Time is running out for NHS England to include practice managers in its New to Partnership Scheme, the Institute of General Practice Management (IGPM) has said after members were told the scheme will end next March.
In a statement, dated 13 August but published this morning (20 August), the IGPM said that despite assurances practice managers were being considered for the scheme, this ‘has not yet materialised’.
Speaking to Management in Practice, a spokesperson for the IGPM said that ‘it looks like the clock is running out on us’.
They added that they ‘have been asking for updates for months and been told various reasons along the way on why we’re not included’ and that ‘there is no movement from the people in charge of it’.
The scheme grants up to £20,000 and an on-costs contribution of up to £4,000 to support establishment as a partner, as well as a training fund of up to £3,000 to develop non-clinical partnership skills.
In March this year, the scheme was extended to include physician associates, bringing the number of eligible professions to 12.
In its latest statement, the IGPM said: ‘This inclusion came as a surprise to the IGPM and our members as the role itself is very new to general practice, whereas practice managers have been running practices since their inception.’
It said that the lack of progress on the issue comes despite conversations with NHSE, the BMA and the GPC, who have all ‘appeared supportive’ of managers’ inclusion in the scheme.
The IGPM also said that its members who have made applications to the scheme on behalf of clinicians have been told that the scheme is ending in March 2022.
When originally announced in early 2020, the initial phase was said to likely run for ‘two or three years’. However, an FAQ document dated June 2020 states that is anticipated to end on 21 March 2022.
The IGPM noted that many practices must undergo a six-month probatory period, meaning managers would need to have been offered the opportunity by October 2021.
It added that 55% of respondents to its survey stated they were considering leaving the profession, and that it was ‘very disappointed’ that the role of practice managers ‘does not appear to be valued’.
The scheme currently includes GPs, nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physios, paramedics, midwives, dietitians, podiatrists, occupational therapists, and mental health practitioners.’
NHSE has been contacted for comment.