First Practice Management
- Posted Monday July 5, 2021
It’s fair to say that to be a GP Practice Manager takes a special kind of a person – someone with a range of skills and life experiences. After the turmoil created by Covid 19, and with continuing pressures for the foreseeable future thanks to the pandemic, great leaders are even more important. How would you define the perfect Practice Manager?
To try and answer that question, we’ve compiled a list of the some of the key strengths needed, and taken a look at how you can make the most of them. Because at FPM, we know what it takes to succeed in this challenging role, and we’ve helped hundreds of practices across the UK to recruit their managers.
You can see current vacancies on our website by following this link.
The perfect practice manager needs:
- A deep understanding of the NHS,
- Great communication skills,
- Solid commercial background / knowledge,
- Strategic vision,
- Superb organisational skills,
- Strong leadership qualities.
But what do these really mean in practice?
A deep understanding of the NHS: you’re an operational manager in a complex sector, full of regulatory requirements and ever-changing standards. You’ll also be dealing with the NHS, one of the largest and most multi-faceted organisations in the world. You’ll need to be across all of it to add value to your business - providing the best care for your patients and the best working environment for your staff. It takes time to keep on top of both current and future requirements. In particular, you’ll want to keep abreast of any new funding opportunities that could help your practice.
Great communication skills: all Practice Managers know the importance of bringing people with them when it comes to managing surgeries, and to do this requires an ability to communicate and empathise with a wide range of people. A PM is often required to communicate complex or controversial concepts, and patient safety and compliance with the law depends on this. It also requires PMs to never be complacent – a great team spirit can quickly deteriorate if it is not worked at constantly. Something that helps to engender a really good team spirit is having empathy and understanding for colleagues; a simple act of kindness goes a long way. Thornfields trainer Charan Sarai has written extensively on this subject, including how kindness is crucial in leadership, and how managers with a positive attitude can achieve great results.
Solid commercial knowledge: a GP surgery is a business, and whoever is in charge needs good commercial nous to keep it running profitably and smoothly. Managing finances, recruiting the best staff, ensuring tech and systems are up to date, and making processes streamlined and scalable are just some of the many aspects of commerciality a PM will manage.
Strategic vision: not only can you manage things in the here and now, but you also need excellent foresight and skills to plan ahead for future eventualities, to keep the practice compliant and profitable. The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the regulatory body for England’s healthcare system, rates GP practices on whether they have a clear vision and strategy in place to deliver high-quality care and promote good outcomes for patients.
Superb organisational skills: to say there are lots of moving parts that a PM must keep an eye on would be an understatement. Whether it’s staff rotas and annual leave requests, patient complaints, recruitment or salaries, having an organised approach and managing expectations is crucial. Why not have a look at our list of five quick tips to improve your organisational skills to learn more about this topic?
Strong leadership qualities: PMs are often called on to handle sensitive or complex HR matters, and to resolve them to everyone’s satisfaction as quickly as possible. This will sometimes make you unpopular, so a thick skin is a must. You can’t please everyone all the time. Have a look at our article on dealing with difficult employees to see a good example of where strong leadership qualities can help in practice.
First Practice Management Recruitment Services manage the recruitment process end to end. We assess the role, promote the vacancy, help with candidate selection, support interview days and manage all communications with candidates to relieve additional workload on the GP practice.