Teamwork in General Practice – Making it work

Most practices are made up of GPs and Reception Staff with some enjoying the luxury of having a Practice Nurse and/or Practice Manager. As the GP Practice is such a unique and sometimes challenging environment, there are many benefits in ensuring good teamwork.

Here are some tips

§ Some person in the Practice needs to take the lead! This can be the Practice Manager or one of the GP’s. They will have clear responsibilities such as facilitating team meetings, ensuring effective communications and supporting Staff.

§ Regular Practice Meetings with an Agenda. Meetings are so important even if they last only 15 minutes. They help with staff engagement and are excellent for developing and agreeing policies within the Practice. All staff members should contribute to the Agenda and minutes should be taken and recorded. members in setting their objectives.

§ Consider if your Practice is prepared to innovate. Are you making the most of all your resources in order to maximise income for your Practice. Facilitate Monthly Brainstorming meetings with all team members and agree actions from these.

§ What are your individual team members greatest strengths. How can this benefit the Practice and other members of the team.

“Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is a progress, Working together is a success
– Henry Forde”

§ Consider using an external Facilitator or Trainer to evaluate and train your staff. In a busy practice environment, it can be extremely valuable to listen to insights from a third party.

§ Encourage flexibility. This is key to effective teamwork! Staff may need additional support and training in some tasks however, this is a very worthwhile exercise.

§ Effective Communication: Use the Practice Meetings to invite Feedback from Practice Staff or use the Practice Software. The Communication features have improved greatly in all of these. Send out regular internal emails and consider a suggestion box.

§ Appraisals/Feedback Sessions: Last but not least. All members of the team should be individually appraised at least once a year but more regularly for new members of a Team. This appraisal should be carried out by the GP partners and Practice Manager if there is one in place. The appraisal should give staff information on practice performance, so they can see how they and their teams are performing. This knowledge can be a powerful tool in motivating staff.