Inspiring was the word used throughout the day at Management in Practice Manchester. It’s unsurprising given the speakers honest and enthusiastic approach to the sessions and their profession in general. Of course, the role of the practice manager (PM) was the focus of the day particularly in terms of getting the PM voice heard, workload and the ever-changing job role.
Jill Coote, HR/employment specialist and speaker, gave a popular talk as she attempted to ease the HR ‘headache’ as she called it by outlining several ways to meet the demand of HR procedures. Her advice was to plan and create structures for both the PM and the practice team’s workload. She stressed that “clear guidelines from the outset would result in a smoother running practice”.
A session that spoke to the concerns of delegates was practice management consultant Kathie Applebee’s Maintaining morale – coping with rising patient demand and increasingly complex care. Morale – always a key word when discussing teamwork and after Applebee’s session morale was high among the attendees. Practice manager Samantha Spike from Ashville Surgery, Manchester described Applebee’s session as informative and one that offered achievable suggestions. Applebee’s memorable tip summed up her session. She said: “Practice managers have to train, teach and inspire”.
Fun and laughter was guaranteed in comedian Dr Phil Hammond’s session. Audience interaction kept spirits high, while discussions around the delicate and sometimes bleaker issues of the NHS took place. Hammond’s honest account of his step-father’s recent passing depicted the difficulties the NHS faced. The complexities of many teams working together during someone’s final weeks was outlined as difficult but achievable with team work. Hammond finished on a positive note that with collaboration the NHS will be on the right track. He said: “What we are doing is tough, but we are optimistic.”
Speakers were united in the need for general practice to be innovative in order to survive with the PM taking a leading role. It was clear that PMs have to fight their corner in order to be heard as a profession at practice, clinical commissioning group and national levels. A key theme of the day was the vital role that PMs play in their practice and more broadly across primary care a role that should be valued and developed.
Kimberley Hackett, deputy editor of Management in Practice, The Commissioning Review and Nursing in Practice. Twitter @kj_hackett