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Practice managers react to the appointment of new health secretary

by Valeria Fiore
12 July 2018

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Management in Practice asked practice managers what their views and hopes for the newly appointment secretary of state for health and social care are.
Paul Conroy – practice manager at The Colte Partnership – Mersea Island Branch
‘The seriousness of the NHS predicament has grown significantly since then, and the stability of a predictable and knowledgeable set of hands is sorely needed. [Jeremy Hunt’s] arguing for an uplift of the NHS budget, and his tag-team with Simon Stevens has been successful lately.
‘The bedding in of [the] connection between health and social care has not yet been completed, and this will be high on the agenda for the incoming minister.
‘His voting record suggests he will not be a big welfare state idealist – having voted against increasing benefits. But his time as an economist will be well suited to the role.’
Claire Oatway – practice manager at the Beacon Medical Group
‘My hopes are that the Matt Hancock takes time to learn about general practice especially and sees the level of commitment and leadership that is here in abundance.
‘The growth of the primary care home movement from 15 sites to 15% of the country within two years demonstrates that GP practices want and support change for their communities. General Practice can unlock savings across the whole health system but need to be engaged, trusted and celebrated.
‘NHS70 has been a great event for the UK but there’s still been a very strong emphasis on hospitals and community trusts. For me, there’s never been a more important time for the secretary of state [for health] to make that visible commitment to the whole health of the nation by supporting GPs, not just the institutions that treat very sick people.’
Richard Miller – practice manager at the Great Bentley Surgery in Colchester
‘He’s relatively unknown to the NHS. His experience in office has been flitting about from one department to the other and before he held office, his experience seems to have been in economics and business.
‘Quite how this will help him get to grips with the massive problem that is the NHS, I really don’t know. Could he treat the NHS as a profit making business and push for more exposure to the private sector? That is very worrying.’
Steve Williams – co-chair of the Practice Management Network
‘Naturally, all of the usual stakeholders will be welcoming him with a view of trying to get their own policies and points across.
‘I hope that he [Mr Hancock] will consider consulting organisations like us [the PMN] directly and seeing how we already contribute to the NHS and how will can help in driving forward the necessary changes to be made to the NHS in the future.’
Tracy Dell – practice manager at Plane Trees Group Practice in Halifax
‘I’m hoping our new health secretary Matt Hancock will review existing arrangements and contracts that are in place to support general practice and consider the difficulties we are experiencing. The management of medical records, finance, GP pensions and trainee payments are some of the most frustrating issues for us to deal with. The delays and problems are having a damaging effect on practices and this is directly impacting on patient care.

‘It is crucial that he prioritises digital transformation plans to ensure primary care IT systems are fully integrated and interoperable. Medical records should be accessible to patients and all healthcare professionals involved in their care. A paperless system should be implemented as a matter of urgency to enable mobile working and maximising the use of technology. The NHS is a huge organisation and yet is so behind the times in relation to technology.’