My aim was to give something back to the society.
Despite my several years of working in Industry, in large Corporate companies and in Senior Management positions, the few years I spent as Practice Manager (PMgr), working very closely with the GPs, Nurses, Healthcare Professionals, staff, HAs, PCTs, Pharmacists and other allied personnel, had meant a lot to me and felt that the Healthcare Industry is the best industry one should aim to work for. Income may be modest but it would give mega satisfaction in providing quality service to the patients.
I decided to take the route of self-publishing using Internet and made it available FREE to all those accessing the web page. I felt the reception staff, with such a meagre starting salary, statutory minimum hourly rate, should not be expected to pay for reading these blogs.
The blogs are written as a manual so that at any point in their working career or even before joining, a person can refer to these, to have some idea of what the various roles are involved while working in a GP surgery. It lists the areas, points to focus, procedures to follow, dos and donts, amongst many other things. It covers a wide range of areas to become familiar with. During the course of their working career, they can build up their knowledge base by further reading using the vast resources available via Internet. References are also given for them to search and learn.
Why Blog to Book
NHS is fast changing. The changes in the last 10 years, even the last 5 years have been phenomenal; some good, some cosmetic and the rest bad. Nonetheless, changes are endemic with each government, when a minister is changed. The changes have been more since the Government introduced an Admin interface e.g. Primary Care Trusts in between the minster and NHS old hierarchy of Consultants and GPs.
Consequently, if a book takes about a year or two to write, one is not able to keep up with the changes and the book would appear out of date even before it is published.
This had posed a serious problem to me and I wanted to minimise this. Blogging gave an excellent opportunity as each blog could be updated with or without reader’s input.
Several authors in the last 10 years have followed this route of ‘blog to book’ for their own reasons and I felt that this was the route to follow for this management manual. Also, a book in the end would leave a tangible evidence for the years to come.
Many people may prefer to have a book for easy reference than reading the blogs via computer or mobile iPhones or iPads. Books open doors for press coverage and speaking opportunities. Books make other people perceive the author as a serious writer.
I am fully aware that blogs do not make money and books might follow the same course except for a very few reputable authors. I never considered making money from blogs as an option. In fact, these blogs may end up floating like a lead balloons – only time would tell.
One aspect of blogging is realising the crucial aspect and importance of social networking sites e.g. Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Tweets, YouTube, Google, Yahoo and not to forget other Bloggers. The more any author is familiar and uses these sites the better would be the opportunity to contact people when the blogs are published. I am a novice in the field of social networking too!
What the blogs does and does not deal with are listed below:
- Covers most of the areas of admin. responsibilities of all staff including GPs, Nurses and Healthcare professionals; it isn’t about the clinical responsibilities of the GPs, nurses and Healthcare professionals.
- General skills needed in areas of Communication, assertiveness, management, human psychology etc. have been dealt with but for greater appreciation on these aspects the readers are advised to use web and libraries for specialist books on these.
- Only a brief mention about QOF points and how to deal with each is made, as these are brilliantly listed in other publications and the person can access these easily by looking through web sites given in the Reference Section.
- Apart from how to access the sites of HMRC as regards, taxation, NI for various tables, the rest is left for the reader to source the information. Tax filing for partnership etc. is also excluded. This also applies to the specific pay roll system used, as they are reasonably easy to use and how to use them is excluded as well.
- The details of income and expenses, which the PMgr has to focus and get the monies from PCT, are mentioned. The use of excel sheets is shown, to have auto-preparation of accounts and to have an idea of the financial state of the practice at any given time. All aspects of financial accounting are left for the qualified accountant, who would be preparing the annual accounts.
- For computing and telephones only a list of providers and areas for search are included. The details of the specific computing system used in the practice are also excluded. The service provider would have trained key personnel in the practice at the time of installation and a trained staff in the surgery should be able to deal with new entrants.
- Regarding HR issues, only those pertaining to the surgery practice are mentioned. All general aspects could be sourced via Google search or using other references given.
- These blogs are meant to share the existing knowledge in every day operation in the GP surgery and is made available FREE to all who access the site. Case studies and preparing this, as an e-learning book, have not been attempted, as this would involve a different emphasis with training in mind and there are several organisations do courses for such training at a very high cost. I am out of contact with surgeries for some years, especially when numerous changes were being introduced and for case studies one needs access to surgery(s) on a regular basis to get data for the book. Much as I like to address the case studies issues, I have no such access to surgery(s), close to where I live, at present.
Remedial issues are so complex and detailed, when an investigation starts, and there are several sources to obtain information (only the areas which PMgr has to conform so that the practice follows all due procedures required in day-to-day operations are covered. These regulations and requirements happen to occupy the ‘blind spot’ for focus, even for GPs).