11: Team Away Days

Away Days

The service has regular Team away days (at least once a term). The agenda is set by the team and involves content to facilitate clinical learning, team relationships and business planning. Management support this time and content and do not scrutinise the agenda.

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Team away days are absolutely essential in a CAPA system. CAPA teams need to know and trust each other. CAPA is a transparent system. Teams know what each other’s workloads are, their skills, personalities, style of working and outcomes. This can be quite a change from a more traditional system whereby no-one really knows what goes on when you shut your door.

CAPA planning

To start CAPA, teams need to do a lot of preparation and planning. This takes time. Anxiety is common, even if everyone is keen and up for it. Having regular away days allows team building time and space to contain anxiety, in addition to problem solving and organising.

When and where?

However, even when CAPA is in place, we recommend away days at least four times a year, preferably off site. The whole team needs to be part of the day, but a sub team may organise it. Ensure that it is not just led by the management group. Include admin staff. The content can be wide ranging and depends on the interests and needs of the team at the time. As an example, content we have used includes: talking about the Choice-Partnership transfer, when is it OK to keep from Choice, developing clinical groups, thinking about a school refusal care bundle, reviewing the trust IT system, considering anti-discriminatory practice, doing Tai-Chi! We also have a warm up for fun to get us going.

You may need sub-team away half days - e.g. a Partnership clinic group may want to meet.

What happens if you don’t have regular away days?

You are unlikely to ever implement substantial change, or if you do, it will be hard to sustain. You will not generate a strong and flexible team culture. Staff may leave, vote with their feet and carry on doing what they normally do, and clinical risk may increase. Unhappy teams cannot work effectively.