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1 May 2019

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How can I spruce up my waiting room without breaking the bank?

Deputy editor Angela Sharda asks our panel of experts how practices can implement a makeover without spending a fortune. 

Tracy Dell, practice manager, Plane Trees Group Practice, Halifax

Don’t wait until your CQC visit notification lands to take a look at your waiting room. It is always good to do a ‘walk in their shoes’ tour once in a while and if you can get someone who isn’t connected to the surgery to do it with you, that’s even better. 

For example, I asked a practice manager colleague from another area to do it with me and in return I did the same for them. It provided me with a whole new perspective. 

The waiting room is usually patient’s or visitor’s first impression of your practice and you want this to be a good one. We can’t all afford to upgrade our waiting rooms but everyone can do a few things to spruce it up.

Keep the premisis clean and make sure the toliets are accessible. You also want the waiting room to be light and airy, a lick of paint in neutral colours, such as white, grey or magnolia is always a good idea.

Magic sponges are great for removing scuff marks from walls, surfaces and door frames. I would also suggest reducing the number of posters and other information for local events, key clinical campaigns, general updates and practice specific information.  

Store leaflets in holders or put rubber bands around them to keep them tidy, and make sure your friends and family feedback slips or comments sheets are the first thing the patient sees when they come in.

Plants are good to have around and as long as they are well kept, the CQC will not object and they make the place look nicer.  

Finally, make sure there is a bin in plain sight for patients, so that people are able to dispose of any rubbish.

Daniel Vincent, practice manager and managing partner, Ryalls Park Medical Centre, Yeovil

When we started to receive comments from our patients that the waiting room was overcrowded with too many posters, we decided to take everything out and only bring back the items that we felt really offered value to our patients.

This left us with a number of bare walls, but we found that there were a wide range of canvases available for under £20 via online shops to decorate the waiting room with.

I also recently visited another practice where they shared with their success story of working with local schools to provide children’s artwork for the practice.

Not only did it brighten up the waiting room, it also created a link with the local community. 

Steve Williams, co-chair of the Practice Management Network

Here are my top tips to creating the perfect waiting space without dipping excessively into funds.  

  • Ensure you display statutory information about your organisation
  • Display your CQC certificate and status
  • Display or provide an area for you PPG
  • Display topical items – such as information about Deafness Awareness Week
  • Display items that affect the services you provide

These tips may seem easy but in order to implement them, you need to be prepared to remove clutter in your practice.

You will normally be provided with copies of statutory information, which you can then display.

Be sure to ask your PPG to regularly update their designated area, this will ensure the information is always fresh and up to date.