The ‘PM supporter’ scheme recruited six experienced and working practice managers across the region to deal with requests for help. They can be contacted via email or telephone and the service is confidential.
Louise Greenwood, the education, training and development manager at Wessex LMCs, said they had aimed to create a service that ‘felt like getting advice from an impartial friend.’
The initiative was launched a year ago but is due to be extended since feedback has been so positive.
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Ms Greenwood said: ‘I joined the LMC nearly two years ago and was shocked by how many queries we were getting from practice managers finding life very difficult. So we wanted to think about ways to help.’
‘We receive all sorts of queries, from registration issues to payroll, governance queries or health and safety issues. The supporters are financed for two sessions per month and have different areas of expertise. They contact any new practice managers to introduce themselves and offer support, and have been trained to conduct appraisals on their peers if requested.’
Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMCs, told GPonline.com’s sister website Medeconomics that the situation was reaching crisis point: ‘There has been a slow and steady increase in practices finding the going tough as a result of money being squeezed.
‘But in the past two to three years there has been at least a 400% increase in the number of practice managers contacting the LMC for help and support because their jobs are so pressurised. We barely attend a meeting where practice managers don’t raise this as an issue.’