Away Days for GP surgeries

Posted by on Apr 8, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

A couple of months ago we were contacted by a freelance journalist, Alison Moore who had been commissioned by the magazine Management in Practice to write an article about the value of away days for GP surgeries.

She was a lovely lady, easy to talk to and it was a pleasure sharing my knowledge with her.
The article Pulling Together” was published in issue number 39 (Winter 2014/2015) and here are some of the things I said and that of Sarah Day, a Practice Manager in Chesham.

“A social gathering can be great for people to get to know each other but probably won’t resolve specific issues within the practice,” points out David Harrison, who runs www.teambuildingawaydays.co.uk which has worked with a number of practices.

He suggests practices should consider taking time out together, preferably away from the surgery. ‘It breaks the spell of the hurly burly of the day-to-day issues within the practice. The team can then come into the day with a fresh mind set and the distractions of a busy surgery can be put to one side.’………

Mr Harrison agrees: “Sometimes it seems there can be very little understanding between the three groups – clinical team, admin team and receptionist team – about the demands and problems each face and I believe an essential part of an away day should address these issues.” But he stresses the fun factor is also essential.

Sarah Day, a practice manager in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, was able to arrange a teambuilding day with Mr Harrison’s company using ‘headroom’ money from the clinical commissioning group. This enabled the practice to use a half day set aside for training, keeping a skeleton staff at the practice for the morning who then joined the others at lunchtime.

She says the day was very successful and the team left with pages of suggestions for improvements which could be made within the practice. She says that while generally these were not dealing with fundamental issues they were ones which concerned staff and where changes could be made to enhance the working environment.

The fun activities broke down barriers and meant that when it came to talking about issues in the practice, everyone was very relaxed and willing to say what they thought – including people who were often very quiet in other settings. For example, one practical issue which came out was email access for receptionists – something which she had thought they did not want but they felt would be useful but had not raised back in the surgery. “Most of the changes we have now implemented – and I have learnt how to juggle!” she says.

The full article can be viewed at http://www.managementinpractice.com/pulling-together

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