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by Our manager in practice
2 July 2007

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The minutes’ drag

Another week has passed – how they fly by!

Last Monday, I was busy preparing for the weekly meetings as usual, and reflected on all that minute writing (depressing enough on its own without the rain, which is making everyone feel down).

Still, at least one of you out there also finds the minute writing a drag as well, as evidenced in the supportive comments we received – many thanks for that! The feedback asked for hints and tips for writing minutes – the Management in Practice team will source an article on this for you soon, but afraid I’m not sure I have any tips myself!

After each meeting my intention is always to write the minutes up immediately, but something always happens to interrupt this. On Monday afternoon, the problem this time was that the projection screen had fallen down and a workaround was needed to use it – guess who had to arrange that!

We are also currently experimenting with making use of voice recognition software in the practice, perhaps I’ll be able to utilise this to help me? I’ll keep you informed of how this goes.

Further problems were encountered this week with the shopfitters refitting the pharmacy next door, parking their vehicles all over the car park – when they had expressly promised not to. What a great week: workmen to contend with at the practice as well as at home! (The work at home is going slower than promised as well. Do you ever reflect on the fact that no-one else seems to do things when they say they will – except us?!)

Off home, and taking my laptop with me again, despite the kind advice offered by one reader, who quoted a saying from a time management course he once attended:

“There are two rules about taking work home:

  • Only take paperwork home if you are really going to work on it at home.
  • Never work at home.”

I have to confess that my main use at home is to browse the internet from the comfort of the sofa rather than our home office!

Have a good week everyone.

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

“I have worked in practices that have handled this in different ways. One practice ensured the practice secretary was present to take the minutes – these can then be prepared very quickly afterwards and allows the manager to participate during meeting without the need to minute take, it also allows the manager to concentrate on their actions arising after the meeting. The other practice used their meeting room projector to record only the actions, person responsible and decisions made during the meeting so everyone present could see what was minuted – any corrections could be made there and then. Both systems worked well for me and that particular practice” – Name and address supplied

“One of the most useful tips I could give is to ensure each action has a named person responsible for the task and a date for completion” – Name and address supplied

“I’ve also been in the habit of letting sets of minutes build up so I only get round to doing them just before the next meeting, usually a month later. Recently we invested in a Lexacom digital dicatation system for the doctors’ referral letters. Everybody is really pleased with it, including the secretary who turns around typing at lightning speeds. When I said how bogged down I was getting with minutes they all suggested I get a microphone and dictate the minutes. So that’s what I’ve done and it’s transformed my entire attitude to meetings. As soon as I get out of a meeting I dictate the minutes and they’re usually done and circulated within 24 hours. Not only does this relieve my growing sense of guilt but it also gives me time to inform people about the actions agreed and make sure the actions take place! I suppose I could have done the same with an old fashioned dictaphone but it never occurred to me to do it that way” – Isobel Wells, Countesthorpe Health Centre, Leicestershire