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Over a quarter of GP practice managers 'actively planning' to quit

Almost all GP practice managers feel 'overloaded' and well over a quarter are actively planning to quit, a survey has suggested.

The UK-wide survey of 439 practice managers, carried out by Practice Index, showed that 97% feel overloaded and 28% are actively planning to quit.

Some 62% said they would 'stay and struggle on' despite feeling overloaded.

Most pointed to the 'ever-increasing bureaucratic burden' being placed on GP practices, and 'lack of consultation when introducing new processes'.

One practice manager said: 'The problem is, every time we get on top of things, something happens to push us back, such as IT failures, staff sickness, sudden arrival of long lost records from Capita, a rush of registrations and so on.

'My team are so dedicated and flexible – but at some point the elastic will snap.'

Practice Index, a GP practice directory and practice management support service, said general practice cannot afford an 'exodus' of practice managers.

Managing director James Dillon said GP practice staff burnout was therefore 'a real concern for practices up and down the country'.

He said: 'The practice manager career is becoming less and less attractive, so practices can’t afford to lose them. It’s a ticking time bomb that needs attention.

'The NHS needs to pull together to do something to reduce the admin strain, before it’s too late.'

The survey question in full

How overloaded are you as a PM?

Significantly, and I am actively planning on leaving the NHS – 9.7%

Significantly, but I will stay and struggle on – 41.0%

Completely, but I will stay and struggle on – 21.4%

Completely, and I am actively planning on leaving the NHS – 17.5%

Moderately overloaded – 7.8%

Not overloaded – 1.9%

None of the above, but I’m leaving the NHS. I’ve had enough – 0.7%

Source: Practice Index

Readers' comments (9)

  • Wow, so few?
    Rates of sickness amongst PMs are soaring. I know many who feel burnt out and a good number who have come close to having a breakdown in the last year.

    Particularly protect your PM around/after a CQC inspection. It takes months to catch back up and feel human again.

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  • Hard to believe, only 25%, !!!!!

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  • Practice Manager

    I pride myself in being exceptionally organised and on top of things. I still am, but it's getting harder and harder. So much box ticking and regulation and it's getting worse.

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  • Well medical administrators are on the list of skilled occupations for permanent residency in Australia.
    So if you want to go there, now is the time before they take this career off the skills needed list like they will be doing for gps soon.
    Much bigger money there too.
    Getting harder to go there too so now is the time.

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  • Interesting that so few GPs have felt able or necessary to comment !!!
    Compare this response to, for example, the firearms stuff - makes me wonder if our GP employers a) know what we do b) care c) know what will happen when PMs are (like them !) forced to re-evaluate and end up leaving.
    Is this telling something about us or the GPs ?

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  • Dear Jim, GPs are probably mesmerized by this heading and wondering how they are going to manage without able Managers who actually are doing a fantastic job juggling with scant resources and ever piling workload. I am sure the reason for no comments is that GPs do not know how to react this news and are probably doing some soul searching why this has happened and of the need to appreciate your valuable contribution and reward it to keep you on board. My wife is my Manager and she puts in almost 12 hours a day as I do at the Practice and has enough to catch up on the weekends. 'Working smarter' is not an option if you are grossly underfunded so those wishing to give me advice on that one, please save yourself the trouble. That stupid slogan is only for the gullible and only those with proper funding can afford to and claim to benefit from 'working smarter'.

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  • After years of working a 67 hour week you eventually get to the point when you realise that things are just not going to improve. This government is simply taking advantage of the goodwill and dedication of practice staff and GPs to keep the show on the road. Enough is enough and for my part I decided to give up and don't regret the decision for one second...I even manage to get 8 hours sleep a night compared to the 3-4 if I was lucky when running the practice. Im sure many more will come to the same conclusion and will end up leaving and going stateside or as another manager suggested, to the antipodes where our skills are appreciated and more highly valued. The UK public sector across all service fronts is dire and in a state of near collapse.

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  • If it wasn't for family I'd be on the next plane to Australia.

    It's showing on the entire team, the pressure on GP's leaches directly down to the support staff, tempers flare and mistakes are made through sheer exhaustion. The crisis in primary care isn't solely at the feet of our GP's, the impact of a practice failing on the clinical team is negligible in relation to their employment prospects such is the demand for GP's and PN's, for the rest of the team it can be a life changer as they're either TUPE'd over to the managing body or made redundant. I don't know what the end game is in all of this, but I'm not sure I want to be here to find out first-hand.

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  • This Ex PM had enough and got out, went to greener pastures which pays more for less hours. If you have the opportunity to diversify or leave you'd be mad not to take it, you are a long time dead and the stress is not worth the price.

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