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Developing the general practice manager role: managers’ experiences of engagement in continuing professional development

Introduction and aims This study sought to review the recent and future range of continuing professional development (CPD) activities undertakenby practice managers in the context of role expansion, to explore practice managers’perc eptions of the benefits of CPD and to identify practice managers’exp eriences of constraints and supports for engagement in CPD in the context of changing cultures for lifelong learning.Methods A formative, exploratory evaluation was conducted, utilising qualitative methods. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 16 randomly selected practice managers from general practices in the south east of England. Interviews were transcribed and content analysed using a structured framework.Results Practice managers’recent engagement in CPD covered a diverse range of educational topics. Future plans also reflected priority areas delineated in the new General Medical Services contract. Benefits of CPD were identified as enhancing skills, motivation, confidence, skill-mix, roles and improvement of patient services. Constraints to CPD engagement were negative attitudes, time pressures, lack of finance, and awareness of inclusivity in wider CPD policies. Role autonomy, a positive employer and trust attitudes to funding were supportive of CPD.Conclusions Insights into a transitional culture marked by resistance to lifelong learning alongside a drive for increased professionalism and engagement in CPD were present. Challenges still exist in overcoming constraints to CPD engagement and in ensuring that practice managers reach the potential for role expansion delineated in recent primary care policy changes.


Susan McLaren , Leslie Woods , Markella Boudioni , Ferew Lemma , Shan Rees , Janet Broadbent

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