Practice managers should receive further training and development to help ease the workload pressures on their practices, a review has suggested.
The GP Partnership Review, published today, put forward the suggestion as part of a series of recommendations to reinvigorate the partnership model.
The review said: ‘Further training and development to support practice managers should also be rolled out.
‘Better-equipped practice managers will make a significant difference to current workload burdens, enabling partners to take on a more strategic decision making role while a business manager oversees the day-to-day operational running of the practice, for example.’
NHS England recently invited practice managers to express their interest for three complimentary 90-minute sessions of coaching and support, to help them cope with daily challenges.
Develop the whole general practice team
The whole general practice team should receive greater support and the capacity of healthcare professional to care for their community should be increased, the review suggested.
The proposal comes just a week after NHS England pledged £4.5bn a year by 2023/24 to primary and community services as part of the long term plan. Some of that money will be used to relieve pressure on GPs and practice staff, according to health and social care secretary Matt Hancock.
Practices should be supported to work more closely through primary care networks, which could help them embed new staff, the review said.
A series of healthcare professionals should be developed and encouraged to join general practice. Advanced nurse practitioners, pharmacists, musculoskeletal therapists, community psychiatric nurses, paramedics, care coordinators and social prescribers are figures that could help ease pressure on GPs.
Workload: impact on GPs
According to the review, ‘workload is the major factor that is causing GPs to leave the profession and discouraging GPs joining partnerships’, but this trend could be reversed once the working day in general practice becomes more manageable – which can be achieved through the expansion of the general practice team.
Commenting on the review, RCGP chair Professor Helen-Stokes Lampard said: ‘We particularly welcome the focus on reducing unnecessary workload in general practice and increasing both the GP workforce, and the wider practice team.
‘Workload in general practice has escalated in recent years both in terms of volume and complexity, and we are now making over a million patient consultations every day, yet we are doing this with a smaller share of the NHS budget than we had a decade ago, and fewer GPs than we did two years ago.’
An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘The NHS long term plan sets out a clear model for GP services across England, with primary care networks at the heart of community health services, and working with the BMA, RCGP and others we will carefully now consider Dr Watson’s thoughtful review and detailed recommendations.’