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22nd August 2015

Meetings for meetings’ sake?

Meetings for meetings’ sake?We know that the CQC want to see evidence of communication and minutes of meetings in particular but who decides on the type of meetings, who should be present, and what should be discussed? I believe its good practice to have regular meetings but, with obvious time constraints, the type of meetings and the structure needs to be carefully thought out to make sure they remain effective.

What types of meetings should we have?

Many practices already have a variety of regular meetings such as:

  • Partners / Doctors
  • Practice staff
  • Individual departments
  • Clinical staff
  • Complaints
  • Significant events
  • Patient participation
  • Safeguarding
  • Multidisciplinary (MDT) – end of life, community caseload, etc.

However, it’s important to review which ones are vital to the running of the practice, what could be changed to make them more effective – even consolidating them – and how regularly they should take place.

Who should attend the meetings?

Some practices make it compulsory for key staff to attend particular meetings but this is often difficult to enforce without clear practice policies in place. It isn’t always possible to hold the meetings on the days and at times convenient for those who should attend but these things are best discussed in advance, and circulate the agenda prior to the meeting to encourage full attendance wherever possible. Some practices need to hold certain meetings out of core opening hours and can be very difficult to get people to attend so they may pay staff overtime, but this is of course up to each practice to decide.

What should be on the agenda?

I think it’s advantageous to ensure the ‘main topics’ that CQC require evidence of is included as standard agenda items, such as:

  • Patient complaints and feedback, including the Friends and Family Test (FFT)
  • Significant events
  • NICE guidance
  • Staffing issues
  • Alerts (patient safety alerts, medical devices alerts, drug alerts)
  • Health & Safety
  • Infection control
  • Safeguarding
  • CQC updates
  • Patient Participation Group (PPG) updates
  • Audit
  • Finance
  • Information governance

Of course, not all items need to be included at every meeting but there should be an opportunity to discuss them during any other business (AOB), if you choose to have AOB.

Is your Practice ‘Well-led’?

One of the five key questions CQC looks at during inspections is how well-led GP practices are. The CQCs ‘well-led’ key question focuses on how the leadership, management and governance of an organisation assures high-quality person-centred care delivery, supports learning and innovation and promotes an open and fair culture. They will look at the practice strategy, culture and evidence of team-based working. Having proof of regular documented meetings that involve staff is a positive step to evidencing this.

Alison Lowerson – QCS Expert GP Practice Manager Contributor

Topics: GPs

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