AT THE start of March, we returned to the fantastic setting of the Fairmont Hotel in St Andrews for our eagerly anticipated MDDUS Practice Managers’ Conference.
The event had been in the diary months in advance and a lot of hard work and planning went in to ensure the agenda and content met the needs of those practice managers attending.
We try to get a balance so delegates come away with plenty of practical tips and knowledge to assist them in their complex roles as well as ensuring there is an element of fun, with time set aside for networking and discussion amongst friends and other practice managers.
We know that attendees travel from all over the UK and take precious time out of their working week, so we strive to make it a worthwhile experience for all. We arrived at St Andrews on the Wednesday night and carried out some last minute preparations. Come Thursday morning, we were delighted to see a great turnout and a lot of energy in the room.
The day started with a welcome from MDDUS chief executive Professor Gordon Dickson and was followed by a film we had specially commissioned entitled “Bleak Practice”.
The film focused on a disastrous day in the life of a practice manager and flagged up many challenging situations involving clinical failures, employment issues and other areas of risk in the practice - we hope there aren’t too many days that replicate the issues that came up in the film!
A few of the MDDUS staff were lucky enough to be “supporting actors” and it was really interesting and fun to be part of.
The breakout sessions soon followed and the rest of Thursday was busy with all the delegates attending four separate master-classes which addressed some of the key issues we saw play out in the film.
I led a workshop on the increased use of social media and its impact on the workplace, while medical adviser Dr Barry Parker touched on the difficult but important topic of how to support GPs with health problems and difficult behaviours in practices.
Senior risk adviser Liz Price looked at how practice managers can do more to support their teams to avoid breaches of confidentiality and then risk adviser Alan Frame talked about when and how to disclose patient information safety in the public interest.
It was great for us to see so many of delegates participate and share experiences with others. Those who were staying on at the hotel gathered for a well-earned glass of fizz followed by a lovely meal and we just about had enough energy left to hit the dance floor for the disco.
There was still time for further workshops on the Friday morning. I looked at avoiding and managing redundancy, while my colleague Liz Symon discussed how to deal with poor performing employees.
Then it was time to head home. Everyone at MDDUS really enjoyed the experience and we hope all the delegates shared our enthusiasm for what was a fantastic couple of days.
Janice Sibbald is an employment law adviser at MDDUS