It is safe to say that 2020 (as I naively joked a year ago – “the year of perfect vision”) turned out to be a year no-one could have anticipated. As I reflect back over that last 12 months, I can clearly remember the many difficulties that everyone has had to deal with, both individually and within our industry. However, my abiding memory is one of immense pride. I am so proud of everyone in general practice for everything they have achieved, and continue to achieve, under extreme pressure, and for the most part completely unnoticed.
I am relieved to say that I am not a Practice Manager and that I do not work in general practice, but as my job involves working with practices I am constantly reminded of just how great you and your teams are. I admire so many of your traits, but none more so than your endurance, adaptability, and strength in the face of adversity. I (possibly quite deludedly) consider myself to be a good manager; in terms of both people and problem solving, but I know for certain I would not have what it takes (even in normal times) to be a good Practice Manager!
How you cope with the incessant updates and quite often contradictory guidance from the multitude of ‘acronyms’ that (sometimes blindly) dictate your direction I will never know. I am in the very fortunate position of being able to put a day aside every week to read up on the latest said ‘acronyms’ as well as catching up on other industry news, and even then I often struggle to keep up with the reading, never mind then having to arrange/attend meetings with your teams, PCNs, Partners, CCGs or Federations to revise or develop policies and procedures which you are then responsible for implementing. It’s mind blowing!
2020 was an extraordinary year for practices and sadly 2021 is not showing any early signs of relenting. Quite the opposite! I recently read that an estimated 50%-60% of managers are considering moving out of their roles and leaving general practice. This saddens and concerns me because you are a rare, extraordinary breed and if anywhere near half that number were to leave, within a short period I can all but guarantee that Primary Care would come to a crashing halt.
I might be naïve but I do not believe the figures, and whilst I am not disputing their reliability I believe that even the best Practice Managers underestimate their levels of endurance, adaptability, and strength in the face of adversity and that most will see this through!
For far too long, you have worked in the shadows, unappreciated, and at the frontline of every challenge. It is time that you, your colleagues, your practice team, and your peers were recognised for the vital, irreplaceable, incredibly difficult, and ultimately life-saving work that you do! That is why, with the help and inspiration of more than a few amazing Practice Managers, and the support of some excellent companies that aim to serve general practice, we have put together the Hidden Heroes initiative. We want to identify and celebrate your outstanding achievements during the pandemic and the many, many unsung heroes working in general practice.
Let us know who you believe deserves some long overdue recognition.
Nominations can be made for an individual, a practice team, or supporting body working in general practice and can be submitted here: https://www.hidden-heroes.co.uk/
We are looking forward to reading your entries!
I would like to end simply by saying thank you to all of you. The work you do is appreciated by those who know what you do. We have always been proud to support that and never more so than now.
Author: Craig Arnott, Commercial Director of Dene Healthcare