Wednesday 4th Dec 2013 - Kate Hodkinson
This has been a particularly busy year for GP Practice Managers – Changes to QOF, new enhanced services, CCGs, pension changes and all sorts of other developments. Registration with CQC and the thoughts of impending inspection visits have added to the pressure felt by many.
At First Practice Management (FPM) & Thornfields, we had been thinking of ways to support managers and make their life as easy as possible. In the spring we decided to hold a series of free Roadshows throughout 2013 for subscribers to the FPM, Thornfields customers and Practice Managers. The aim was to provide them with some real life and up to date information about CQC inspection, how to prepare for it and how to cope on the day. We delivered three Roadshows in Manchester, Birmingham and London which were all well attended and the feedback from managers was very positive.
"Extremely useful session, some good action points to follow up when I get back to the practice" S. Hope Practice Manager, Birmingham Delegate.
We wanted to use managers’ real experience but as the first Road Show was in April, very few practices had actually had an inspection by then – we asked a colleague from the Dental sector to help. Claire McAllister is a senior manager in a large dental organisation with more than 50 practices and she is the veteran of more than 30 CQC inspection visits. Claire has been involved in all three road shows and her experience has enlightened many practice managers especially her views on the inspectors themselves. She has had a couple of bad experiences but has generally found them to be positive and helpful. One of her comments has been positively reinforced by almost everyone attending the events – the best inspections have been by dentists or people from the dental sector. The changes at CQC plan to use this in the future – at present practices may be inspected by people with no general practice experience or knowledge but in the future services should only be inspected by people with specialist knowledge.
"The most informative CQC Seminar I have attended yet! with good practical advise" C. Bailey Practice Manager, Birmingham Delegate.
By the time we planned the Birmingham and London events, some practices had been inspected and we were posting details of their experience of the website. Rachael Duff, a practice manager from Yorkshire, had some very good tips and hints to help prepare for the visit. She presented at the Birmingham event and showed delegates how she took control of the visits and kindly gave delegates a copy of a very useful welcome pack she prepared for the inspectors. Delegates found this really helpful and she received some great feedback about her presentation – I think it gave the audience a lot of reassurance about how to handle the visit on the day and the fact that the inspectors were also in need to help!
We rounded off the series at the Transport Museum in Covent Garden – a great venue! We were joined at this event by Caroline Braxton from Hertfordshire who had recently had her inspection. Caroline gave a great presentation about her approach. She hadn’t gone mad in preparation before registration ( Not writing 247 new policies) preferring to have confidence in the fact that she knew they were a good practice, everyone was well trained and they had good communication and trust in place. The phone call came out of the blue but she took a measured approach to preparing and felt ready to be inspected when they actually turned up. It was interesting to hear from Caroline about how much they spoke to the staff and patients, and how much time they spent with the clinical team. Again, delegates felt reassured that the inspectors were fairly reasonable and the main focus was on the experience of patients.
We also presented information about the Preparation Pack that Rachael had brought to the previous road show and the value of this in taking control of the visit. We received some great follow up to this as one delegate from the Kent area attended the road show and almost immediately on getting back to work, got her phone call giving her 48 hours notice of her inspection. She used the Welcome Pack and got some great feedback from the inspectors about how useful they found it. I think it started the visit well and hopefully have the inspectors the impression of an organised practice and a manager with a great level of control and understanding.
We received great feedback from those who attended the events - both formally and informally and will hopefully be doing some more next year on a different theme. If you have any comments about hot topic areas or locations for the next series, just get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org