These blogs on General Practice Management are about the Management of a GP Surgery, primarily in England. There is a void in publications in this crucial area covering the various aspects of Surgery Management.
There isn’t a single book, dealing with all the areas covered here, to help the various personnel working in the GP Surgeries and to assist them with their training, self-learning and be continually prepared for the demands of the job.
These blogs cover all areas of management, which a Practice Manager (PMgr) has to deal with in order to perform his tasks effectively. These lay out the basic principles and points to know about if he/she has to be skilled in general administration.
The blogs are based mostly on my notes while working, with PCT and other organisations continually giving information of changes and how to process them.
These blogs do not deal in detail about clinical aspects of the GP surgery responsibilities as these are in the domain for GP’s and Nurses; the PMgr is not required to focus on these areas unless he is a Medical Doctor. The PMgr is required to focus on Admin duties only and should not get involved in clinical duties, even inadvertently.
The scope of the blogs is to be helpful to all staff in knowing their tasks and how to deal with situations involving patients and outside personnel. A comprehensive perspective is given with suitable references for detailed study as appropriate.
With an engineering background and senior management experience for several years in multinational companies, at a very late stage in life, I was asked to manage a large GP surgery in London by an accountant friend, Mr G. Viswanathan, in London. I grabbed that opportunity as I always had a fascination to work for GP’s.
With a staff of nearly 20 and two surgeries with 6 GP’s for a list size of nearly 10000 patients, I found the job quite stimulating and satisfying. There I felt the need for helping receptionists who were young and new to this industry and were keen to learn and perform well.
In those days, and even now, the courses offered were very few and in the main, the courses were for the Practice or admin managers and special training for Nurses. Apart from a few short sessions, the receptionists were generally sidelined.
Many years after that, when I was required to train a Practice Manager recently, I found the opportunity for using such courses was very few and very expensive. This made me to write these blogs as an aid to the receptionists, practice manager, nurses, other staff and GP’s for the admin areas.
I also felt that the blogs should be available ‘FREE’ for anyone embarking on a career in NHS. Each one should be able to get a copy of these and refer these blogs for self-learning and get familiar with the practices followed in GP surgeries in England. Rules are similar in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with some variations, should they wish to move to these parts of the country later in their careers. These blogs are intended as a ‘reference book’ for all employees of a GP surgery and a ‘Must Have’ copy for each of them to possess.
Primary Care Trust (PCTs), BMA, NICE etc. have laid out the procedures in detail and help materials to use. These blogs makes only reference to those organisations and does not reproduce their lengthy publications. For example Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) for 2011-12 runs to over 187 pages in PDF format. Only a sample sheet is attached to elucidate key points; this principle is applied to all the others in the document. The Admin and Clinical protocols with details cover over 200 pages; I have only included a list with short description for some of them. Even though PCTs have become Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), I have not changed the blogs from PCTs to CCGs. CCG details have been dealt with in Section 20.1.
I chose to write this originally as a book, (now as blogs), due to necessity for my immediate needs and also to help the staff in GP surgeries, working at present and those who will continue to join. I have been used to writing operating manuals with Do’s and Don’ts and felt compelled to author these blogs with eventual publication as a ‘Book’. With cash-strapped PCT’s the training courses offered were very limited now and the surgeries are sometimes so short of staff, in-house training is difficult and puts the junior staff under undue stress.
I learnt accounting from my elder brother, Mr V. Jagannathan, a chartered accountant, in Chennai, and have managed to do accounts in early 80s for freelance operators like a Songwriter, a fashion designer, and a few hotels and for small limited companies. In that process, I developed an excel-based system for the surgery, whereby inputting the income and expenses, the rest of the accounts are automatically computed and displayed; this made the accountant’s job lot easier.
The GP partner need only spend about 30-45 min each month to input the income and expense figures. The Partner will have a feel for the surgery accounts each month and have the ‘status’ when clicking accounts. Nothing should come as a ‘shock’ at the year-end.
This system is used in one surgery and I still check the final account computation at the end of each financial year (more as a courtesy for setting up the system than as a necessity).
I sincerely hope that all the readers find these blogs of great help not only about knowing the jobs involved but also in assisting them to settle in quickly and make them wanting to make a good career out of the GP surgery work.
The references given later in a separate section is for the users of the blogs – for current practices and more detailed descriptions of each of the Sections in the blogs.
In my opinion there is no better place to work than in a Healthcare industry and no finer place to work than in a GP Surgery in UK.
Having dealt with over 8 GP’s, 5 Nurses, 3 PCT’s and its staff, I must stress that these blogs would not have been possible without the help and support they provided to me while at work in the GP surgeries under these PCT’s. Some may not even remember me or realized their contribution in motivating me but my gratitude is to all of them and I have also dealt with this in the ‘thanks’ section.
(These blogs have been converted to an ‘eBook’ in 2015)