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Whitewater Health Patients’ Participation Group – how we adapted our role to meet the changing needs of the Practice

Whitewater Health PPG has eleven members with a variety of backgrounds and skills. The Practice (18,000 patients) is based on two sites in North Hampshire.

We have an excellent relationship with the Practice. The Practice Operations Manager and GP attend every PPG meeting.

In 2020 we quickly adapted our role to meet the changing needs of the Practice. As well as representing patients in key Practice decisions, we have undertaken several projects in recent years.

In 2018/19 we became aware of issues with prescriptions and conducted a patient survey to identify problems. We shared relevant survey results with the three local pharmacies and the Practice. We helped each of them develop action plans. The pharmacies and Practice streamlined their internal processes and jointly took part in training arranged by the Practice. We created and shared communications to patients about the prescription process and their role in it. Since these efforts, prescription service issues have declined.

During 2020 we adjusted our role by quickly adapting to online business and focusing on patient communications and mental health needs. We introduced a performance template to enable the Practice to keep us informed of operational metrics (telephony, staffing etc) and to allow us to identify trends, even when working more remotely. We improved our local network to ensure we could quickly disseminate critical communications.

In 2021 the Practice informed us of the increased demand for mental health support and we rapidly produced a one-page interactive document for patients in all age groups which summarised the support provided by local organisations and gave direct contact links.  This document proved very useful to GPs and we were asked to share it with our local Parishes, PCN and CCG. As a direct result of our pandemic experiences we set up a PPG Facebook page.

Chair, Whitewater Health PPG