opportunities of implementing the ARRS, such as the need for effective workforce planning and training, and the importance of creating a collaborative culture within the PCN.

It also discusses the potential benefits of the scheme, such as improved patient access to care and more effective use of resources.

The article concludes by mentioning a lack of shared understanding about the purpose or potential contribution of the roles,combined with an overall ambiguity about what multidisciplinary working would mean for GPs.

My experience working as an ARRS-funded PCN Dietitian

When I was in my role as an ARRS-funded PCN dietitian, this was exactly how I felt.


It was down to the following factors:

  • My referral criteria was confusing
  • I was working across too many PCNs
  • There wasn't enough space within the GP practice, so I was based off-site

Like the King's Fund said - there was a lack of clarity and an understanding of the purpose and potential contribution of the roles, and I often worked in silo, without any input from the rest of the PCN Multidisciplinary team members.

The solution

If you manage PCN staff members, these are some ideas to integrate the dietitian in your team:

  1. Get to know your ARRS staff

Organizing team building activities can help ARRS staff get to know their colleagues and build a sense of camaraderie. This can be done through formal activities such as team building days or informal activities such as coffee breaks or social events.

Turnover or new staff can be quite common,make sure there are regular events to meet new staff members and understand what they do.

  1. Communication is Key!

Communication is essential for creating a sense of teamwork and collaboration. ARRS staff should be kept informed of important developments within the PCN and encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas.

  1. Clear role definition

Clear role definition is essential to ensure that ARRS staff feel valued and understand their contribution to the PCN. Do you understand the demographic of the patients they see? What is their referral criteria like? What outcomes are you trying to achieve? This can also be honed and achieved through regular performance reviews and feedback sessions.

  1. Involve PCN staff in decision-making

Involve your ARRS staff in the decision-making process of the PCN. This can help make them feel more integrated and invested in the success of the PCN. This can be done through regular team meetings and updates or involvement in working groups.

  1. Supportive Leadership

Supportive leadership can help ARRS staff feel more integrated by providing guidance, support, and recognition for their efforts. This can be achieved through regular feedback and coaching sessions,as well as recognition for their contributions to the PCN.

Things to reflect on:

Are you pulling the dietitian in too many directions, covering too many patients or GP practices? Consider focusing on 1 PCN first or 1 GP practice, until referral pathways are fully understood and the role is clearly defined.

Are you being responsive to their feedback? As the dietitian is working on the ground, listening and responding to their feedback shows that you value the dietitian.

Find out what is working well, what isn't and decide what changes you need to make.

It is not easy!

If you are a PCN Manager, or manage the ARRS Workforce, it is no easy feat!

With so many new roles, it can be hard to know who does what.

If you need any support or advice regarding dietitians, we are happy to help. You are welcome to drop us an email any time.

At Primary Care Dietitians, we focus on providing support for your dietitian.

We support them along Health Education England's Roadmap to Practice to become a First Contact Dietitian with the primary aim to support and reduce GP workload.

Clinical Directors and PCN staff report that significant time and resources are required to train and mentor for these roles.

As a specialist dietitian service provider, we can support PCNs under the ARRS NHS England scheme with recruitment, management and training of Dietitians to deliver a high-quality, technology-enabled service.

For more info about what we do at Primary Care Dietitians, contact us at suyin.chia1@nhs.net!

Suyin Chia
Chief Operations Officer at Primary Care Dietitians