The winners of the General Practice Awards 2018 were revealed at an awards ceremony on Friday, 30 November at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London hotel.
The awards celebrated their 10th anniversary last year and recognised the hard work and innovation of general practice teams and individuals.
The Practice Manager of the Year award went to Teresa Chapman, practice manager at Parchmore Medical Centre in Croydon.
Deputy Editor Angela Sharda speaks to Ms Chapman about the positive impact she has had on patients, the practice and area in which she works.
Q. How do you feel about winning this award?
I feel very proud to have been nominated for this award by our senior partner and was surprised on the night to hear that I had been selected. I am very proud of our practice and its achievements and I feel grateful to be part of such an amazing team.
Q. Why do you think the judges chose you as the winner?
I understand I was selected for the positive impact that I have had on patients, the practice and the local area. The nomination showed evidence of outcomes that demonstrated strategic leadership skills as the lead manager in transforming our practice.
Q. How have you overcome any challenges you’ve been presented with?
We were in a challenging position following funding cuts and the loss of three GP partners.
Doing nothing was not an option so we needed to transform for survival. Multiple innovations needed to be driven simultaneously new ways of working, like daily peer review meetings to support all GPs, group consultations and developing community activities for patients.
This was done by investing to save in developing and diversifying the team, streamlining processes, reducing GP workload, GP recruitment and reduced locum use leading to better continuity of care and financial recovery and stability. There were many challenges along the way, but we have built a committed team, including an active patient participation group (PPG) , with different strengths who have all contributed to our successes. I always focus on the positives, keep the end goals in sight and never give up.
Q. Do you think we need more awards to recognise achievement in primary care?
I think it is always good to recognise achievement in the NHS as it gives a real boost to the teams and improves morale in the sector.
Practice managers in particular are not always recognised for the hard work and commitment that is required to provide good services for patients and support the practice team against a background for financial pressures, recruitment problems, increasing patient demands and bureaucracy.
Q. What motivates you to do the work that you do?
I love my job and I enjoy the variety and being able to make changes in a timely fashion.
I also like finding new ways to solve challenges, quality improvement, mentoring and leading a team to success.
Q. What does the NHS most need from its leaders at the moment?
I think priority needs to be given to improving leadership at every level and the right workforce with optimal capacity and capability to deliver what is needed now and with the changes envisaged in the NHS long term.
Transformational leadership is needed to inspire the workforce to innovate, embrace change and shape the future success of the NHS.
More revolution than evolution is needed to make best use of the additional resource envisaged in the NHS long term plan.
Q. Will the NHS long term plan help NHS leaders achieve careers goals?
The long term plan acknowledges the need for developing ‘great leadership’ and hopefully the actions should contribute to a better leadership culture although more detail is needed.
Q. What changes would you like to see in the primary care sector?
I would like to see more of the additional funding being directed to primary care and general practice in particular as it has been underfunded for many years. This will allow time and head space for innovation and to introduce new ways of working.
Working collaboratively in primary care networks around defined populations together with community services, pharmacists, local authorities and others will help GP practices become more resilient and sustainable, while providing a more personalised service to manage more patients at home rather than being admitted to hospital.
The focus needs to continue to be on prevention, self-care, self -management and lifestyle changes to move towards better health.
While embracing the digital revolution will be great when it arrives, the pressing issue for general practice now is the slow and crumbling physical IT infrastructure to carry out the everyday basic business let alone interoperability with other partners’ IT systems in and out of hospital. Particular emphasis needs to be given to address the primary care workforce crisis especially GPs and practice nurses as well as non-clinical staff.
Teresa Chapman is a practice manager at Parchmore Medical Centre in Croydon