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1 December 2005

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Cathryn Bateman
Consultant Editor
E [email protected]

A very warm welcome to the first edition of Management in Practice, designed to offer context and support to practice managers in the ever-changing environment within which we work.
I am very excited to have been offered the position of consultant editor; this is a new challenge for me, and I hope I can do justice to the position. As very much a hands-on “working” practice manager myself, I feel I am in the perfect position to understand the attitudes of general practice managers and source subjects for features that meet our needs. I appreciate that we often work in isolation, although I am optimistic that with the introduction of initiatives such as practice-based commissioning we shall recognise the need to work more closely together to exploit the opportunities offered by the project.

I hope that Management in Practice will become established as a vital information resource for PMs, and we intend to be proactive and to promote best practice. But we want the magazine to be reflective of your needs and represent your voices. We invite your feedback – preferably constructive criticism! – to help us make the publication more user-friendly and productive. We need our readers to engage with us – for you to share your ideas, views and experiences with us through feature submissions, letters, faxes and emails. So, over to you …

Here and now
You may note that the first edition appears a little biased towards the West Midlands area. This is not only because it’s my neck of the woods and an area that’s often underrepresented in the media, but also because I felt it would be useful to set the scene with features explaining what’s happening locally in my area. I hope the exposition will offer the context for comparison with your own situations. I am only too aware that practice management varies from practice to practice, area to area and even country to country, as policies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland often differ from those in England. We have much to consider and reflect.

In this issue …
I thoroughly need to thank everyone who has pulled out all the stops meeting the tight deadlines for this first edition. I have begged favours from many colleagues and contacts, and I am grateful for their timely and enthusiastic support. It is so important that there are like-minded people willing to give up their time to offer perspective and expertise in our forever-moving environment. However, it’s an environment that we shouldn’t knock, as I for one appreciate that without change I probably wouldn’t have a job!

Within this first edition you will find articles focused on particular topical issues. Patricia Gray’s analysis of Agenda for Change (page 30) is one that will be of great interest to many managers as we toy with the concept, challenged by the possibility that at some point it may become a must-do. Similarly, as mentioned earlier, practice-based commissioning is another area giving us cause to ponder. Some may have actually dipped their toes into the water, but I think most of us are still very much in the dark. With that in mind, we set out to investigate what’s going on out there in practiceland – check out the answers we got on page 14.

Also in this issue, we have set the ball rolling with IT and premises and facilities – two areas that will be followed up in some depth in future editions.
And there is much more for you to explore for yourselves as you turn the pages.

Finally, I would just point out our regular “Practice Profile” slot, which basically takes a look at where and how particular PMs work. Our opening shot features the working life of university practice manager Angela Hegan. We are keen to reveal the diverse roles and responsibilities of practice managers around the UK, so if you work somewhere a little different (and don’t mind having your photograph taken), we would love to hear from you.

Until next time, enjoy the first edition of Management in Practice.