Stress forces many practice managers out

An increasing number of practice managers are taking sick leave or resigning because of workload pressures, GP leaders have warned.

Dr Nigel Watson: every practice is under pressure
Dr Nigel Watson: every practice is under pressure

Somerset LMC deputy medical secretary Dr Barry Moyse said the LMC had been 'shocked by the number of calls it has received from practice managers, and the numbers taking sick leave or even resigning'.

Wessex LMCs' chief executive, Dr Nigel Watson, said he had seen a similar increase locally, and believed it was a national issue. 'I think that every practice is facing the same pressures,' he said.

Writing in Somerset LMC's October newsletter, Dr Moyse said practice managers often lacked support. 'Too many GPs are too busy to help and support their managers.'

Dr Moyse said that many GPs had been able to address their own work-life balance because they were often able to switch to part-time working. However, GP reported earlier this year that LMCs had seen a sharp rise in GPs suffering from stress and depression (GP, 15 February).

Dr Watson said the workloads of practice managers were increasing because of CQC registration and commissioning responsibilities. 'When the administrative burden increases, a lot of it falls on to the practice manager,' he said.

'I think it's very easy to focus on the clinical and administrative burden and not see the person behind that who is dealing with it,' he added.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said he was not surprised by reports of practice managers taking sick leave or resigning. 'Practice managers have had to absorb an avalanche of work in recent years,' he said.

Tom Brownlie, chief executive of the Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR), said: 'AMSPAR has been arguing against duplication of work for both CQC registration and revalidation.

'It would also help if practice managers were given fuller roles on CCGs so their knowledge and expertise could be taken on board at the earliest opportunity.'

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