Management in Practice is speaking to a series of PMs on the front-line about what being a practice manager means to them.
Reporter Valeria Fiore talks to Flynn Reid, practice manager at The Abingdon Surgery in Abingdon, Oxfordshire about the challenges practice management poses and the future of the profession.
Q. How has being a practice manager changed since you first started out in the profession?
There has been an increasing amount of pressure for practices to work together. I am not against this, but it is a complicated process that needs to be properly handled to work effectively.
Q. When did you begin as a practice manager and how did you get into the role to start with?
I have been a practice manager for three and a half years. Before moving into practice management, I worked as a contracts manager in a commercial company for eight years, following a career in the RAF. Both my previous roles required me to move every two or three years, so I was looking for a more stable job. I looked at practice manager and school business manager roles as I felt that thanks to my previous experience, I had the right skills required to tackle those jobs.
Q. What would you say are the biggest challenges of being a practice manager today?
The scale of work is vast and I suspect all PMs ‘carve up’ the workload in different fashions. The biggest challenge is not to end up doing everything and to trust your staff to carry out their delegated work.
Q. What do practice managers need most in terms of support?
Competent staff that PMs can rely on to carry out their work with minimal supervision. PMs need to concentrate on running the business and maximising revenue from all the various sources.
I depend on my staff to carry out the routine day-to-day tasks and I believe it is vital to reward and retain valuable members of staff.
Q. What do you find most rewarding about being a practice manager?
Being in control of a thriving business and trusted to make decisions within the set parameters. I get satisfaction from problem solving.
Q. How do you see the future of practice management?
I suspect practices will need to work together as federations or super practices, for instance. This should/could result in sharing back office functions and the formation of sub teams looking at finance, HR, document management and other issues. I can see a PM being in charge of business and back office functions for several practices, with a day manager responsible for the running of an individual practice.
Q. What do you think you would be doing today if you were not a practice manager?
I would be a school business manager.
Q. The practice manager role is forever evolving. If you could choose your dream team, what would that look like and which professions would it include?
If PMs end up running several practices, in addition to the normal reception team, I would like a management accountant, HR specialist and handyman. It would be nice to have a clinical pharmacist, physio, clinical psychologist alongside usual nurse and GP team. These ‘extra’ specialists would be shared across practices that are part of the same neighbourhood.
Flynn Reid is practice manager at The Abingdon Surgery in Abingdon, Oxfordshire