The Stokes Medical Centre is an award winning GP Practice delivering excellent patient care to over 14,000 patients from three sites in Bristol.
The political landscape in which GP practices operate is ever changing, which presents real challenges for the Partners and Practice Managers of any GP Practice, where revenues are being reduced whilst costs rise. Managing patient and staff expectations is where governments see Primary Care as a political football. The most recent announcements by the coalition government offer opportunities for taking on practice based commissioning of services from Primary Care Trusts, and the potential ending of boundaries for patient lists. GP Practices are more than ever having to act like businesses, be well managed and engage their staff.
The Partners and Practice Manager of the Stokes Medical Centre recognised that the uncertainty in the political environment and their lack of time to focus on the Practice as a business was leading to a level of disengagement with the staff. They also identified a need to deliver improved performance if they were going to be able to take advantage of the significant opportunities that were in front of them.
The Stokes Medical Centre engaged Innergy to look at how they could improve the engagement of their staff and to make recommendations of possible actions to deliver positive change within the organisation.
Innergy ran an online employee engagement survey which was sent out to all staff, who were given time to complete it. The survey was broken down between Doctors, Nurses, Receptionists and the administrative staff. Innergy also facilitated a needs analysis workshop for the Partners and Practice Manager to identify the key challenges they faced as a leadership group.
The results were collated into a report, which included detailed recommendations on how to take the appropriate management action.
The response rate of the online survey was over 80% and the findings highlighted some obvious areas to improve their management practices that were previously unrecognised.
The Partners now have a clear action plan to improve the communication of their strategic plans and decision making, develop their performance management processes and increase engagement with specific groups and individuals within the Practice.
"Although we knew that our practice was doing quite well clinically, we felt that in certain areas we could become more effective. However, pin-pointing the underlying problems and managing change has always been a problem for us, as it's a continuous struggle to step back, find time to identify what needs to change, and think and see through any solutions.
The online employee engagement survey conducted by Innergy was therefore incredibly useful. Our staff readily engaged, found the questionnaire easy and straightforward to use, and appreciated the opportunity to feed back thoughts, ideas and concerns anonymously.
Innergy provided us with an extremely useful report and a personal feedback session, which was outstanding, illuminating and extremely useful. We were surprised by some of the results, which we had not expected - particularly in the area of communication, where we thought we were doing quite well - but the results told us otherwise and provided plenty of food for thought.
The report also highlighted many other areas for further development and allowed us partners to review our priorities and re-focus on what's important for us, our staff, and our practice as a whole. Talking about the report and taking in the results created a new 'buzz' and lease of energy for us - and led to many new ideas for change. This process also led to a slight change in direction of our overall practice strategy and improved self-awareness among the partners - and it created new priorities for us to work on.
Since working with Innergy, our staff feel already much more engaged, and we have immediately developed new strategies to improve communication and address the main problem areas that our staff and other team members have highlighted - and some of these activities have already started to bear fruit, with staff appearing to be much happier and projects that have stalled for months or years now already reaching completion.
I can't thank Innergy enough for the excellent service we've received - definitely 10 out of 10 from me!"
Dr Knut Schroeder - GP Partner and Innovation Chair of the Royal College of GPs