Skills Support for the Workforce

Teign Estuary Medical Group have been able to support new and existing staff to develop and grow with support from Heart of the South West Apprenticeship Service. 

Heart of the South West Apprenticeship Service provides fully funded training and support to equip business in Devon and Somerset with the skills they need to grow. The service can provide businesses with recognised accredited qualifications and bespoke training courses for their employees and business support to enable them to take advantage of Apprenticeship opportunities that work for their business. Education and Training Skills (ETS) is part of Serco’s network of expert organisations chosen to deliver the programme in partnership with Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).  Heart of the South West Apprenticeship Service is co-financed by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency. 

Teign Estuary Medical Group has two GP surgeries.  One in Teignmouth called Glendevon Medical Centre, and another in Shaldon called Riverside Surgery.  They offer a range of services including telephone and face to face appointments, and home visits from the Doctors.  They also do repeat prescriptions, online services, text message services, nurse, travel and chronic disease clinics. These two surgeries provide an essential service to the local community to ensure health care is provided and patients’ needs are met.  The Management, Admin and Reception team all need to work hard to meet the demanding needs of patients and adapt quickly to potential problems.  

The Reception team and Management work very closely together to ensure smooth running of clinics and appointments take place ensuring there is adequate cover for reception.  During busy periods staff work hard to ensure patients are seen timely and concerns are dealt with appropriately. They are monitored by CQC, so strict targets are in place to ensure these are met and thorough mandatory training is completed.  They use a complex bespoke software system that has all information regarding each patient on it and their diary management system.  It is a very clever system ensuring all information is to hand readily and information is up to date complying with the Data Protection Act. This is very important when dealing with patients’ medical history. 

ETS have worked particularly closely with Glendevon Medical Centre, with new Apprentices into the organisation. This has worked very well but there was a gap in upskilling existing staff and other individuals across both surgeries.  An initial conversation was had with Will Moyle and Vicky Hodges (an ETS Training Facilitator) regarding the ESF courses and how these could benefit the company and staff.  Will was very keen to learn more about these and thought it would benefit his staff’s CPD.  Following on from this a TNA was booked and another detailed discussion took place and the options explained.  He wanted a package mainly around Customer Service as he wanted to expand his staff’s knowledge and have some training.  Will Moyle has always encouraged learning and development and also wanted another member of staff to build on their team building skills.  He planned to have her lead the team in his absence as his role was changing too, meaning he needed to re-allocate some responsibilities.  As the organisation is funded by the NHS, budgets have always been tight but the ESF courses offered them a perfect opportunity to upskill and re-train for free!!  Will was able to put this forward at the Partners meeting and they agreed that the training would benefit the two surgeries.  Group training was delivered as part of their CPD and units were picked to build knowledge in Customer Service skills and demonstrate in practice.  

Initially some staff were unsure of the training and what it would entail but the feedback has been really good since starting the course.   During the CPD session individuals took part in group discussions, activities and reflecting on experiences whist covering:-

  • Why customer service is important
  • Different types of customers and how to deal with them effectively
  • Identify vital skills for professional telephone techniques
  • Clarify stages of the phone call
  • Identify various questioning skills and how best to use them
  • Deal with complaints, aggression and difficult people assertively

Being the first point of contact coming into the surgery, the Reception team often deal with agitated people so the employees found this training useful in dealing with customers and the importance of this.  Workbooks were set as targets to complete and the staff needed to research their knowledge and validate their awareness in these areas.  Feedback was given via the Training Facilitator (Vicky Hodges) and discussions took place to expand their knowledge. Observations and witness statements were also gathered to validate performance in the workplace.  

Ellen Hunter undertook ESF units building her team leading skills and stretching her knowledge in leading a team. 

Will Moyle has found that these courses have had a real benefit to a majority of his staff and have led to staff being offered permanent role, promotion and progressing onto an apprenticeship.  One member of staff really enjoyed the course and felt that her confidence in her soft skills had improved.  This gave her the confidence to complete a full apprenticeship and she is now undertaking Business and Administration Level 2 Diploma.  Her employer put this forward to the Partners and they could see the benefits within the organisation and agreed to the training.  Her knowledge is now being stretched within this sector and she really enjoys researching the content and learning.  

Will Moyle himself also undertook some ESF units concentrating on finance within Business and Administration.  He found this most beneficial upskilling his financial knowledge.  

To find out about accessing fully funded training through Heart of the South West Apprenticeship Service business can contact us. 

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