Seven in 10 practice managers are considering leaving the profession or retiring altogether in the next five years, according to Cogora’s latest annual primary care survey.
Only 20% of the 618 practice managers we surveyed said they were not considering leaving. Another 10% said they did not know.
Some, 38% of practice managers rated their morale as either ‘very low’ or ‘low’ – among the highest rates in primary care. They listed ‘unrealistic patient demand’ as the main driver, followed by too much ‘bureaucracy’ and ‘workload dumping’.
The survey, ‘Primary Concerns 2019: The State of Primary Care’, captured the opinions of those in primary care just prior to the coronavirus crisis.
Practice managers have had to spend a large bulk of their time away from their normal duties to work on PCNs.
More than four in 10 said they had required time off work or expected to in the next year due to work-related stress. Three in 10 said they believe the stress and burnout they have faced has impacted patient care to some degree.
One practice manager said: ‘Deadlines have passed, and I know that I haven’t been able to keep on top of all the demands made on my time… due to stress or sheer volume of workload’.
Practice managers are more likely to face patient abuse than any of their primary care colleagues.
Another said: ‘I have had enough of patients abusing admin staff when they can’t get their own way and constantly threatening to complain, and added to that is the amount of pressure the CCG and NHS England put on us to complete added paperwork, which is just too overwhelming. We don’t get the time anymore to just do our jobs.’
A quarter of practice managers said they either discontinued clinical services or thought about doing so. A similar number had merged or considered a merger. Also, more than one in 10 considered or made cuts in relation to staff hours or routine appointments.
On a more positive note, nearly half (44%) of practice managers said they have secured a pay rise or better terms and conditions in their current role – the highest success rate in primary care. Only 12% asked for this and did not get it.