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by Our manager in practice
4 July 2011

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‘Prove it’: the new challenge for practice managers

So, how far have you got with your preparation work for Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulation – and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) for that matter! Whatever changes there have been or will be, neither are likely to go away entirely.

Elections are underway in our area for the shadow CCG – at least I think it’s a shadow, could be something else by now! I love the way this keeps changing, with never any mention of managers – oh, I forgot, of course clinicians will be doing that…

Judging by the piles of data that keep landing in my inbox, I could be forgiven for thinking that practice managers were going to need to do something. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be involved and am excited by what we might be able to achieve, I would just like it to be acknowledged that we are needed and have a part to play.

As for CQC, I really ought to get thinking about this. A likely reprieve is now on the cards for a year, but I don’t think it will be going away altogether – and nor should it. We all need to be providing our services at a certain standard, and able to prove it.

And there’s the rub of course – proving it. Proving we are compliant with our own policies and procedures is the bit where most of us will have the problems I think.

We are just not used to doing this. We can write policies and have them all listed and we think everyone is following them, we say we know they are being followed, but how do we actually know? How do we measure this?

For me, this is the bit that will take most effort. I just hope it won’t lead us to needing compliance officers as they have in the finance industry! The horror stories I hear from a close friend in a firm of financial advisers is very salutary – I’d still far rather be working in general practice!

Still the brightness on our horizon is that we have done better than I thought for QOF. It was difficult (at least for me) predicting the effect the changes would make, but for us they have been very positive. (I appreciate that for some of you the effect will be less positive!).

This will at least be helpful as my budgetary predictions for this year are not good. The senior partner is accusing me of being a doom merchant. He says it always ends up better than I say!

I hope it will but the outlook really doesn’t look very good. This is the first year I can remember when we have not given the staff a cost of living pay award, which does wonders for morale of course!

What do you think? Are you positive about the year ahead? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“No, I have had to move to EMIS web plus the rest of the staff when we were really happy with Premiere so that is a headach in itself trying to migrate this system and then the QOF changes then the standards by the CQC and now DASHBOARDS oh my god you have got to be kidding me this system is hit and miss and I am just trying to get my head around the new software for this plus the IT software for information governance who needs commissioning I have enough to keep me going for years – roll on retirement after 20 years too many changes at too fast a pace and legislation and health and safety… Why do we do this job? Maybe it’s because we do have a purpose and we are needed, good job I have self belief – at least it bonds us all in this mad mad world” – Lila Bentley, London

“I feel that the GP commissioning will be bad for all GPs due to the fact that as the PCT will be abolished the GPs will not have any back-up – this also applies to the hospitals with only the foundation trusts getting the go ahead. Eastbourne hospital is one of the hospitals on the cqc hit list and could already face closure. What will the GPs do then – our nearest hospital will be either uckfield or brighton?” – Laura Ruddy, Eastbourne