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How practice managers are celebrating Christmas with their staff

18 December 2018

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The holidays are a great opportunity for practice managers to celebrate with their staff, helping with team bonding and boosting staff morale.
Management in Practice asked practice managers across the UK what’s cooking in their practices – figuratively speaking, of course, unless you are aspiring to be the next Nancy Birtwhistle, the former practice manager who won the Great British Bake Off in 2014.
So, don’t be a Grinch this Christmas. If you are short of ideas on how to celebrate the festive season with your staff, the below might be of help. There is still time to make arrangements. 
Heat up the Glühwein!
Claire Wallace – practice manager at Broadwater Medical Centre, West Sussex
‘Here at Broadwater Medical Centre we’ve had a busy year. Dancing shoes are at the ready, glad rags hanging up and Glühwein on the shopping list. We are celebrating in style this year with a three-course meal and disco at the local sailing club, followed by a [visit] to Winchester Christmas market. It’s a great time to relax as we all work very hard during the year.
‘Of course there is always Christmas Jumper Day on Christmas Eve, to help us cheer up all the patients who are unwell and need to come see us at this festive time of year. Merry Christmas!’
Put on your dancing shoes
Josiane Wadey – practice business manager at St Lawrence Surgery, West Sussex
‘We normally have at least one big social event per year. This year we are having a Christmas party with dinner and dancing. Last year we had an away day at a local activity centre with a BBQ afterwards.  We think it’s so important that we do at least one social event per year.
‘It’s great for morale and the staff really deserve to feel valued by both doctors and management. It always goes down so well, the only problem is ensuring I don’t get tipsy so they don’t make fun of me back in the workplace!’
A thoughtful thought for the less fortunate
Tracy Dell – practice manager at Plane Trees Group Practice, Halifax
‘Christmas is a great time for our practice to reflect on the year we’ve had and celebrate the season with our patients. We decorate the surgery, play festive music and ditch our uniforms for Christmas outfits.
‘We have a raffle, do a secret Santa gift swap and send messages instead of cards to each other with all proceeds being donated to charity.
‘Our focus this year will be on homelessness and loneliness. With the support of a local organisation, we will highlight the issue of loneliness, offer support and encourage the local community to help people who do not have family or friends around them this time of year.
‘We will also have a fancy dress Christmas party.’
Boosting your staff elf-confidence
Ann Neville – practice business manager at Darwen Healthcare, Darwen
‘Darwen Healthcare and its patient participation group (PPG) held a coffee and Christmas treats morning in aid of Elf Day, an initiative by the Alzheimer’s Society on 7 December. Practice staff dressed up as elves.
‘We also started promoting pre-Christmas health checks from 10 December.
‘Practice staff will dress up on Christmas Eve, there will be Christmas treats for those in practice, and a carol service will take place in the health centre at 11am with coffee and mince pies-arranged by us.
‘We will also take our PPG out for a thank you meal, in recognition of their help and support during the year.’
A Christmas Carol
Jermaine Chappell – business manager at Cornbrook Medical Practice, Hulme, Manchester
‘We are having a Christmas carol concert by students from our local music college. It’s an event for all patients, especially those over 65.
‘We also have a Christmas tree on each site for patients to decorate their own baubles with their #iwillpledges [the #iwill campaign was launched to make social action part of life for 10 to 20-year-olds across the UK.
‘People can make pledges to encourage young people to make a difference]. Patients [make pledges] for how they’ll stay safe this winter, which is a conversation enabler for patients to chat to reception about social prescribing services.
‘Our staff will get Domino’s Pizza and go for lunch at our local community centre, and we will exchange secret Santa presents.’
Strictly Come Dancing – practice edition
Anna Tippett – Kingsway Surgery, Swansea, Wales
‘We will hold a Christmas party for 100 patients who access our exercise therapy service. Staff and patients look forward to this every year and Gill, our exercise therapist, gets everyone up on the dance floor.
‘Our GP partners also pay for a party for all staff. This year we’re exchanging our secret Santa presents at the party.’
Let’s unwrap the presents
Katie Rees – operations manager at Oakwood Lane Medical Practice, Leeds
‘We will have a Christmas fair with our practice health champions to fundraise for the activities we run for patients throughout the year – such as tai chi, bereavement support, and our dementia cafe.
‘We will also have a staff party and swap secret Santa presents.’
Management in Practice wishes practice managers and their families a merry Christmas:)