The past few years have posed many challenges for general practice.
GPs have continued to rise to these demands, adapting and innovating. However, maintaining this energy can be difficult on a backdrop of increased demand, a shrinking workforce, funding pressures and negative media rhetoric, which can all impact on morale.
Often, we can be so busy doing everyday essential work that there is no time to consider how to improve our working conditions. Several people have used the boiled frog analogy for current general practice- that if we don’t notice the effect of the rising temperature (increasing workload) it will be too late.
Change is needed - so how can WiseGP help?
Applying the 3E principles of WiseGP – Explore, Explain, Evaluate - can help clinicians take a step back (add some cold water to the pot) and use that opportunity to reflect on what is happening (explore the problems faced), what can be done about it (explain potential solutions) and consider how we will know if it’s helped (evaluate the impact of changes). Using these 3Es can allow us to use our WiseGP expertise to rethink and reshape the work we are asking of ourselves, our general practice teams and our patients.
Dr Mohammed Saeed and his team from Portland Medical Practice in Walsall have shared innovative steps they have taken to address the challenges faced in their practice.
These steps mirror the 3E principles of WiseGP, which you could also consider applying to help reclaim control of your work in general practice.
Taking stock: Making time to review the temperature and share with the team and patients via social media infographics displaying the number of appointments, referrals, tasks, letters, blood tests and calls processed, to emphasise their everyday achievements. This has a double effect of flagging concerns and celebrating achievement.
Inviting change: Feedback is encouraged, with cards patients can fill in and post into a box in the reception area. The team meet at 8:15am each morning to discuss any important issues and share positive feedback from the day before. Together, they are also making positive changes for the environment, including promoting recycling.
Reflecting and celebrating success: The practice votes for an employee of the month, who gets presented with a voucher. Each year, the team also mark their completion of the Quality Outcomes Framework cycle with a pizza party.
The changes made at the Portland Medical practice have helped to build a reinforced sense of membership within their team, who recognise the meaning and value of their work. Overall, there has been a positive impact on wellbeing and motivation.
Research looking at other professions backs up what the team from Portland Medical have done. Have a look at our linked WiseGP newsletter on this topic, to see if there is anything you could do to boost your team’s morale.