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Devon practice managers rated among best in the country

​Tr​acy Green (above, left) and Claire Oatway are among the most inspiring practice managers in England
Two high-flying managers at GP practices in Devon have been rated among the top 20 most inspiring in the country.

Tracy Green at Cricketfield Surgery in Newton Abbot and Claire Oatway at Plymouth and Ivybridge’s Beacon Medical Group were praised by the national Management in Practice journal for their groundbreaking work in making a real difference to patients’ lives.

It’s the first time the publication has compiled a list of influential practice managers, and it says it has “delved behind the scenes to uncover the people who are going the extra mile”.

Tracy is at number 7 in the list. She is praised by the journal for increasing patient satisfaction scores at Cricketfield by 5 percent during 2015/16, reducing the number of complaints, and creating early morning appointments for patients.

She has also helped to improve patients’ access to medical staff by introducing a multi-disciplinary team that provides pre-bookable and on-the-day appointments, along with increased telephone appointments for routine follow-ups. 

Tracy said: “I am delighted to have been chosen within this group of inspiring managers and feel quite humbled to have been recognised for doing a challenging and rewarding job.

“I am proud to be part of Cricketfield Surgery as we work towards the highest standards. We really care about our patients, and we will continue to monitor our performance to identify where we can improve, because we believe in continuous improvement. 

“We are sharing lots on social media and are using the practice website to enhance patient communication. Our latest initiative is an iPad for immediate patient feedback in our reception area. I’d urge patients to use this when they visit us, so their feedback can be shared with the team.”

Claire is at 16 on the list. Beacon is a super-practice, caring for 33,000 patients, and Claire has involved the practice with partners such as Devon Partnership NHS Trust, which provides a wide range of NHS services to people with mental health and learning disability needs.

This collaboration resulted in the funding of a psychiatric liaison professional at the practice to help provide additional support for people with mental health needs.

Claire said: “It’s a huge honour to be included in the list, especially as we’ve only existed as Beacon for three years.

“General practice is one of the most satisfying environments I’ve worked in. Every single day I feel like we’re making a difference – even if sometimes it’s just a small one.

“In the past three years we’ve changed so much and grown – bringing in new services, opening up even more access for patients, and working more with our community than ever before. The nomination is a great validation of the work we’ve been doing together as a practice, and with our partners and patients.”

The majority of GP practices across Devon are higher than the national average for positive patient experience. Most have a ‘good’ rating from the Care Quality Commission, with some rated as ‘outstanding’.

Dr Nick Roberts, chief officer for South Devon and Torbay & NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “We are very proud of the work our practice managers do across Devon, and to have two in the top 20 nationally is testament to their tireless enthusiasm for patients’ care. They are a reflection of all the good work going on in practices across the county.

“GP practices are facing many challenges today, and with professionals such as Tracy and Claire on the frontline, constantly coming up with new and better ways of dealing with these challenges, I feel Devon general practice is in very safe hands.”