Practice manager

Practice managers are vital to the successful running of GP surgeries. You'll manage the business and operational aspects of the surgery, making sure that patients are at the centre. 

A general practice (GP) surgery is a patient's first and most frequent point of contact with the NHS and you'll be responsible for its smooth running. You could have a team of ten GPs and other clinical staff, with as many as 20,000 registered patients.

Life as a general practice manager

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 Integrated Care Boards (ICBs), Primary Care Networks (PCNs)
  • developing strategies for the practice on issues such as computer systems and security, expanding or changing services, and long-term services

Angela Paice

Business manager
The NHS has supported me 100 per cent throughout my career and I have had plenty of training opportunities.

How much can I earn?

Terms and conditions vary for practice managers. Most are employed directly by the partners of the practice but some practices run on Agenda for Change (AfC) terms and conditions. 

Your pay and conditions of employment are determined by a number of different factors. These include the number of patients registered with the practice, the number of sites it operates from, and your level of responsibility within the management structure.

How about the benefits:

  • make a difference
  • flexible and part-time working
  • excellent pension scheme
  • good holiday entitlement
  • NHS discounts in shops and restaurants

Must-have skills

You'll need:

  • 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

Entry requirements

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. You could enter from a range of different backgrounds and don't necessarily need to be a qualified healthcare professional.

Qualifications and experience required will vary, but you’ll usually need a management qualification, and a proven experience of motivating people.  Experience of working in the NHS/general practice experience can be an advantage. Relevant training courses for practice managers are offered by a number of organisations. You'll find more details on this page with links to websites for further information.

How to become a general practice manager

The exact requirements for individual practice manager vacancies can be found in the job descriptions and person specifications used to advertise job vacancies. 

Visit the websites of these organisations for further information about a career in practice management: 

And check out the Skills for Health website and the NHS Leadership Academy for information about apprenticeships in general practice and other areas of primary care.

Where a career as a general practice manager can take you

With further training and experience, you will be able to develop your career in a number of directions, depending on how your practice is set up. You could work in a management role within your Primary Care Network (PCN), or get involved in the work of your local integrated care board (ICB), looking at the care needs of a bigger population.  

Your employer may also offer you the opportunity to become a managing partner. 

To help you progress, you could study for management qualifications, such as an MBA or a postgraduate qualification specific to general practice.  

You could also work towards accreditation and gain professional status through organisations such as the Institute of General Practice Management

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