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Looking forward to the first Management in Practice Event!

1 September 2006

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Cathryn Bateman
Consultant Editor
E [email protected]

I can’t believe this is the fourth issue of Management in Practice; it means a year has passed since the initial concept was aired! When I was first approached to become involved with this publication, I have to confess I was a little concerned about the marketplace – wasn’t it saturated already with journals for practice managers? What could Management in Practice offer that wasn’t out there already?

Well, I am extremely pleased to announce that my concerns were unfounded. With a readership of 7,000, the magazine is going from strength to strength with each issue, and with the additional attraction of the first Management in Practice Event just around the corner in October, it really has been a successful year.

Event registration
If you haven’t yet registered for the event, to take place at Birmingham NEC, there is still time. It is totally free and designed to bring us practice managers together to share our thoughts and principles. At the time of writing, more than 1,700 delegates have signed up, which is a fabulous response and sure to make it the event for practice managers to attend this year.

For my sins I will be chairing the event’s workshop, and I very much hope that I will be able to meet some of you who have kindly responded to my requests for articles over the last year. Obviously, you will see me – I will be the one stuttering over the microphone, so any interruptions and introductions would be much appreciated!

I am pleased that the programme for the workshop includes a section on “Connecting for Health”, and I guess I should save my moans and groans and direct them in an appropriate format to those in the know, but I really do have to get this off my chest: what on earth is going on with Choose and Book?

Loose connection for health?
I think we will all agree that theoretically it’s a good idea, and when it is working as it should be – we are still at the plaster on the sore stage – it will be an improvement. The problem is, nobody told the hospitals! Having endeavoured to persuade 20 very reluctant GPs that we really must do this and that it will be better for the patients in the long run (a means to an end, so to speak), I have had to eat my words more than once. It seems that we are doing our best only to find that the word has not yet reached hospital staff. I can name (but won’t) at least two hospitals in our area that have rejected referrals, because “there are perfectly adequate consultants at your local hospital” (this was signed by an overworked consultant at a specialised hospital with an excellent reputation!).

Patients were always going to choose them, but why weren’t they prepared? It is very embarrassing to have to go back to patients and eat humble pie: “You know the doctor you saw last week gave you a choice of which hospital you could be referred to? Well, I’m sorry, I know it’s your right and I know they have put themselves on the list of choices for that specialty, but you can’t go there because there is a qualified doctor who works just up the road! Yes, I know you work next door to your chosen hospital, but what can I say?”

What I can say is that we have ticked the box and offered choice, but is this paper exercise really what it’s all about? Perhaps I will save it for the questions session at the Birmingham event – it will be interesting to see how many more of you have had similar experiences.

Until then, I hope you enjoy issue 4 of Management in Practice.