letters: Practice managers

Published: 21/11/2002, Volume II2, No. 5832 Page 21

The letter on practice management gave a reasonably accurate description of the situation - as it was 10 years ago.

Clearly, the author has an interest in the future role of the practice manager and while his intention is commendable, this view is dated and blinkered.

It depicts the absolute reversal of the modern-day professional practice managers, thanks to breakthrough projects such as the Phoenix Agenda and excellent development programmes and qualifications such as the Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists practice managers' diploma. This nationally recognised qualification teaches how to be an efficient and effective practice manager. It follows on from other quality programmes such as healthcare supervisory development and leadership programmes, and forms part of the pathway to masters level through postgraduate certificates and diplomas.

All of these qualification programmes have helped to form strong links between practice managers, community managers and primary care trust 'third-inline' staff. As have the in-house development programmes which many PCTs initiated when they were primary care groups.

Many practice managers are represented on the PCT subcommittees and are being seconded onto PCT-wide projects - their knowledge tapped into at professional executive committee level.

Regular practice manager meetings at PCT and countywide level allow for excellent training and development opportunities, collaborative working and networking.

As for seeing the practice manager role as a useful career step on the road to the chief executive position, perhaps us 'low-status, middle-aged, middleclass, white females' with little knowledge of the wider NHS would be more suitably employed as management consultants.

Tracey Osborne Practice manager West Sussex primary care managers association chair West Sussex non-clinical training co-ordinator