Practice Management can be a lonely and stressful position within a practice. The ever changing political landscape in Primary Care means that the role is constantly evolving and there is traditionally little or no professional support and guidance. GPs, whilst usually the head of a practice in corporate terms, are often not totally familiar with all the regulations and constrictions imposed on practices and it is therefore usually the Practice Manager who has to interpret and deliver against complex and ever changing legislative and operational imperatives (both NHS and statutory).
Most Practice Managers have to take full responsibility for their own professional development, and without an established pathway, this leads to huge variations in competence and confidence. The Competency Framework for Practice Management (2004) was designed to give some kind of structure to management in General Practice and together with the National Management and Leadership Skills definitions can be framework against which Practice Managers can start to assess their own knowledge and skills.
Enfield has some very experienced Practice Managers and some new managers who come from outside the health service. The mentoring programme matches experienced managers (the mentors) with those less experienced (the mentees). Each pair works together to identify areas for development and meets regularly. Mentoring is an extremely effective way of utilising the knowledge and competency of experienced Practice Managers, to help less experienced staff develop their skills. It is a way of ensuring General Practice achieves its full potential and sharing knowledge with others, is a great way of building a quality service for patients, whilst ensuring a safe and productive working environment for staff.