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ARTICLE 03/2012


Back (history) The Practice Manager

Profile 3  –Practice Manager

Feltwell Surgery’s practice manager is Sharon Wilson.

Do we all know what she does?

‘The skills needed are diverse - public health administration, strategic planning, finance and accounting, human resources, resource and contracts, commissioning, IT analysis, legislation and more! Our formost priority is patient care and services. We have to balance both the needs of the patients and the practice. A practice manager ensures the GPs and their teams deliver good care to patients while allowing the practice to meet its aims and objectives.’

Does the job improve the service provided?

‘Absolutely. We work within our Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure we are doing the best we can for patients.’

What qualifications do you need to do your job?

‘This varies from practice to practice. I have a HNC in Business Administration and a Diploma in Primary Care Management with 10 years experience working in the NHS.’

Is the practice manager responsible for organising the clinical staff’s work?

‘We have a contract with the Department of Health to commit to a certain number of hours. It is my responsibility to allocate these hours.’  

Sharon has to juggle the needs of the patients with the availability of the staff. One doctor may have family commitments making evening surgery difficult whereas another may prefer to work in the evening.

‘My priority is to ensure we are available when patients need us.  It’s about getting the balance right.  Recently we found that our working/commuting patient population wanted early morning/late evening appointments. We discussed this and decided one doctor would start some surgeries two hours earlier and the other two doctors would each do a late evening surgery.  It’s all about compromise.’

Feltwell runs an appointment system not an open clinic. Why?

Our system allows patients to make appointments at a time convenient to them and bookable in advance. There are also a significant amount of  ‘book on the day’ appointments with the benefit of being able to see a clinician the same day without having to sit in a crowded waiting room for hours.

Do doctors still do home visits?

‘Yes.  We try to do house calls between 1.00pm – However there are urgent situations when the GP’s have to interrupt their surgery. The receptionists keep the patients informed.’

Where does the money come from to run the surgery and pay the staff?

‘We receive funding for each patient registered. We also get more funding to help those with chronic diseases who have to be seen more often. The NHS may be free for all but there is only one pot of money and it has to be shared out amongst everyone.’