Practice Managers are responsible for the smooth and efficient running of local GPs' surgeries, dental practices, or health centres. They deal with all aspects apart from clinical ones.
They manage reception and clerical staff, organise patients' records and appointments systems, manage finance, plan and manage change, and are responsible for health and safety.
Also known as
- Manager, GP Practice
- Practice Manager
- GP Practice Manager
- Dental Practice Manager
Practice Managers provide and manage the financial, administrative and support functions that are needed for the efficient running of General Practitioners' (GPs') surgeries, dental practices, and health centres.
Practice Managers work closely with different healthcare professionals (for example, General Practitioners, Dentists and Nurses).
You could be responsible for areas such as:
- non-clinical staff management
- finance and budgets
- IT systems and information management
- strategic business planning
- buildings, equipment and supplies
- recruitment and staffing levels
- health and safety
- improvements to patient services
- staff training
- marketing and publicity
- management of some clinical staff such as Practice Nurses
Practice Managers are responsible for the use of IT technology in general practice, including practice websites, and electronic health records and appointments.
You might be involved in surgery development - either new building or renovation - to make sure the building's facilities can cope with the demands of additional services.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Practice Manager, you'll need to be able to:
- adapt to many different situations and challenges
- perform well under considerable pressure
- build good relationships with a wide variety of people
- manage people, resources and projects
- make informed decisions and take responsibility for them
- solve problems and deliver results
- prioritise tasks
- deal with many different types of task in quick succession
- demonstrate determination, motivation and commitment
- manage change and be able to work in a continually changing political context
- analyse and present complex information
- keep information confidential
- delegate tasks to staff members
- use your initiative
Pay and Opportunities
NHS employees are paid on a rising scale within defined pay bands, according to their skills and responsibilities.
- Starting: Band 5 pay of £23,023 - £29,608
- With experience: Band 8b pay of £49,242 - £59,964
Hours of work
Practice Managers usually work 37 and a half hours a week, with late finishes and weekend work when necessary.
Where could I work?
Employers are GP or dental practices in cities, towns and some villages all around the country. Most are part of the NHS, but there are a few private GP and dental practices.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised on the NHS Jobs website, on specialist job boards, in local/national newspapers, on Find a Job and at Jobcentre Plus. The Graduate Management Training Scheme is advertised each year for online application through its website.
Entry Routes and Training
A small number of universities offer relevant degree courses in health services management, health studies, and health and social care.
Some Practice Managers have gained skills as a member of administrative staff at the practice, and enter through promotion. You might have gained experience as a Deputy or Assistant Practice Manager. Some might have entered through the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme and then gained skills in NHS management. Others have been managers in other areas of business or the public sector.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
An Advanced Level Apprenticeship is also a great place to start. Take a look at our information article
Newly-appointed Practice Managers might be able to take part in a mentor scheme, where you are guided by an experienced Manager in another practice.
Many new Practice Managers work towards the AMSPAR/City & Guilds level 5 diploma in primary care and health management, if you do not already have this qualification. AMSPAR is the Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists.
The diploma covers:
- managing medical ethics and legal requirements in a primary care and health environment - for example, health and safety and patient data
- financial management and budgeting in a primary care and health environment
- managing information and communication in a primary care and health environment
- leading teams
- developing or improving services in a primary care or health environment
- managing recruitment
- managing for efficiency and effectiveness
- developing critical thinking
- becoming an effective leader
The Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM) offers the vocational training scheme for general practice managers (VTSGPM) which is accredited at level 5 (undergraduate diploma) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is a part-time programme covering all aspects of management and policy application.
Experienced and qualified Practice Managers can progress to larger practices, management in other parts of the NHS, or management outside the NHS (in the public or private sector). Some Practice Managers can become Partners in the practice; this is likely to become more common in the future.
Previous experience working in a customer care role would be really useful for this career.
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
Working as a Practice Manager is an exception to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must supply information to an employer about any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, if they ask you to. This is different from other careers, where you only have to reveal information on unspent convictions if you are asked to.
Practice Managers enter with a wide range of qualifications, depending on their additional skills and experience. Many have a degree or a postgraduate qualification such as a MBA (Master of Business Administration).
The NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme requires entrants to have at least a 2:2 degree in any subject, a postgraduate qualification or an accepted degree-level health/management qualification.
The usual entry requirements for a degree in any subject are:
- 2/3 A levels
- GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects
You are likely to need GCSE English and maths at grade C/4 or above. For some relevant degrees such as economics, you are likely to need A level maths.
Alternatives to A levels include:
- BTEC level 3 qualifications
- the International Baccalaureate Diploma
To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Many managers join the NHS with experience from outside the health service. Some practice managers have no formal qualifications, but have worked in the sector.
Existing staff in the NHS, and graduates, can apply for the Graduate Management Training Scheme. Entry requirements are a minimum 2:2 degree in any subject or an acceptable equivalent professional qualification in a health or management-related discipline.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree course, a college or university Access course could be the way in.
These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.
The Open University offers a Leadership and Management unit as part of its Health and Social Care degree.
The Diploma in Primary Care and Health Management is available to study, by a mixture of distance learning and in-house classes, at a number of institutions.
- 25% of Practice Managers work part-time.
- 16% of employees work on a temporary basis.
City & Guilds
Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD
Tel: 020 7294 2468
NHS Wales Careers
Publisher: National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare
Step into the NHS
Tel: 0345 6060655
Skills for Health
Skills for the health sector
Address: Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP
Tel: 0117 9221155
Open University (OU)
Tel: 0845 3006090
Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR)
Tel: 020 7387 6005
NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme
Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM)
Address: John Snow House, 59 Mansell Street, London E1 8AN
Tel: 020 7265 7321
NHS Scotland Graduate Management Training Scheme
Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 028 4844
People Exchange Cymru (PEC)
Public sector recruitment portal for Wales