After a motion that practice managers should be represented on local medical committees (LMCs) at last week’s LCM conference, Management in Practice spoke to one committee that has already implemented a more representative model.
The proposal, which said practice managers, practice nurses and non-clinical staff members should be included on LMCs, was proposed by Mid Mersey LMC to be debated at the conference of England LMC representatives on Friday (22 November), but was not picked for discussion.
‘An invaluable asset to the team’
Nigel Watson, Wessex LMC’s chief executive, says he’s surprised by this ‘lack of engagement’ from LMCs with practice managers.
‘[Wessex LMC] decided some years ago that if we’re looking at general practice not only from the delivery of clinical care but also running a business, then practice managers were critical to that,’ he says.
Wessex LMC has had practice managers sitting on its committees for the past ten years. ‘We have two on each of our three committees,’ explains Mr Watson. ‘They’re an invaluable asset to the team.
‘Pre-2004, when we used the red book, many GPs were aware of the financial situation of the practice. Now there is a lot more business stuff to deal with that is solely sorted by practice managers. This obviously means that their contribution to LMC debates is really valued and required.’
Raising the importance of practice managers
Currently, there is a statutory obligation for LMCs to represent GPs but there is no obligation to represent other groups.
The motion made by Mid Mersey LMC hoped to change this.
Mr Watson said he was pleased the motion was made, because ‘it raises the importance of practice managers, which [Wessex LMC] has always been aware of.
‘I’m very happy it’s being discussed and that the whole workings of practice managers are being raised and spoken about in the open’.
Wessex LMC also provides support and education to practice managers, which Mr Watson says is ‘working well’. The service offers courses and has former practice managers available to help out and work at practices for short periods of time.