It started in 2003, when we all went to Dublin — selected because of my Irish roots — for the day. Since then, the outing has gradually become more sophisticated and this year saw us enjoying a weekend in Paris.
Our practice manager, Tim Hinchley, and I arrange the outing in great secrecy. So there was delight from the rest of the staff when we went to the Paris queue at East Midlands airport. This changed quickly to disappointment when the check-in desk for Glasgow (which was empty), called us over. Confusion reigned, but when the staff eventually realised we were actually going to Paris, delight returned.
The weekend was everything we could have asked for — temperatures in the 30s, all the sights, boat trips down the Seine, and eating in the Latin quarter, with the usual flirting between waiter and ladies in the group.
We just managed to catch our flight back on the Sunday evening. We did wonder what our local PCT would make of matters if we had been delayed until the next day: a full surgery, but no doctors or staff — now that would be a significant event.
What a great weekend — we’re still looking at the photos. And no, there are no vacancies here at Peel Croft.
Dr Cecil Farrar is a GP in Burton on Trent
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Effort and outcome
Staff involved: seven.
Cost: about £250 per person.
Locum cover: none required because we went on a weekend
Booking: we booked the outing over the internet using cheap flights and special hotel deals. Check out www.nhsdiscounts.com.
Benefits: incalculable, but evidence shows: staff morale is extremely high; sickness rates are very low (four days last year between us all); and the last person to leave retired (late).
This means that all staff are experienced and well trained, resulting in a patient survey that scores 10 per cent higher than average in every area, high quality and outcomes framework scores.