Compiling a list of your existing policies may have seemed like a laborious task, but it’s the best place to begin when you need to implement a methodical approach to policy review. If you didn’t have a list previously, does the number of policies you have shock you? Do you have all the recommended CQC policies outlined in the CQC guidance document?
Whilst some of you may be thinking it’s just another spreadsheet, please do remember that if you are to understand the scale of the task in hand, you need to know what you’re working with. I know it takes time and effort to compile a list so perhaps, if you haven’t quite got round to compiling it yet, the words of The Beautiful South will be apt: “I need a little time, to think it over, I need a little space, just on my own”. You may be thinking that’s random; why is he quoting song lyrics? But read it again and you’ll see that it’s exactly what you need to conduct your review.
Of course, there’s more to policies than just a list (or The Beautiful South). We’re doing this for a reason and that is to help you make certain you have the necessary policies in place, that they’re up to date and that they reflect the needs of your practice. But that’s not all; we want to ensure they support the requirements of the CQC.
Just as it’s essential to have policies in place, policy management is essential too – it’s a collaborative effort, not a single-handed task. I like to think of policy management as a compliance tool – a tool that ensures compliance with regulations, legislation, etc., but also a tool that enables you to facilitate awareness and a culture of continuous review across the multidisciplinary teams within your practice.
So in this spreadsheet I’ve added a large number of policies on the master list, and then under each month I’ve allocated a number of policies to be reviewed. In the month of January, you’ll see that a policy review involves more than just the practice manager. Why? Well, if you want to encourage a culture of continuous improvement and you want to develop the team, they need to be involved. But more importantly, they’re the individuals who are ultimately going to have to enforce or adhere to the policy, so it’s only right that they have an input into the content of the policy (where appropriate).
By spreading the review process over 12 months, it makes the whole process much more manageable; it becomes a structured approached to policy review. Factoring in time for review is essential; it could be introduced into a weekly routine, making the process even simpler.
In blog number three we’ll look at what a policy review entails. But for now, I’ll leave you with this thought: “Perfection has to do with the end product, but excellence has to do with the process” – Jerry Moran.
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