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Practice managers pushed into sick leave amid rising work pressures

Rising workloads are pushing experienced practice managers to take time off work or even think about resigning, with CQC registration being described by one LMC as ‘the final straw’ for some strained practice managers.

Somerset LMC said that it has been ‘shocked by the number of calls it has received from PMs and the numbers taking sick leave or even resigning’. The LMC has opened up its GP pastoral services in response so that PMs are now able to access anonymous advice or mentoring services on how to cope with pressures.

The measures may be followed elsewhere in England, with Norfolk and Waveney LMC set to embark on a practice survey to identify how it may be able help struggling PMs and to be able to raise concerns on a national level.

Writing in the LMC newsletter, Norfolk and Waveney LMC chair Dr Tim Morton said: ‘The LMC is aware of an increasing number of practice managers feeling the strain of the exponentially increasing workload they face. Practice managers are an integral part of running a practice and the sudden loss of one would most likely destabilize any practice. The LMC is therefore keen to extend its GP pastoral support to Practice Managers and will be putting an item in the LMC Practice Managers’ Newsletter asking for thoughts on how this could best be delivered.’

‘We therefore ask you to please fill in the survey to help the LMC ensure it is able to share its concerns nationally and provide the necessary support to practices. If individuals have suggestions and thoughts on this matter not covered by the survey we would be keen to hear from you.’

Jill Hellens, executive manager of Somerset LMC, said: ‘This is something that has evolved over time. You start to notice more stress coming in, more work coming in and experienced practice managers starting to take time off sick, think about resigning, and I’ve had one experienced practice manager who has actually resigned. They resigned because the workload was just too huge. For GPs it has become very large, for practice managers it has become equally large, an increasing workload comes across their desk, in their email inbox, and probably the CQC was the final straw for a lot of them.’

‘They’ve tried to delegate, they have done all they could do but like everything there comes a point when the practice is just saturated. It is just a symptom of what is going on in primary care.’

‘Concerns over future practice funding is another concern that adds to the pressure on practice managers.’