A new publication on practice management from the NHS Alliance says that managing interagency relationships is more important than ever before – and practice managers have a key role in supporting and facilitating them, especially where budgets have been pooled.
The NHS Alliance has published The Nuts and Bolts of Practice Management, a real-life guide that highlights the core skills and knowledge needed in modern general practice, written by practice managers themselves.
The publication suggests relationships between health and social care often feel as if one is from Mars and the other from Venus – and both suffer from the assumption that if only the other would do things their way, everything would be much better.
It also says negotiating skills need to be well honed, along with an understanding of different organisational cultures and jargon, and that "no-one should underestimate the relish that practice managers have in conquering the obstacles that go with organisational boundaries".
NHS Alliance chief executive Michael Sobanja says: "General practice is diverse – with several thousand independent units – and unlike any other part of the NHS. Yet this is where 90% of patient contact takes place.
"Practice managers are crucial to everything it does, dealing with all the day-to-day logistical headaches, coping with the ever-increasing pace of change in the NHS – and implementing the latest government initiatives, usually with only a few day's notice.
"The NHS Alliance practice managers' network, who initiated and wrote this publication, understands that strong primary care needs modern business managers who care about practice management and its future.
"General practice is at the forefront of change and is improving services at an impressive rate. That is why this book is so important. Not so much saying, "this is how to do it", rather capturing the essence of the effective practice management that makes such a difference to patients and the NHS."