Practice managers, deputy practice managers and assistant practice managers work within the primary care sector, where they manage the overall running of general practices (GP surgeries). Practice managers come from a variety of backgrounds and do not necessarily need to be a qualified healthcare professional.
Practice managers will usually be required to hold a relevant qualification such as the Certificate/Diploma in Primary Care and Health Management (DPCHM) awarded by the Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR) in conjunction with City and Guilds; or the Vocational Training Scheme for General Practice Managers (VTSGPM) - awarded by the Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM).
Details of exact requirements for individual practice manager vacancies can be found in the person specifications attached to job vacancies on the NHS Jobs website.
The DPHCM is open to existing managers and potential managers in a health or social care environment. Candidates must be educated to level 3 standard and should have a background that will enable them to benefit from the programme.
In order to be able to take the programme, candidates should be recommended by an appropriate employer and accepted by a recognised centre following interview.
The programme is included in the Qualifications and Credit Framework at level 5 and is provided by a number of AMSPAR/City and Guilds -approved centres.
The course contains modules covering the following topics in a primary care and health environment:
There are also optional units on topics including the manager as a critical thinker; becoming an effective leader and managing recruitment.
For further details of the DCPHM and to search for AMSPAR/City and Guilds approved centres, visit the AMSPAR website
The VTSGPM is delivered on a part time basis over a period of 36 weeks, using a blended learning model. This includes 1 full day of face to face teaching every two weeks and extra independent study in between. Guided study materials are provided and candidates are supported by appropriately qualified tutors both during attendance and distance learning processes of email, structured email tutorials, and telephone contact.
The course covers six key topics:
For details of the VTS for General Practice Managers, visit the IHM website. A list of approved centres can be found on the IHM website by clicking here
AMSPAR has also produced a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Pack for AMSPAR members as well as non-members. Details of are available from the AMSPAR website at www.amspar.co.uk.
Job roles in this area of management would usually include the following examples.
Practice manager. Typically, this would be an opportunity for an accomplished manager, bringing both day-to-day management skills as well as a strategic perspective, for one or more partner medical practices. The exact qualifications and experience required would vary, but a management qualification would usually be required, along with a proven experience of motivating people. Such a post would usually combine personnel administration, payroll, finance, strategic planning and IT skills. NHS/general practice experience would often be preferred. Being a practice manager would necessitate a head for finance and an ability to manage in a changing environment.
Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR)
Tavistock House North
Tel: 020 7387 6005
Fax: 020 7388 2648
Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM)
18-21 Morley Street
Tel: 0207 620 1030
Fax: 0207 620 1040