Steve Morris

The Results are in! Practice Manager Job Satisfaction Survey

Sitting in here on the second floor at First Practice Management HQ can be a bit like sitting on Mount Olympus. Not that we are like Gods (more like servants really), but we do tend to watch out over GP land from a distance, and pick up on the rumblings and ground swell of what life is really like for practice managers. It’s easy to confuse impressions with reality, so we devised a survey.

Before coming into your current role as practice manager what was your background in?

Practice Manager Job Satisfaction Survey 2013

Private sector switches into practice management comes as no surprise, however, the relatively low number of 60 out of 473 managers in the survey coming into the role from a previous practice manager position is lower than I would have expected. It may indicate that the majority of managers are either stable and happy in their existing roles, reluctant to seek career advancement at other practices, or are moving on outside the sector.

How long have you been in your current role?

Practice Manager Job Satisfaction Survey 2013

This result does indicate a measure of stability, for whatever reason. Practices have long been characterised by a wealth of long-serving staff and this is apparent in the results, which also tend to indicate that not many managers have moved into a new practice management position in the last 2 years, perhaps coinciding with the introduction of NHS reform.

Have you considered looking / applying for a new job?

Practice Manager Job Satisfaction Survey 2013

206 out of 471 managers have considered applying for a new job. Perhaps this is a time-bomb. Movement into new positions does not at present appear to have occurred in great numbers

If yes, was it for another practice manager role?

Practice Manager Job Satisfaction Survey 2013

But when it does occur, almost 65% of managers have indicated that they would leave the role.

Do you feel Motivated on your role?

Practice Manager Job Satisfaction Survey 2013

The move to leave practice management is perhaps not too surprising with almost 68% of managers feeling de-motivated.

We also asked what the key factors in de-motivation might be:

What de-motivates you?
Commissioning 1
Lack of support 24
Poor Communication 2
Workload 102
Too Much Change 67
Bureaucracy 22
Lack of Recognition 13
Pressure 18
Stress 4
Partner Relationship 19
Patients Expectations 3
No Incentive 2
CQC 4
Bad Press 2
Staffing Issues 4
CCG 4


With the issues of workload, presumably brought about by “too much change” at the top of the list.

Do you get adequate support from the Practice Partners?

Practice Manager Job Satisfaction Survey 2013

There is a perception leaning in towards a lack of support given by partners. Some managers will be reluctant to raise this as a concern, perhaps for fear of being regarded as struggling, or unable to cope, others may see that their partners are also bending under pressure, and do not wish to add to that. It is likely that where support is good, there is a good ethos of communication and team-working., where issues can be discussed and shared.

What package(s) do you look for in a new job?

Pay Rise 331
Holiday 293
Bonus Scheme 159
Pension 265
Company Car 24
Other 166


Increasing workload for managers on the back of industry changes is coupled with effective squeezing of pay, and as such the reward will not match workload increases for the foreseeable future. A new job (perhaps outside the NHS) with increased pay may become even more attractive.

The common NHS holiday package of 6 weeks for experienced staff is generous by private sector standards, but for staff moving to perhaps a new practice manager position then extra holiday above this amount could prove to be a cheaper way to award a candidate than an unaffordable pay rise.

As activity in GP practices changes with commissioning implementation and also as the government consultation on the future of general practice begins to bite, then the practice in the next town could be very different to the practice a manager currently works for, not only in services offered or size, but in approach and ethos. Managers may justifiably consider themselves to be a marketable resource with scarce skills, actively seeking out their next career move to a practice which matches their way of working and their ideals, helping to reduce their stress and improve their reward.

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