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Applying for practice manager development funding too complicated, says BMA

by Valeria Fiore
8 June 2018

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The British Medical Association (BMA) is recommending the NHS to simplify the application process for practice manager development funding.
In an analysis published today on the general practice forward view (GPFV), the medical trade union said the process to access the funding allocated to the practice manager development programme ‘needs to be simplified’.
It comes after several local medical committees (LMCs) lamented that ‘securing funding for practice manager development is often a very bureaucratic process’, the BMA added.
Lack of clarity
The report said: ‘LMCs have also reported that there has been inconsistency in how flexible local NHSE teams are with providing proposals and funding to practices, resulting in some not receiving funding.’
Their views were collected as part of a survey the BMA sent to LMCs between February and March 2018.
Speaking to Management in Practice, GPFV policy lead for the general practitioners committee and chair of the North Staffs GP Federation Chandra Kanneganti said that although some guidance was provided by NHS England on how LMCs should apply for the funding, ‘communication was not clear enough’.  
He added: ‘Several LMCs had not applied properly because they were not clear about the process.’
Progress on GPFV
Only £1m of the £6m committed to the practice manager development programme over a three-year period has been spent since its introduction in 2016, according to NHS England.
So far, £239,500 has been spent to support face to face networking opportunities, £200,000 to train practice manager appraisers and £523,000 to support practice manager coaching and mentoring.
Instead, the BMA said funding for the period 2017/18 and 2018/19 is being used to support the following areas:
– E-learning and best practice resources
– Diplomas in advanced practice management
– National practice manager development conferences
The 2017/18 funding that has yet to be allocated will be carried over to 2018/19, NHS England told the BMA.
Dr Kanneganti said that practice managers can contact their LMCs and work with them to set up practice management networks but that individual practices also can apply for one-to-one support for practice managers.