Diary Practice Manager Issue 09

  • Date: 15 November 2013

GET THEE TO A DENTIST Diary always feels a keen sense of injustice when dental visits are used as a barometer of unpleasantness. Take for example a recent survey carried out by Coppenrath & Wiese (“Europe’s largest producer of frozen desserts!”) which found that 75 per cent of Brits would rather go to the dentist than host a dinner party. A quick review of Google also uncovers that 43 per cent of women would rather visit a dentist than see their mother in law and 44 per cent would prefer the dental chair over shopping for a swim suit. Filling out a tax form is worse than going to the dentist for 40 per cent of Americans and one in eight managers would happily see the dentist to avoid completing a performance appraisal. One respondent on Mumsnet said she would prefer childbirth over having another wisdom tooth extracted. Diary finds this most unfair as our dentist is always delightful and attentive, as is the staff. I would not demean them by comparing a visit there to, say, public speaking (give me root canal any day).

MANAGERS NEVER LIE Well, nearly two thirds don’t according to a survey conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Only 35 per cent of managers admitted to telling a lie at least once a day in the workplace – though more so than among workers where the figure was 25 per cent. Curious when you consider other studies suggesting people on average lie no less than three times a day – and one study claiming most people can’t go 10 minutes in conversation without telling a lie. One can only assume a tendency to lie about lying. Who was it that said the truth is overrated?

WEIGHT WATCHING Are you putting on a few pounds? It might just be your job. Receptionists are most likely to be overweight while scientists are least at risk of piling on the pounds, according to a survey of almost 3,700 workers by the company CareerBuilder. Administrative assistant tops the list of jobs that make you put on the most weight; 69 per cent of admin assistants gained weight as a result of their job compared to just 39 per cent of scientists. More than half of those surveyed blamed sitting at a desk most of the day while a third blamed stress-eating. Another prime candidate was the office sweet jar (17 per cent), while nine per cent blamed pressure to eat food colleagues bring in.

ENEMIES AND QUESTIONABLE STRANGERS TEST It was recently reported in Pulse that trials have begun of the much touted ‘friends and families’ test in 36 GP practices across England. Patients are to be asked how likely they are to recommend a practice to people they presumably like (quite a presumption in some families) with a choice of six options ranging from ‘extremely likely’ to ‘extremely unlikely’. The test has been operating in selected hospital wards and A&E departments since April 2013. Diary would be keen to see the results of these trials – though NHS England has said there will be no formal reporting and that the results of the unofficial trials would ‘not be published’. Should the test prove less than illuminating might we suggest a somewhat inverted approach as in the title of this item? Diary offers it gratis in the spirit of public service.

WHAT A FEELING Diary believes that all practice managers should be encouraged to browse the “Reviews and ratings” section of the NHS Choices website. Perhaps not so much for those five-star ratings praising excellent clinical skills or courteous staff or waiting room musak that could inspire a flashmob. More bitter truth can be found in opinions offered at the lower end of the scale. Say for example: “On my last visit the doctor I saw was more interested in their own personal call on their mobile from their friend, did not seem interested in me and looked bored, was miserable and you could not fill the back of a postcard the amount of time they talked to me. I have never heard anything good said about this place and will look for somewhere else.” Even worse: “The doctors were rude, when I said there were a couple of things, was interrupted before I could go on and told to make another appointment. Bizarre! Do not bother registering here as you will regret it.”

CLASSIC CALLS Does your practice favour a catchy pop tune or something a little more upmarket to entertain callers while they wait? A survey has revealed Mozart is the top choice for local councils’ “on hold” music. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Symphony No 40 were the Mozart pieces deemed most suitable by local authority bosses, according to the Press Association. Selections from Debussy, Handel and Strauss were also popular, no doubt thanks to the fact these classics are out of copyright and can be played free of charge. Elsewhere, Lincolnshire County Council has reported that middle-of-the road pop songs by Simply Red and the Lighthouse Family are the most effective in keeping people on the line. The authority says the number of people hanging up while on hold has more than halved since it replaced traditional hold music with commercial tracks. However, the council did admit fault in its use of the Lighthouse Family’s Ocean Drive, describing the move as “a deplorable lapse in judgement.”


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Practice Manager is published twice yearly and distributed to MDDUS practice managers and others with management responsibility in dental and medical surgeries. It features articles on employment law, health and safety, risk as well as profiles of practices across the UK. Browse our current and back issues below.
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