Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

How to ... ensure everyone sees circulars

Although information is increasingly sent to the practice by email, and can be circulated and stored electronically, we still get plenty of paper in our in-trays. Some letters are sent to us all individually but others require wider distribution or can be of use to others, including salaried GPs, registrars and locums. Ensuring everyone sees everything they should is therefore important.

Although information is increasingly sent to the practice by email, and can be circulated and stored electronically, we still get plenty of paper in our in-trays. Some letters are sent to us all individually but others require wider distribution or can be of use to others, including salaried GPs, registrars and locums. Ensuring everyone sees everything they should is therefore important.

Our system works as follows:

1 Our practice manager does a second-level triage on the post after it has been opened by staff who sift out clinical letters, requests for medical reports, pharmaceutical mail shots and so on.

2 The manager categorises all business correspondence and an assortment of clinical and non-clinical news or reference material – for example new prescribing guidelines or changes arising from the recent reorganisation of our district nursing services.

3 The manager decides which documents should be scanned in and stored on the practice server. He has set up a spreadsheet accessible from each consulting room's PC.

4 The spreadsheet lists the documents' names, the date they arrived, and a read-by date if relevant; just clicking on the document name immediately opens the original document.

5 The manager has also included columns for individual doctors, which we ‘tick' to show when we have read each document.

6 If members of the practice are not up to date, we occasionally get a gentle emailed reminder from the manager. But the system is so simple to use that it is easy to catch up during spare moments. We also know where to find a document if we need it again.

Previously we used to circulate multiple photocopies or those documents for sharing in a reception in-tray. Any of us could add to the pile, and staff also added ‘hospital full' faxes, Department of Health alert cascades, meeting invitations and so on.

We were supposed to read and initial documents, but many would linger, awaiting a final signature or response, until someone took action or put them in the bin. The new system avoids all this.

Dr Melanie Wynne-Jones is a GP in Marple, Cheshire

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say