The number of full time and part time managers working in general practice has decreased by over 600 in just three years, official data have shown.
NHS Digital provisional data, published last week, revealed a decrease of 612 full time and part time managers – which regroups together ‘managers’ and ‘management partners’ – between September 2015 and September 2018.
However, there has been an increase of 69 managers between September 2017 and September 2018, according to NHS Digital data.
The figures were released last week at the same time when NHS England revealed it managed to exceed the target set out in the GPFV to get an additional 5,000 members of general practice staff by 2020.
NHS England said that there are now 5,321 more primary health professionals working full time in general practice than three years ago, although the number excludes GPs.
NHS Digital data showed there are now 1,120 more full time GPs in post over the last quarter, as new GP trainees join the workforce.
NHS England director of primary care Dominic Hardy said: ‘This significant increase in the number of other health professionals such as nurses, pharmacists and paramedics that work alongside GPs means patients can get better access to a wider range of highly trained staff to meet specific needs.
‘We are as committed as ever to expanding the general practice workforce and while the GP numbers show some encouraging signs, recruiting, retaining and supporting more GPs into practise is an absolute priority for us.’
Potential reasons behind the decrease of practice managers
Mark Thomas, practice manager at Chelston Hall Surgery in Torquay thinks that the difficulty in recruiting GPs could have an effect on practice managers’ numbers, but he believes that the number has decreased mostly following practice mergers.
Figures obtained by our sister publication Pulse showed that nearly 450 GP surgeries have closed or merged in the past five years.
Another factor that impacts practice managers’ morale is abuse from patients. A Primary Care Concerns survey by Management in Practice’s publisher Cogora found that practice managers are the professional group most at risk of experiencing abuse from patients, with 52% of the 254 respondents saying they had received a written abuse.