Schopwick Patient Participation Group – PPG Awareness Week
Our practice operates from two sites serving a total of around 13,000 patients. We are lucky that as a teaching practice, it has had the opportunity to recruit some of the best clinicians and support staff and generally receives very positive reviews from patients for the services provided.
Originally the PPG was created with the intention of a core committee and a wider group of patients. The idea was this group would act as a sounding board for feedback and ideas. In practice, the wider group has never been active and we have never managed to recruit a group that truly reflects the demographics of the patient community. However, the committee consists of 13 members who have varied backgrounds with considerable experience as patients whilst a number are either still working or have worked within the NHS. Together the committee members bring valuable knowledge and understanding to support both patients and the practice.
To date, the committee has been partially funded by the practice supplemented by donations given by attendees at face to face events (pre-Covid). The committee has a formal Terms of Reference, meets monthly and has an AGM to elect officers – Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Our monthly meetings are attended by the Practice Manager and/or a senior doctor. If they cannot attend, they provide an update to our chair before the meeting.
What we do
Our main activities have been speaker events where we invite practising experts to present a specific topic. Over the past few years, these have included events covering Anxiety & Depression, Back Pain, Diabetes, the Menopause, Nutrition, Covid and Mental Wellbeing and Skin Cancer. Pre-Covid, we arranged these events at a local hall and they have been generally well attended and well received. Events are advertised by targeted texts sent out by the practice as well as posters on the practice website and on Facebook. Pre Covid we also produced printed posters for distribution in the surgeries.
In the past we have also organised Healthy Living Events where we arranged for a variety of stands that promoted both healthy living activities and services. Prior to Covid, we had been planning another event, possibly to be undertaken with other practices in our PCN, but obviously that has been postponed for the time being.
Naturally, all our face to face events have been abandoned during the past year but we have managed a few on-line events. We have found it difficult to recruit suitable speakers for these and although the number of patients registering has been on a par, if not better, than for the previous face to face events, the attendance on the day has been disappointing. We consider that people are now tiring of on-line events and do not plan any more.
We are also proud of the relationship we have with the practice and work hard to support it. We are often used by the practice as a sounding board for new ideas such as revisions to the appointments or telephone systems. We organise and write a periodic newsletter written on behalf of the practice with key input from both clinicians and administrative staff. Although we aim for a newsletter two to three times a year, we only publish one when we agree there is something useful to state. Pre Covid, we produced a printed copy which was available in the surgeries but we also email copies to our wider PPG members, place it on the practice website and text links to the on-line copy to patients, where appropriate.
Additionally, we have supported the practice in helping develop and analyse patient surveys, review website design as well as being actively involved with the proposals for a new practice surgery building to replace one of the locations which is becoming unsuitable for the delivery of 21st century primary care.
Secretary, Schopwick Surgery Patient Participation Group