Following a call for practice managers to take an active role in looking after GPs, the most pressing question is who’s taking an interest in their wellbeing, writes Management in Practice’s editor in chief Beth Kennedy
It’s widely acknowledged among the general public that GPs are overworked and stressed out. In fact, concern is such that the BMA has called for employers of healthcare professionals to implement changes such as creating safe and healthy workspaces where staff and students can sleep and socialise, as well as developing a wellbeing strategy.
And the union the Medical Protection Society (MPS) last week called for practice managers to ‘play a role in driving culture change and insist that these doctors look after themselves better’ in a bid to take the burden off frazzled medics.
Unsurprisingly, Management in Practice readers found these comments to be frustrating, taking to social media to insist that, yes, while their GP colleagues might be feeling the strain, it’s no mean feat to be a practice manager during these difficult times, either.
Shocking results published in March from a survey by Management in Practice’s publisher Cogora revealed that a whopping 79% of practice manager respondents had suffered verbal abuse from patients in the past year, leading to greater stress levels and low morale. This percentage was more than twice as high as for the survey’s respondents as a whole – with the average percentage for written abuse across all professions – including GPs, pharmacists and practice nurses – being 18%.
It’s simply not fair to heap yet another burden onto practice managers’ already overloaded shoulders by expecting them to look after GPs – especially when they are already struggling themselves. After all, if practice managers are expected to look after GPs, who is looking after them?
Clearly, something has got to change. So Management in Practice is launching a new initiative to promote a better working culture for practice managers. The Wellbeing in Practice campaign, which starts today, will share tips on how to destress in and outside of work, find out how practice managers around the country de-frazzle in their spare time and share examples of how practices promote wellbeing among staff.
It won’t be easy to change the culture of overwork in general practice and it won’t happen overnight. But together we can start to make little changes to working life that can make all the difference.
We’d like to hear from you. Let us know how you practise wellbeing by using the hashtag #WellbeinginPractice on our Facebook and Twitter channels