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Independents' Day

Majority of practice managers have applied for new jobs

Exclusive More than half of practice managers have applied for new jobs, with most wanting to leave practice management altogether, according to research by the Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM).

The survey of 112 practice managers found that 57% had applied for a new job, with workload and excessive bureaucracy cited among the main reasons.

This is a big increase on the 44% of practice managers who said they were thinking of applying for a new job when a similar survey by recruitment firm First Practice Management was carried out in 2013.

The IHM has called for NHS England and the DH to reduce bureaucracy, specifically citing the Workforce Data Requirement, and for practice managers to be made partners in GP practices.

The institute also said that the prospect of moving towards seven-day working had also had a negative effect on their working.

It comes amid warnings about the number of GPs leaving the UK, while one in 10 GP posts is vacant, and the number of people wanting to enter the profession continues to decrease.

Pulse has also revealed that practice managers have seen their salaries cut, and are being further pressurised by the cuts to practice support services, leading to more mistakes regarding payments, and even leading to trainees being suspended from work due to NHS England admin errors.

The IHM, which has 3000 members in health and social care, wants more GP federations and for managers to have more opportunities to become leaders in their own practice.

Almost all of the practice managers said that they should be a leader in their practice but lack of training and time pressures were barriers to achieving this. 

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of IHM said: ‘The healthcare sector is under enormous strain, but practice managers are often forgotten.’

Changes such as a seven-day service in the NHS have had a significant effect on practice managers but their concerns are often overlooked, Cramer said.

A statement from the IHM called for: ‘NHS England and the Department of Health to examine ways of reducing pressures excessive bureaucracy may place on practices by improving their communication with practice managers and addressing issues of duplication, response time demands and complications caused by fragmentation of services. 

‘Completion of the Workforce Data Requirement, necessitating submission of extensive staff details on a six-monthly basis, is one example of a task which could be reviewed.’

It also said the GPC and RCGP should ‘recognise and promote the leadership role of practice managers’, while practices should ‘consider making their practice manager a partner in the business’.

Readers' comments (21)

  • My father retired from being a practice manager around 8 years ago due to his age (following a successful career as a Bank Manager for 30 odd years). He enjoyed working in the practice for many years but would certainly not do the job now if he was younger. He thinks he experienced the best years for this work back then after hearing about all the issues I have had to deal with as a doctor. He realises that he is well out of it.

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  • are they all moving off to Australia too then!!

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  • Drachula

    It's all bonkers. We just need to get on with the job.

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  • Having just found out that Tube drivers get paid 25% more than I do, I am somewhat miffed and am looking at similar PM jobs locally but outside the medical world, and finding that like for like, GP Practice Managers are being poorly paid. The only thing that keeps me here now is the 1995 section pension which lets me get out at age 60, if it wasn't for that I would be off elsewhere immediately. I have no silly illusions that jobs elsewhere are easier or less bureaucratic or involve any less head-banging than in general practice, all management jobs are hassles, but now I realise how far behind our pay has fallen, I am looking at other jobs.

    I know GP profits have suffered in the last few years but that's a problem GPs need to get their union to sort (I won't hold my breath waiting). Trying to pass that on to the GP staff will only result in us leaving. The solution to falling profits is not to underpay your staff and make them leave, the solution is to grow some balls and make the government or patients pay GPs properly.

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  • I know a few PMs who are actively looking for a new job. I do not blame them at all. Underpaid, undervalued, overworked and they have to work with uber-stressed partners who may also have massive egos. Run for the hills!

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  • Looking to jump myself to stay in control, as one GP retirement will probably be enough to make this practice fold, that and the impact of PMS monies leaving and not being replaced.

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  • PMs have always been undervalued both administratively and monitarily. It is only when they leave that Partners realise their true worth. I honestly believe that when most of the experienced Practce Mansagers leave that Primary Care will very sad for the Patients

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  • Pay for me at least is not the problem; I work for a generous bunch of appreciative partners. However, the bureaucracy is overwhelming. That, together with the constant demonisation of general practice by the political elite is depressing and de-motivating. I am starting to think that the job as it is now is not worthwhile and I have always enjoyed the challenge and the variety helping to try and make our practice a succesful business.

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  • I also work for great Partners, but the role is not valued by them. Worse job I have ever had. A mugs game. I only stay as one of the Partners is a personal friend and I don't want to let him down.

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  • Do practice managers have a union?
    Perhaps they could do something about the awful conditions in General Practice for all the doctors and staff.
    Trouble is any failures due to the striking of managers would simply be used to hold the partners to account with breach notices.

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