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by Angela Sharda
22 August 2018

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The PM edit: Tracy Dell in her own words

Management in Practice is speaking to a series of PMs on the front-line about what being a practice manager means to them.
Deputy editor, Angela Sharda talks to Tracy Dell 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?
Over the last 15 years that I’ve been a PM I feel my role has become more strategic and business focused. Increased bureaucracy, reporting and monitoring requirements are in place. The drive towards working at scale is both exciting and challenging.
Q. When did you start as a practice manager and how did you get into the role?
In 2003, I worked at a sexual health centre in Halifax as a personal secretary for the clinical nurse specialist. I then went to work in the voluntary sector at the Brunswick Centre HIV and sexual health charity as an administrator. Then I went to work in Wigan & Leigh as a centre manager for Brook the young people’s contraception and advisory service.

Q.  What are the biggest challenges of being a practice manager today?
Having to keep our skills up to date around HR, finance, premises, patient services, IT and contracting/procurement is difficult. Dealing with so many income sources now us also proves to be a challenge.
Q. What do practice managers need most in terms of support and resources?
The support of GP partners is essential. Training, coaching and mentoring is vital to ensure PMs can continually develop and adapt to the changing NHS landscape and are able to run the practice.

Q.  What do you find most rewarding about being a practice manager?
No two days are ever the same in general and I love being a PM. Positive feedback from patients, delivering excellent care and seeing staff develop and learn new skills are the most rewarding parts of my job.

Q. How do you see the future of practice management? 
I  think practices will merge or work more collaboratively together and new roles will emerge. Practice business managers will work at a strategic level, services/operations managers will deal with day–to-day management and supervisors/team leaders will coordinate departments.

Q.  What do you think you would be doing today if you were not a practice manager?
I would have been in the Police or a teacher if I hadn’t have become a PM.

Q.  The practice manager role is forever evolving. If you could choose your dream team, what would it look like? 
 I already have my dream team as I am extremely lucky to work with the most amazing people. We have a wide range of clinicians: GPs, advanced clinical practitioners, locums, nurses and a practice assistant. Our management and admin team are skilled, experienced and versatile.
Tracy Dell is a practice manager for the Plane Trees Group Practice