Organisation and management of Primary Care

Zebra crossing with people walking acrossThe role of primary care in the NHS is central to the holistic, well-coordinated, population-focused and accessible care that is described in the NHS Long-Term Plan.

Professor Judith Smith

Theme lead
Professor Judith Smith


Professor of Health Policy and Management (Director of the Health Services Management Centre, and of the BRACE Rapid Evaluation Centre)

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Dr Manbinder Sidhu

Theme co-ordinator
Dr Manbinder Sidhu


Research Fellow at the Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) working within the BRACE Rapid Evaluation Centre

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It is therefore essential that general practitioners (GPs), pharmacists, nurses, dentists, allied health professionals, managers and the wider primary care workforce are able to gain evidence-based understanding of the organisational context in which they work together to serve patients. This context includes issues such as care co-ordination, population needs assessment, primary care networks and collaborations, and new professional and support roles within the workforce.

Our work in this theme explores the impact of policy and practice changes to primary care service delivery, organisation, management and leadership, and investigation of organisational change that encourages greater integrated working to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.

Aim of the research

Our research adopts a mixed methods approach to tackle a range of issues including:

new models of care delivery within primary care, and across sectors; we have an interest in comparative research across countries/systems

  • the commissioning of primary care;
  • the role of primary care in commissioning and service planning;
  • the nature of integrated primary health care including working with the social care sector, local authorities  and secondary care;
  • the nature of strategic and operational leadership in primary care at a practice, locality and integrated care system level;
  • the management and governance of primary care; and
  • health care priority setting (including changes to policy) in primary care.

Research groups/clusters

Birmingham, RAND and Cambridge Evaluation (BRACE) Centre  

The BRACE Centre was launched in June 2018. Focusing on innovations in health service delivery and organisation, our evaluations examine not only what works, but also how and why things work (or don’t) and in what context. Our approach is both rapid and thorough, and we aim to produce rigorous, timely and useful evidence which can inform the transformation of services and outcomes across the NHS.

Meet the team


National Institute for Health Research, Health Services and Delivery Research stream (NIHR HS&DR) published report Vertical integration of GP practices with acute hospitals in England and Wales: rapid evaluation Dr Manbinder Sidhu, Jack Pollard, Jon Sussex 1 December 2020

National Institute for Health Research, Health Services and Delivery Research stream (NIHR HS&DR) published report Early evidence of the development of primary care networks in England Professor Judith Smith, Sarah Parkinson, Dr Manni Sidhu 1 November 2020

Smith, J, Checkland , K, Sidhu, M, Hammond , J & Parkinson, S 2021, 'Primary care networks: are they fit for the future?', British Journal of General Practice , vol. 71, no. 704, pp. 106-107.

Fisher R, Smith JA, Sidhu M, Parkinson S and Alderwick H (2021) Five key questions about the future of Primary Care Networks in England.  London, the Health Foundation, 28 January 2021

Vindrola-Padros, C, Singh, K, Sidhu, M, Georghiou, T, Sherlaw-Johnson, C, Tomini, SM, Inada-Kim, M, Kirkham, K, Streetly, A, Cohen, N & Fulop, NJ 2021, 'Remote home monitoring (virtual wards) for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients: a rapid systematic review', EClinicalMedicine. <>

Vindrola-Padros, C, Sidhu, M, Georghiou, T, Sherlaw-Johnson, C, Singh , K, Tomini , S, Ellins, J, Morris , S & Fulop , N 2021, 'The implementation of remote home monitoring models during the COVID-19 pandemic in England', EClinicalMedicine, vol. 34, 100799.

Smith J, Wistow G, Holder H and Gaskins M (2019) Evaluating the design and implementation of the Whole Systems Integrated Care programme in North West London: why commissioning proved (again) to be the weakest link. BMC Health Services Research vol 19: 228 


Professor Judith Smith,
Twitter @DrJudithSmith

Dr Manbinder Sidhu,;
0121 414 6030