Practice managers – now with PM approval

4 December 2018
Announcing the NHS long term funding settlement in June, no less a figure than the prime minister namechecked practice managers as among those who can transform patient care and ensure a sustainable service.
 
As with the doctors and nurses (whose role is rather more regularly highlighted in political speeches on the NHS), Theresa May said that those “who manage GP surgeries, outpatient clinics and operating theatres…will bring about change if they are empowered and if we have enough of them with the right training and the right skills”.
 
Which suggests that PCC’s unique personal and team development offer for primary care teams and leaders has never been more relevant.
 
We like to think that the Confident Leader and Confident Practice Manager programmes are its crown jewels.
 
The former supports GPs to guide their practices through a fast-changing environment while the latter does that while meeting the needs of people with a huge workload and few training and education options.
 
Helen Ellis says: “The Confident Practice Manager programme brings together a small group of practice managers for eight half day sessions over nine months.
 
The programme allows them to develop their skills and their understanding of the challenges facing general practice. With one session each month, participants can think about issues and talk to others on the programme in between sessions. With many practices facing significant change, they don’t have the luxury of endless time spent developing leadership skills away from work.”
 
The sessions, which include regular opportunities to discuss current issues and challenges, focus on the practical. They include:
 
• Understanding people and leadership styles
• Influencing skills
• Leading general practice through change
• Working with and developing your patients and community.
 
Kim Foran, an assistant practice manager in Liverpool, completed the programme last year when she was reception manager.
 
“I found the course brilliant – I got something out of every module and I’m sure it helped me when I applied to be assistant practice manager. There were a couple of days where I didn’t feel like going to the sessions – including one time when I had a real challenge at work – but I went along and talked about it on an anonymous basis. They all helped come up with a solution and I came out feeling a different woman in terms of confidence.”
 
Ellis says that is a fairly typical reaction: “There is an upbeat feel about the sessions: participants like the open style.
 
Practice managers can be very isolated and learning from each other’s experiences is fantastic for them.”
 
Some 70% of people who have completed the programme said it exceeded their expectations, with the rest saying it met their expectations.
 
These programmes aimed at practice managers and GPs are not the only support PCC offers primary care leaders and their teams. Several team members have ILM Level 7 coaching qualifications which equip them to work with senior leaders on their confidence and in improving their skills in particular areas.
 
The training and personal development team has recently been boosted with the arrival of Polly Goodwin and Karen Garry, who each bring experience from the voluntary sector. Meanwhile, Colin Murray also provides individual coaching and team development sessions – drawing on his extensive experience in the private sector to provide a different perspective. However, as the prime minister pointed out, developing a sustainable NHS with general practice at its core will need an empowered team supporting those empowered leaders.
 
That’s why we also offer a range of personal and training/developments events and workshops for practice teams and for non-clinical staff at all levels.
 
Primary care organisations can access a wide range of courses and training aimed at an equally wide range of team members – or the whole team.
 
These include:
 
• Practice team development (including smarter working, effective communication and care navigation)
• Myers Briggs and Belbin team roles
• The leader as a coach.
 
With key initiatives such as the General Practice Forward View highlighting how signposting patients to a range of non- NHS community support can reduce practice workload, educating reception staff in those skills can have a significant and rapid impact.
 
Developing a sustainable NHS will require informed and confident staff at all levels of primary care. We can help you achieve that.
 
For information on accessing any of this support please email enquiries@pcc-cic.org.uk.
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