Practice Manager Alphabet

Throughout last month we asked Practice Managers up and down the country to tell us what their ultimate A-Z would include. From acronyms to QRISK and Ouzo to Vodka, we have compiled a list of some our favourite words that you chose to describe your role as a Practice Manager.


Adrenalin Practice Managers can go through all manners of emotions on any given day due to the varied and usually very busy workload. That quickened heart rate and rush of oxygen to the muscles that gets you through high pressure situations can only come from the above hormone though.

Acronyms CQC, QOF, CCG, NICE, NHS, GP... There is a never-ending slew of acronyms in the world of healthcare to make your working life just that little bit more confusing , but at least at the end of a long week you can use your favourite and rejoice ‘TGIF’ (Thank God It’s Friday.)


Balance Juggling everything and anything from staff and patients to paperwork and inspections, balancing tasks and people is the Practice Manager’s forte.

Banking The role of Practice Manager arose in 1970’s when growing practices realised they needed someone to cover the financial and organisational side of the business. So, although Practice Manager roles vary from practice to practice, there is likelihood that whatever you’re job description entails you do a lot of this within your position.


Compliance There are many legal and administration responsibilities to keep up with on a daily and weekly basis. From CQC to health and safety you always ensure the Practice is meeting various governing bodies’ standards.

Communication The key to your job is having these skills. As the backbone of the surgery, you go between the staff, the patients and the regulatory bodies.

CCG One of the many NHS acronyms, these organisations help to deliver NHS services across England and were formed by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to replace Primary Care Trusts.

CQC The independent health and social care regulator have been a hot topic of late, with the primary health care inspections having started this October. They work to check GPs, hospitals, care homes and dentists are up to national standards.


Dynamic The world of healthcare is a dynamic one, constantly changing and making u-turns. Because of this you have become flexible and able to adapt to all the changes various people and organisations throw at you.

Direction Sometimes you don’t know which way you’re being pulled in, but as a Practice Manager you work hard to make sure the Practice is going in the right one.

Deadlines Every man and their dog have deadlines set for you - and each one is more important than the everyone else’s. In your job you have become a pro at prioritising and keeping everyone happy as a result of this.


Enhanced Services Extra services to reduce burden on secondary care and create extra revenue opportunities. You are the person who works to understand what is best for patient and the practice before the practices takes any on and expands its range of services.

Extended hours Free time is often at threat by the promise of longer opening hours and weekend openings at practices. See weekend.


Flexibility You are constantly adapting and developing new ways of doing things to keep up with the ever changing industry. Like communication skills, flexibility is definitely an important requirement for fulfilling the role of Practice Manager. See dynamic.

Forums These provide a good opportunity for you to listen to customers and key stake holders.

Fun What we all strive for to make the working day worthwhile.


General Practice Where you work...

GPs Spending their days diagnosing patients and filling in paperwork, a good General Practitioner will make your job much easier and you will make theirs easier in return - it is a mutual partnership.


Happy Staff and Patients We all know that happy staff + happy patients = happy practice manager. So that’s why you spend your time trying to make sure everyone is happy.

Holidays A trip to an exotic land or a week relaxing at home, holidays are a well-appreciated way to put that spring back in your step and take time to enjoy life outside of General Practice.


IT Technology that makes your working life easier, from toolkits to emails to spreadsheets. When the internet isn’t being particularly slow, all your jobs become much more simple with the help of your PC.

Invoices They all seem to come in at the same time, but by some miracle you always manage to stay on top of them.

Ice For your end of week (or day) drinks.


Job Descriptions As your job requires you to recruit staff, you might find yourself writing plenty of these - or wondering if some of the tasks you end up doing were even in your own.

Joint Working  Practices working together or with other bodies like CCGs – Or confirmation that your elbow is bending fine.

Jacuzzis You wish you had one in work.


Kitchen The most versatile room in any Practice. This is the place where you take your tea break, occasionally get to enjoy your lunch in and where all the important meetings happen!

Kindness What we’d all like to be treated with and how we hope we are perceived to be treating others, even on a hectic day when things aren’t necessarily going as planned.


LMCs Otherwise known as a Local Medical Comittee, they work to represent GPs and GP practices regardless of their contractual status. The formally recognised body can provide a medico-political voice for GPs and often work to build relationships with Practice Managers too.

Leave (annual) See holidays.


Monitoring  Practice Managers are constantly doing this. Making sure yourself, your staff and the practice is on the right track.

Medicine management Making sure right people get the right medicine at the right cost.

Morning Coffee Though you might end the day with tea, a large dose of caffeine to start the day is often needed to perk you up.


Nerves of steel Just like GBBO’s Nancy – you need to have these to get through the working day.


Outstanding patient services What you hope CQC inspections will say about your practice.

Overtime Although you don’t always get paid for it, as a Practice Manager you probably tend to end up working extra hours during the week.

Ouzo To go with the ice!


PPG Patient participation groups are a way of connecting with patients and exploring new ideas. While it can be tricky to get a fair representation of the community and they can prove to be time consuming, participation groups can be an invaluable source of feedback.

Patients Not to be confused with patience – it is the patients who you try and make the practice the best it can possibly be for (after CQC).

Pay Day That one moment in the month when you get to be rich for a day and see the hard earned fruits of your labour.


QRISK Assessing the risk of a patient developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the next ten years. It might only be an estimate, but can be a good tool for preventing CVD in your patients.

Quiet Not always easy to find when you work in a busy environment such as the Practice, but you appreciate it all the more for this on your drive/cycle/walk  home from work

Quarter End That time when you start to make claims, get paid, and do stock takes.


Reporting  For CCGs, bosses, NHS England etc. You probably spend a lot of time creating performance reports on all manner of things for various governing bodies.

Rotas Sometimes putting together a rota feels like trying to fit a circle into a square hole, when all six receptionists need the school holidays off or several GPs need some well-deserved recuperation time all at once. It always seems to work out in the end though.

Retirement When you have done your time in the workplace and ticket off all the A,B and C’s of the Practice Manager alphabet, you might want to retire and take up gardening or sailing. Or why not try out for (and win) Great British Bake Off like former Practice Manager Nancy Birtwhistle?


Sharing (Good Practice) If you have a fresh and effective idea, you pass on the good tips to other practices and they will do the same. Sometimes referred to as ‘stealing with pride’.

Smoking Cessation You know the Practice has to meet the QOF targets, so you make sure your GPs ask about patients’ smoking habit at every opportunity and participate in campaigns like the recently passed Stoptober.


 Tea break Where there is tea, there is hope. Five minutes respite to break up the day every now and then can go a long way to keeping you and your colleagues happy staff.

Time to go home That last half an hour might have felt like six hours crammed in, but you can finally head back and relax before doing it all over again the next day – unless it is a Friday of course, in that case see Weekend.


Under Pressure A Queen song Or how you feel a lot of the time.

Unplanned admissions Most of these are completely out of your hands, but everyone still wants you to work on reducing and controlling them anyway.


Victory There are plenty of small victories to keep you going every day. When there are enough doctors in; all the receptionists have turned up and all the phones seem to be working you can’t count it a victorious day.

Vodka If no Ouzo is available.


Weekend Saturday & Sunday – two precious days that are being threatened by plans for longer GP Practice access hours. With of bit of luck you can keep them aside for unwinding and re-charging before the next week rolls in.


Xerox For when you need to quickly print off the reems of paperwork and protocols.


Yeti I’m sure they registered with us?

Yes  A word you sometimes have to refrain from constantly saying in order to keep peace. Can I have next Tuesday off? Yes. Can I have a payrise? Yes. Appointment with the doctor? Yes


Zealous A word that might describe Practice Managers at the start of the week or their career. Inspired with intense enthusiasm, sometimes declines towards friday.

Zombie An animated corpse according Haitian folklore Or what your friends, family and colleague might mistake you for at the end of a long working week, at least that’s how it feels anyway.

Thanks to: Katie Power – Practice Manager Manchester, Tracey Stuchlik – Business Manager Newcastle upon Tyne, Carmel Scholfield – Practice Manager Batley, Ashley Thompson – Assistant Manager, Portsmouth, Peter Ganesh – Merthyr Tydfil, Pound House Surgery and Dr Kristina King

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Djole 04/08/2015

Talking to an ex-ward sister frenid, who's worked here and abroad, she found the same problem wherever she went in the fact that nurses have to eat too. So lunchtime was when she had the lowest level of staff avaiable to her. Bring back the old Nightingale wards, where an eagle-eyed Sister controlled every aspect of her domain

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