Practice Communication Cell meetings

The problem 

We found that there was limited/infrequent communication between staff within the practice which was causing significant inefficiencies within the team. There were delays in confirming/communicating changes to processes, staff morale was low as they did not have a mechanism for escalating concerns and successes within the practice often went unrecognised.

The Bright idea

Hackenthorpe Medical Centre agenda
To address this the practice has implemented a daily Communication Cell meeting.

Communication Cells are a lean tool used to deliver team communication and drive forward continuous improvement.

They give the team the opportunity to review the previous day/mornings performance and plan for the afternoon.

The team discuss what worked well (golden moments), where there are opportunities or concerns and agree how these would be taken forward.



The Communication Cell meetings allow individuals to:

  • use their knowledge, creativity and experience 
  • express their opinions
  • get involved in decision making 
  • know what is important to them and the patients so that they can do their job well

The meetings develop team working and shared ownership, keep everybody informed, promote behaviour which values all the team and promote standard ways of working. They also give everyone the opportunity to share information and learning across the practice and a proactive approach to management.

The meetings were introduced in the practice in March 2016 as were acknowledged by CQC as an area of outstanding practice.

The impact

Training on the concept of Communication Cells takes ten minutes and gives staff an overview of the format, frequency and expected output of the meetings. The daily meetings take place at 12.15pm for ten minutes and clinic times have been amended to enable staff to attend. All staff in the practice attend the meetings including, Partners, Salaried GPs, Nurses, HCAs and all administrative staff including Receptionists (one receptionist remains on reception to cover telephones and front desk).

The benefits of the meetings are qualitative rather than quantitative. The feedback from staff has been very positive and the practice has engaged with the concept. Patients benefit from improved systems and processes in place in the practice and staff morale has improved due to improved team working and two-way communication, resulting in issues and concerns being addressed in a prompt and timely manner. Short falls in capacity are also discussed and addressed at an earlier stage. 

This change is easily transferrable into any practice or team. Following on from the success of the wider practice Communication Cell we have introduced a Receptionist Communication Cell and we are now in the process of implementing a Nurse/HCA Communication Cell which proves that the concept can be scaled up or down to all levels within the practice.

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