FAQs: Setting up a local respiratory group
What are the benefits of setting up a local respiratory network?
There are many benefits for local health professionals, yourself, and of course, patients. A local respiratory network provides opportunities to update knowledge and skills, exchange and share ideas and provide support, especially for newcomers to primary care or respiratory medicine. Networking and exchange of ideas is an essential part of a local meeting, as working in primary care can feel quite lonely at times. And, by providing news and updates of developments in the respiratory field, patients will be cared for by well-informed clinicians.
I’m interested in setting up a local network, but where do I start?
A good starting point is to contact the PCRS Operations Team, who can put you in touch with a member who has already set up a respiratory group and would be willing to advise you:
- 01675 477600
You may also wish to speak to your local pharmaceutical representatives, who are usually very helpful with knowing who to invite, finding suitable speakers or venues. They may be able to help sponsor and are also experienced in setting up meetings.
Finally, talk to colleagues, who may also be interested in setting up a respiratory group and enlist their support, even if it is only to bounce ideas off.
When is the best time to hold an initial meeting?
This tends to vary from one area to another, according to local need. With the recent advances in technology and the increased familiarity of using digital technology means you could get people together via Zoom or MS Teams for example to discuss what you want to do and achieve as a network. You can do this for very little cost. If you are planning to host a physical meeting it is very important to give as much notice as possible regarding date and time, even if the final details of the agenda and venue have not yet been finalised. You may be able to obtain funding from your local pharmaceutical representative to support the costs of a face-to-face event. We have produced guidance for you on seeking funding.
How do I contact people to attend?
The CCG, LHB or commissioning consortium may be able to advertise your events/activities in a newsletter, which may have wide circulation. Over time, word of mouth can be a very powerful way of others hearing about your meetings. Also, your local pharmaceutical representatives may be able to help you, as they often have contact details of local clinicians and nurses and may be willing to promote the meeting for you. PCRS can promote your events in a mailing to any PCRS members and contacts within a specific distance of your local town - simply email us with the details of your event and how delegates can register and we will promote the event for you. You can establish a record of attendees and request an email address. For future meetings email is a very quick, cost effective and efficient way of communicating with the group members. Please note however, that you must comply with the requirements for data protection and if you plan to maintain a database you should consult the Information Commissioner regarding the rules around data protection. In all events you should never disclose the details of your contacts to others without their express prior permission.
How much time will it take to arrange a local meeting?
This will depend on how much help and support you receive, for example, from your colleagues, local pharmaceutical representative or PCRS. Do engage help wherever possible and keep things simple - this will help share the workload and any associated burden. PCRS has a range of tools and access to speakers etc. to help you plan and deliver your events.
If you are getting an event sponsored, be very clear about who is doing what and agree to meet nearer the time to confirm the numbers of attendees, speakers and any audio-visual needs. You may also wish to negotiate an honorarium for yourself, especially if you are chairing the meeting.
How do I plan an agenda?
Keep it simple. Some of the most successful meetings have been sessions such as updates on asthma or COPD, inhaler devices, spirometry or allergic rhinitis. At your first meeting it will also be important to have a discussion as to whether the group would like to meet again, the opportunity to affiliate to PCRS, and who will organise the future meetings. Affiliating to PCRS will allow you to access our bank of speakers and videos which you can share with your group.
For future meetings, be guided by comments on the evaluation forms. At the first meeting, it is a good opportunity to discuss and plan future topics with the group. At this stage you may also be able to encourage others to help you with organising future meetings. Group meetings provide an excellent opportunity for exchange of ideas on working practice and peer support and is time well spent. Allow adequate time over lunch and tea/coffee breaks for networking.
You may wish to ask attendees to do some preparation for the meeting to avoid long silences/encourage questions.
- What are they expecting from the meeting/group?
- What future agenda items would they like to see?
- What do they need to know on a particular agenda topic?
If gleaned far enough in advance, some of these thoughts can be fed to the speakers in the speaker’s brief.
What about speakers?
Local Respiratory Nurse Specialists and chest physicians are ideal speakers and are often good at delivering knowledge at the right level for your audience. It is usual to pay travel expenses and an honorarium for speakers. This should be agreed when inviting a speaker to make a presentation. Pharmaceutical representatives are likely to be able to suggest recommended speakers. PCRS has a number of committee members who are willing to speak at local meetings. Affiliating to us grants you access to their details. You may also wish to host your meetings virtually which may help you in recruiting individuals to speak at your events if they can do so from the comfort of their own home.
Why should our network become affiliated to PCRS?
Affiliation provides an opportunity for local networks to enhance their credibility and reputation by being part of a national organisation, while continuing to operate as an independent group. Specific benefits include:
- Free PCRS membership for the network lead
- Access expertise through our speaker bank and associated resources
- Use of the PCRS logo - promotion of affiliation may enable nurses to be successful in requesting study leave to attend local group meetings
- Development opportunities for network leads to support the running of your network
- A dedicated WhatsApp group for leaders of networks to share information, tips and advice
- The opportunity to promote your events and activities to PCRS members
If you have any further questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01675 477600.