Northumbria Primary Care’s at-scale model means that we need talented and passionate people to support our teams. With nine GP practices spread across Northumberland and North Tyneside, this is no easy task. That’s where our business support managers come in. They are responsible for ensuring our practices receive the support they need to deliver the highest level of care possible to patients. From improving operational performance through to people management, the role of a business support manager is a varied one.

Hannah Theobald is one of our business support managers and plays a vital role in the day-to-day operations of our practices. Having started behind the reception desk, Hannah has grown with Northumbria Primary Care and sharpened her skills in a number of roles across our organisation. We sat down with her to find out about her background, her ambitions and why she loves her job.

Hi Hannah, could you let us know a bit about your background?
I started my career in primary care as a receptionist at 49 Marine Avenue surgery. In total, I spent three years there, with Northumbria Primary Care taking over in the last year of my tenure. Eventually, I decided that I wanted a bit of a change, so moved in to a number of positions outside of the organisation. It was here that I was able to gain some experience as a medicines manager and admin lead.

What led you to come back to NPC?
After leaving, I think I realised quite quickly that NPC was where my heart was. I don’t think I was ever really able to settle in the other positions I pursued; there was just something missing for me. I knew that NPC was a good place to develop my skills and gain knowledge. The people there were great and it was a really supportive atmosphere. When I saw an opportunity pop up, I couldn’t not apply!

When you re-joined NPC, what shape did your development take?
I’ve always been quite a motivated person, so before I re-joined I was actually undertaking a business management course at university. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really a good fit for me. As it wasn’t a healthcare-specific course, I struggled to apply what I was learning to the world of primary care which left me a bit unsatisfied.

I mentioned this to the team at NPC when I was joining and they encouraged me to explore Northumbria Healthcare’s Chartered Managers Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA). Within four months of joining NPC, the team had found me a place on that course; I couldn’t believe how fast they moved! 

How has the CMDA course helped you in your position?
It’s given me a lot of confidence. I want to learn and develop my skills, and the CMDA has facilitated that. It’s giving me the tools to be the leader that I want to be. As it’s tailored to the world of healthcare, I’m able to apply what I’m learning to my job and see the benefits of it immediately. Once I’ve completed it, I’d love to continue my education and do a Masters degree afterwards.

As a Business Support Manager, how would you describe your job role?
I’m the main point of contact for operational issues across all of NPC’s nine sites. It’s an incredibly broad role, so it’s quite hard to pin down the specifics. On a daily basis I can be involved in everything from arranging GP cover when a doctor is unwell or supporting an admin team who are under increased pressure. Essentially, it’s my job to help the practices and ensure that patients receive consistent and high-quality care. It involves a lot of problem solving, but is also a really creative and dynamic role.

Why do you love your job?
There’s a lot of job satisfaction involved. When someone comes to you with a problem and you’re able to support them and fix it, it’s such an amazing feeling. Although I don’t deal directly with patients as much these days, it’s great knowing that my work has a tangible impact on people’s lives. I like being able to contribute to the stability of our practices, knowing that that means patients are able to access the care they need.

There’s also a tonne of variety! Anyone who knows primary can knows that every day is different and you never know what might pop up. It can be a bit stressful at times, but it means that you get a lot of really rewarding challenges to overcome.

What would you say to someone who was considering joining NPC?
There’s such a brilliant culture here. It doesn’t matter what your job role is or what level you’re working at, everyone is encouraged to get involved and contribute. This leads to people being able to gain experience that they might not elsewhere and develop their skills.

Primary care is a fast-paced environment and that makes it an incredibly exciting area to be in. As NPC continues to grow, there are so many opportunities available to people who want to become the best version of themselves.

What are your ambitions within your role?
I’m really interested in helping people develop. When I briefly left NPC, I found myself in a situation where my development wasn’t supported and it wasn’t a good feeling. As soon as I returned to NPC, I realised all of the wonderful opportunities our colleagues have to grow within their role. I want to be able to support those around me and empower people to be the best version of themselves.

Outside of work, how do you like to spend your time?
I’ve got two bunnies that I love spending time with. They’re called Otis and Rue and I love them so much!

Thanks Hannah!

Are you interested in a career with Northumbria Primary Care? We’re always looking for talented and hard working clinicians to join our teams. Head over to the Working For Us page to find out more!

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