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Practice Manager of the Year revealed

by Lalah-Simone Springer
21 November 2014

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Sarah Emery from Oakfield Practice was awarded Practice Manager of the Year at the General Practice Awards in London last night. 

Emery, who has been in post for 18 months, designed a ‘Timeshift’ project with the aim of removing out-dated ways of working from her practice. 

Oakfield Surgery is one of the largest practice in South East Wales, with more than 13,000 patients, 12 GPs, two sites and more than 35 staff members. 

The scheme, which began in January 2013, aimed to: 

 – Increase staff morale and motivation. 

 – Promote clinical and non-clinical staff retention through improved corporate culture. 

 – Implement updated management philosophies to create a more ‘enlightened’ workforce. 

 – Improve both practice sites and create a more efficient space. 

 – Ensure practice business models are ‘patient-centric’. 

 – Provide greater financial transparency. 

 – Provide more tailored training to practice staff. 

A new advance nurse practitioner team operate a minor illnesses triage clinic every day to improve patient access. A healthcare assistant team is in the process of undergoing increased training to free up the nursing staff to take on more challenging cases. 

Emery saved the local NHS more than £340,000 through a revised practice development plan. 

Salaried GPs now describe Oakfield as a “benchmark” practice to work for. The team was invited to describe the hours they wish to work, with some taking on more hours and some less. The resultant flexibility in working has meant the staff are more satisfied. 

The number of patient complaints has declined, and the staff retention has improved. 

The application letter, submitted by deputy practice manager Mark Bebb, reads: “There has been a cultural reversal in attitudes and behaviours exhibited whereby team members now make proactive suggestions as to how the practice can be improved. 

“Sarah has completely changed the mood and culture of the practice. A manager has to power to influence and sculpt culture immediately due to the level of authority the role carries. 

“A bad manager can destroy a practice. In contrast Sarah has completely transformed [Oakfield] for the better. As a management graduate and experienced manager in my own right, Sarah would be the benchmark, and is for other to follow.” 

More information on the General Practice Awards is available online.