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Meads Patients’ Participation Group – supporting our practice during the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Meads Medical Centre serves around 9,000 patients in the rapidly growing town of Uckfield in East Sussex.

The Patients’ Group, which was formed 10 years ago, has always enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the practice. It achieves its key role as a critical friend whilst being positive and supportive.

When the pandemic struck it was clear that the practice was going to need more practical support than had ever been necessary before.

Charlotte Luck*, our Practice Manager, quickly identified two areas where volunteers would be an asset – car park marshalling and directing patients within the building.

The practice is a vaccination hub for several local practices and consequently it has often been exceptionally busy.

The PPG is tasked with recruiting and managing the volunteers, organising rotas and maintaining excellent communications (including our social media). This role includes undertaking risk assessments, distributing and sanitising hi viz waistcoats, badges, torches and walkie talkies etc after each vaccination clinic.

The PPG recruited sixty volunteers from the PPG and the wider community.

The marshals generally each work a one hour shift, in all weathers. The vaccination clinics can start at 8am and go on until 8pm.

Our practice has only limited car parking spaces and to address this problem a PPG member suggested that a nearby business be approached to request that it allow part of its car park as an overflow car park. The company agreed to this and for each vaccination session we need to provide four marshals.

Directional road signs were also put together by the PPG and these are placed out by our members before each vaccination clinic and removed afterwards.

*Editors note:

Charlotte Luck was awarded Practice Manager of the year in the 2020 General Practice Awards scheme and her excellent work during the pandemic was mentioned in a Parliamentary debate. Charlotte is a great supporter of our PPG and always goes out of her way to assist us.

Chairman, Meads Patients’ Participation Group