Dental Practice Managers are vital to the successful running of dental practices. You’ll manage the business aspect of the surgery, making sure that patients are at the centre of the surgery’s operations. Dental Practice Managers will work with a variety of staff who work from or are based within the practice.
Becoming a Practice Manager
To enter a career in practice management, you would typically be an accomplished manager, bringing both day-to-day management skills as well as a strategic perspective. Qualifications and experience required will vary, but you’ll usually need a management qualification, and a proven experience of motivating people.
What the role involves
You will be involved in a wide range of activities, including:
- business planning
- handling financial systems for the practice, including payroll
- selecting, training and supervising non-clinical staff
- developing and supervising appointment systems that work well for patients and clinicians
- ensuring accurate records are kept, and liaising with local health organisations such as clinical commissioning groups
- developing strategies for the practice on issues such as computer systems and security, expanding or changing services, and long-term services
Find out more about the skills and qualities required, the management qualifications required, the pay and conditions, opportunities for continuing professional development and much more below.
For a career in primary care practice management, you’ll need a variety of skills and qualities, typically including:
- excellent financial skills
- the ability to manage a changing environment
- good communication skills
- leadership and motivational skills
- organisational skills
- a willingness to work with others and respect their views
- confidence with information technology
- negotiating skills
- the ability to challenge the way things are and find better alternatives
- honesty and fairness in dealing with other people
- a commitment to the ideals of quality and fairness in delivering healthcare.
If you’re applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services you’ll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work.
The NHS values form a key part of the NHS Constitution.
People enter practice management from a variety of backgrounds. Experience of managing in a healthcare environment is often required or preferred. As a practice manager, you’re usually required to hold a relevant qualification – either the Certificate/Diploma in Primary Care and Health Management awarded by the Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists or the Vocational Training Scheme for General Practice Managers – awarded by the Institute of Healthcare Management.
Certificate/Diploma in Primary Care and Health Management
The DPHCM is open to existing managers and potential managers in a health or social care environment. You must be educated to level 3 standard and should have a background that will enable you to benefit from the programme.
In order to be able to take the programme, you need to 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:
- managing medical ethics and legal requirements
- financial management and budgeting
- managing information and communication
- leading teams
- developing or improving services.
There are also optional units on topics including the manager as a critical thinker; becoming an effective leader and managing recruitment.
Vocational Training Scheme for General Practice Managers (VTSGPM)
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:
- managing your enterprise
- personal & team effectiveness
- primary care, finance, data management & information strategy
- quality and regulation in primary care
- introduction to commissioning
- medical terminology for practice managers.
Practice managers may be employed on NHS terms and conditions or on those of private employers and other organisations. Pay will depend on a number of factors including the employer, location, size of practice and precise role and responsibilities.
For practice managers, salaries may range from between £30,000 and £50,000 per year. Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales. This pay system covers all staff except doctors, dentists and the most senior managers. Practice managers employed on NHS terms and conditions could be on a salary of between AfC band 5 (if working in a small practice or as an assistant practice manager, for instance) and 8b.
e-Den is an engaging and interactive learning resource delivered through a partnership between the Royal College of Surgeons of England, through a partnership between the Royal College of Surgeons of England and Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare.
The e-Den curriculum is designed to realise a competent, caring, reflective practitioner, able to develop their career in any branch of dentistry. It also supports the continual professional development (CPD) for dental care professionals and experienced dentists.
Sessions have been written by subject specialists and are typically 20 minutes long. Users can dip in and out of the sessions as they wish. The e-learning materials have been split into 12 modules covering broad subject areas. As a learner you can plan and record your learning and work through any module that is relevant to your training needs, in any order you choose.
The aim is to provide an engaging and interactive learning resource that is compatible with a busy professional life.
Find out more about e-Den at www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/dentistry.
It is important that you continue to learn and develop to keep your skills and knowledge up to date and ensure you continue to work safely, legally and effectively.
There are many learning activities that you can take part in such as:
- on-the-job learning
- courses and workshops
- computer-based learning
Depending on your precise role, you may be required to maintain your professional registration, through continuing professional development (CPD). The Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR) and the Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM) provide CPD opportunities for members to maintain their registration.
This is a comprehensive diploma for people who are managing primary care and are becoming responsible for creating and running primary care provision at scale including primary care networks, new care models, GP super practices and GP or other primary care federations.
Read more about the Diploma in Advanced Primary Care Management
The curriculum will incorporate the learning and experience of multispecialty community providers (MCPs), integrated primary and acute care systems (PACS) and primary care homes.
What you can expect
- A practical, ‘how to’, focused, service development and business management training diploma
- Learn from current primary care at scale developments
- Qualifications – equivalent to 60 credits (20 per module) at postgraduate level. On completion of the diploma, students may apply to study for HFMA’s Diploma and Higher Diploma which provides a pathway to a full MBA (subject to programme validation)
- Network learning
- Diploma alumni to continue sharing learning and best practice
A range of bursary options available
NHS England North Region is one area offering funding support for the diploma to NHS staff working in general practice within the north region as part of the national General Practice Forward View (GPFV) support for practice management development.
They are offering a bursary for a third of the cost of the diploma (£1,120 including VAT). This contribution to the fee requires the written support of the local clinical commissioning group (CCG) and the candidate’s practice. NHS England North is looking for the CCG to also provide one third of the diploma fee, with the candidate or their practice paying the remaining third.
The funding is being offered as development of at scale working between and across primary care, the establishment of primary care homes within an accountable care system, will be of benefit to the NHS, the local care system, patients and primary care. The diploma supports practice managers to acquire the knowledge, skills and qualifications to become leaders within a transformed model of primary care provision.
The CCG and the candidate/general practice must commit in writing to paying their share of the fee. The funding is only available to people working for the NHS in general practice, ideally as practice or business managers.
Practice managers or CCGs who would like further information on the funding support available should contact their local NHS England office and speak to the relevant GPFV transformation manager leading practice management development in their area.
For information about other bursary options please contact Aislinn Santoni, Diploma Administrator, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Practice Managers Association (PMA) are providers of training, education and other support services for non-clinical workers in the primary care sector.
The PMA was founded to provide the non-clinical workforce in primary care with a comprehensive selection of self-development tools and support services. It has now reached a UK-wide membership of over 25,000 and is a constantly growing, vibrant community of both clinical and non-clinical members.
Find out more at the PMA website https://practicemanagersuk.org
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