Paula Elliott has been a practice manager for more than 18 years and is a fountain of knowledge and a great teacher. Paula has a special and personal interest in LGBTQ+ and has hugely supported the team at Brimington Surgery in Chesterfield in achieving the Pride in Practice Gold award.

She recently won the PMA Primary Care Network Manager of the Year 2021 Award. 

How do you start your day?
ALWAYS with coffee!

More importantly though – before that – on arrival at the practice, I make sure I say hi to both the admin and the patient support (reception) teams – ours are separate. I let them know that I’m available for them (or not if I have meetings) if they need me!

I then head up to the very quiet top floor where there is only the staff and training rooms and the two management offices.
A quick catch up with our fabulous Assistant Manager Chelsea and then fire up the computer – if she has not already done that for me, which most of the time she has!

No two days are the same. But what does a typical day look like for you?
Emails, emails, emails!

The volume of these is all encompassing and whilst no two days are the same, this never changes!

Nowadays a typical day is computer bound – some days I really don’t know what I’ve been doing all day, but I know that I haven’t made time to leave my chair or even nip to the loo or have my second cup of valued coffee! NOT good practice.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
My Practice is FABULOUS and this is not due to me; I can only take credit for attempting to keep it that way over the past 4 years.
We are very strong on teamwork and we all value this above everything else.

We are always up for a challenge eg – registering as a Veteran Friendly practice, holding the Council’s Dignity Award and obtaining the Gold award from the LGBTQ+ Foundation.

Everyone is always on board striving to make the patient journey better and to look after each other.
I believe that if I didn’t work here I would definitely have left the NHS by now!

What has been the biggest challenge of the pandemic?
Keeping morale up – I think we have managed to maintain this throughout the general fatigue that has encompassed us – through mutual support; remote quizzes, online murder mysteries and other COVID safe activities.

Just keeping up with the COVID rule changes and the (often but not always) unreasonable patient expectations.

How do you relax and recharge?
I am an obsessive colourer (is that even a word?) but always have been – the rest of the world is just catching up with me!

I have a regular weekend online chat with a PM colleague to mutually off load and for co-coaching which we call our “bed to bed” – as it is usually first thing in the morning before we attempt to get up!

I try and go walking as I live on the edge of the Peak District, I attempt to grow veg in our garden and I do love spending time with our cats – Roo, 19, and Hades, 1.