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Management during Covid-19: Tracy Dell – ‘practice managers are very robust and resilient’

by Awil Mohamoud
25 March 2020

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Management in Practice is catching up with practice managers, as part of a new series, to find out what steps they’re taking to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. 

In our first instalment, we speak to Tracy Dell, a practice manager at Plane Trees Group Practice in Halifax.

‘I think we were already working to capacity before the coronavirus. I think it’s unfortunate that this adds additional pressure,’ she said.

‘However, practice managers are very robust and resilient and we just adapt to whatever we have to do. We have been shifting the work that doesn’t need to be done immediately to the ‘do some time later’ category.

‘We’re dealing with the most important things right now — which are keeping our doors open and continuing to deliver services.’ 

Looking after staff

‘My main concern is looking after the staff as well, because if we haven’t got the staff then we can’t deliver the services and look after the patients. 

The practice has introduced flexible working, which involves some late starts and early finishes, as well as split rotas.  

Ms Dell also said the management is trying to keep staff motivated and has been ordering pizzas to ‘keep everybody going’. Local businesses have also provided ‘tremendous amounts of support’, offering free drinks, discounts and food. 

All of this has been very important, as the practice has been stretched for staff. 

‘We’ve taken our rotas back to the beginning. We’ve wiped them out, because we have some staff and clinicians in self-isolation. At the moment we have two GPs and four other members of staff in self-isolation. Altogether, we have six GPs and 20 staff, so it is quite a hit for us,’ she explained. 

To manage the situation, staff at the practice decided to cancel their booked holidays to continue working through the crisis. 

The practice has also introduced a management rota to make sure there is always a manager on site to cover core hours.  

‘It’s a really tough time but I think everyone is pulling together, and we’re all trying to do our best,’ she said. ‘We all just have to continue working together to get through it.’