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Managing Health & Safety in the GP Practice – Key issues for practice managers

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Managing Health & Safety in the GP Practice – Key issues for practice managers

Every GP practice has a duty of care towards its employees, patients, and other visitors. While the partners will have the ultimate responsibility for the health and safety of all in the practice, it is the practice manager who is likely to have day-to-day management responsibility for ensuring that health and safety measures are implemented.

In this blog post, we'll look the key workplace health and safety procedures that must be put into practice. Other issues such as control of vaccines have been covered previously.

Who do the health and safety (H&S) rules impact?

Everyone in the practice is impacted by H&S rules. This means that there must be policies and procedures with regard to H&S, and that all employees must be trained in those policies. It's good practice to ensure that H&S issues are covered in induction training. Also, continuous training should include:

  • Updates on policy and procedures
  • Coaching where required
  • Access to written materials supporting the H&S efforts

Learning form H&S issues

You should have in place a reporting procedure for any H&S issues that are identified during the working day. These are issues that could impact employees, patients or visitors. These reports should inform your policies and procedures going forward, and help to evolve best practices within the surgery.

In this way, you can see that all employees:

  • Should adhere to H&S procedures
  • Report any H&S issues
  • Learn from those issues

Why have reporting procedures in place?

Reporting of H&S issues and incidents:

  • Ensures that anyone suffering an injury can be attended to
  • All workplace activities can be made safe
  • The details of an incident are recorded in the event of legal proceedings

Your H&S structure immediately makes H&S a joint responsibility, which extends to all visitors. Workplace H&S covers three main areas:

  • Premises
  • Environment
  • People

H&S of premises

Ensure that you:

  • adhere to electrical safety policies and procedures
  • have a system for reporting accidents and incidents
  • have first aid arrangements in place
  • have public and employers' liability insurance

H&S of environment

Ensure that you:

  • Carry out all checks for hazards to employees, patients and visitors. This includes spillages, state of flooring, broken glass and obstructions. Don't allow fire doors to be locked or obstructed. Do ensure that warning signs are prominently displayed.
  • Keep the premises well lit and heated to a comfortable temperature

H&S of people

Ensure that:

  • All employees have clearly defined work roles, and that workloads are balanced
  • You recognise work-related stress, and manage stress at work effectively
  • Regular team meetings are used to review H&S performance and best practice
  • Workstations comply to H&S standards
  • Employees are trained in manual handling procedures

Finally, and unfortunately, threatening behaviour towards practice employees is becoming more frequent in the GP practice. The surgery should be a friendly, safe, and welcoming environment for all. Abusive and aggressive patients and visitors should be dealt with quickly and effectively. Make certain that all your staff are trained to deal with threatening behaviour.

Do you have any best practices that you could share to help other practice managers survive the H&S quagmire? How do you handle training of new staff, or dissemination of learning points after an H&S incident?

We'd love to hear from you, and let others know of your practice management successes.

eSupplies Medical is a trading name of Williams Medical Supplies Ltd, a DCC business