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General Practice Managers Vocational Training Scheme

The Practice Managers Vocational Training Scheme (VTS) commenced as a joint initiative between NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and the Institute of Healthcare Management (IHM) in 2005. Since that time, the programme has changed significantly and is currently accredited for 80 level 9 credits by The University of the West of Scotland (UWS). One hundred and seventy GP Practice Managers have completed the programme since its inception.

The programme is funded by NES. Participants are new and aspiring Practice Managers from across Scotland and they must commit to at least seven hours of private study per week. The ethos of the programme is to develop and equip trainees to become strategic business managers capable of assessing the Practice’s internal and external environments and leading effective change. Participants continue to work in their own Practice throughout the programme and are paired (as geographically close as possible) with an experienced Practice Manager Educational Facilitator (Trainer).

Each participant is allocated a CPD award to fund their accreditation and assessment costs.  The Practice may incur some costs e.g. in supporting the participant’s travel costs in meeting up with their Facilitator.


The Programme

The Practice Managers VTS is a highly interactive, participative programme that uses a blended learning approach. The programme has substantially changed over the years and is reviewed annually to ensure it meets the current NHS Scotland agenda.

The programme uses work based learning supported by  residential central study days and regular facilitated learning sessions (tutorials). Successful applicants will also be asked to complete comprehensive pre-course work between mid-July and September. Residential taught days will usually be held at the Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel. NES funds associated travel and subsistence according to NES policies.

Participants will be matched to a NES Practice Manager Educational Facilitator who will introduce the participant to the work based style of learning and meet with the key members of the practice team.

The programme continues with flexible facilitated learning sessions, these can be held weekly, fortnightly or monthly. The participant can expect to receive up to 8 hours of learning / month, except over holiday periods. This maybe all face to face, or partly by telephone or by other methods such as Skype, VC etc. These individually tailored sessions ensure that the programme meets the individual participant’s needs.

There are 6 residential learning events and it is essential that trainees attend these dates however in exceptional and unforeseen circumstances NES will help provide any missed essential learning. At the time of applying potential participants must be able to attend the full programme of events.


Assessment Process

Learning will be assessed by a variety of methods and includes:

• A 2,500 word management report, critically reflecting on the individual’s role in the practice - in the context of Scottish Healthcare Policy

• A work based project and management report of 5,000 words exploring a Practice redesign / quality improvement initiative of benefit to patients

• A personal learning portfolio which includes a structured reflective component (3,000 words).



Participants must hold a supervisory or management role within General Practice and normally they should work for 20 hours / week to access sufficient learning opportunities to complete the programme successfully. Applicants should have the support and commitment of their Practice in order to be accepted on to the programme.


Practice Support

The practice environment must meet acceptable standards, and provide an educational setting which supports learning opportunities and the participant’s educational experience.

Practice support is essential. Applicants are advised to discuss their application with their GP Sponsor and Practice Manager (if applicable) in the first instance to ensure they are eligible.

In order to be eligible for the PMVTS, the applicant must supervise/manage staff and during the course of the training year be provided with opportunities to be involved in strategic decision making and business and financial management of the practice.

The practice must identify a GP Sponsor whom the participant’s Educational Facilitator will communicate with and who will provide encouragement, feedback and guidance to the participant. The GP Sponsor should support the participant, ensuring their access to the necessary experience to undertake the programme.


Application Process

Applications for Cohort 15 have now closed.  

To request information regarding Cohort 16 which will commence in September 2020 please complete the form at https://response.questback.com/nhseducationforscotland/hont3nfzf4


For any enquiries please don’t hesitate to contact us at practice.manager@nes.scot.nhs.uk 


Further information is available from

Tracey Crickett

National Coordinator

Scottish Practice Management Development Network

NHS Education for Scotland

89 Hydepark Street, 3rd Floor

2 Central Quay,

Glasgow G3 8BW



Feedback from past trainees

  • "On a daily basis within the practice I have greater confidence and feel I can delegate tasks to other colleagues with greater authority thanks to the PMVTS"
  • "I thoroughly enjoyed the experience especialy meeting up with my peers and learning and sharing our own experiences. The course gave me confidence in my own abilities and helped me grow as both a PM and a team member"
  • "Being new to management I feel the content of the course, tutorials from my trainer and NES have given me a good solid foundation for my future in General Practice"

This page was last updated on: 11.09.2019 at 13.17