Health chiefs were under fire after producing a guide to advise staff – how to hold a MEETING.


Health chiefs were under fire after producing a guide to advise staff – how to hold a MEETING.

The seven-page document – entitled ‘Meeting Etiquette’ – includes tips like ‘bring a pen,’ ‘arrive on time,’ and ‘don’t fidget or tap your pen’.

Managers who organise meetings are advised to choose a large room with ‘chairs’, ‘invite appropriate people,’ and ‘schedule the meeting at an appropriate time’.

The guide was written by ambulance worker Karen Kanee for East Midlands Ambulance Service.

But trust chiefs have been criticised for devoting time to the pamphlet while failing to meet national targets.

Last month NHS figures revealed the trust failed to meet the national eight-minute response time for emergency call-outs.

The trust met the response time 73.5 per cent of the time, compared with the 75 per cent national target.

Last December the trust was forced to apologise after health inspectors found ‘thick dirt’ in ambulances during a routine visit.

David Gorrod, former non-executive NHS director and chairman of the Leicester Patients’ Panel, said: ”This does seem extraordinary, particularly with the number of quality issues which have been pointed out to the trust, not least by the patients’ panel, in recent months.

”One would have thought the board of directors’ time might be better spent in dealing with matters of greater substance.

”It’s common sense to arrive on time to meetings.”

One worker at the trust, who did not want to be named, said: ”People’s lives are on the line yet managers are messing around with leaflets.

”If they haven’t learned how to organise a meeting by now then they shouldn’t be in their job.

”It is rather patronising to be told to bring a pen to a meeting.

”What’s next? A guide book on how to get dressed in the morning?”

Governance Manager Karen Kanee wrote the guide while working for the ambulance service at the end of last year.

The booklet also advises where to hold meetings, suggesting ‘large rooms’ with ‘chairs’.

Incredibly, health bosses held a meeting to discuss the document and agreed to upload it to the staff intranet.

A trust spokesman said: ”This was done by a member of staff who looks after corporate activities, which includes committee work.

”Most of the work was done by the member of staff in her own time.

”It was agreed an easy reference document would help us in our aim to have productive meetings.

”We understand a company, which we believe is in the FTSE 100, has also adopted it.”


1. Be on time. Always arrive a few minutes before the meeting is set to begin.

2. Bring a notebook and pen.

3. Turn off all mobile.

4. Ask questions.

5. Be polite and attentive.

6. Stay calm. Don’t fidget, tap your pen, play with your fingers, read materials not concerning the meeting or any other act that might distract other attendees.

7. Conduct yourself professionally.

8. Attend the whole meeting.

9. End the meeting on time.

10. Thank the Chairperson.


1. Understand the purpose and desired outcome of the meeting.

2. Invite appropriate people.

3. Schedule the meeting as far in advance as possible and include location, time, and anticipated duration of the meeting.

4. Schedule the meeting at a reasonable time.

5. Contact each presenter in advance.

6. Choose an appropriate meeting location. The meeting space should be large enough to comfortably accommodate the participants and contain needed chairs, tables, and audio visual equipment.

7. Develop an agenda.

8. Arrive early to set up the meeting room. Classroom style is NOT appropriate for meetings. ‘U’ shape tables work well for moderately sized groups, especially if presentations will be made.

9. Ensure that equipment is working. This is especially important with PowerPoint, projectors, computer systems, and conference phones.

10. Provide refreshments. Consider the preferences of your participants, not your own.


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