In January 2014 the PPG (consisting of patient members and practice representatives) developed and adopted new terms of reference, which outlined the objectives of the PPG, membership, and general rules about the running of meetings.  A new chair and deputy chair were proposed from among the patient members.

The Terms of Reference appear on the PPG page of the James Wigg practice website: Terms of Reference

PPG activities

Setting up an email account

One of the first activities of 2014 was to try to extend representation of patients on the PPG, and to provide a forum for feedback and information exchange through a dedicated email address. Two sub-groups were established: one to look at initiating a specific email address for the PPG, which was separate from the Practice, and two, to discuss ways of enlarging the membership of the PPG and PPG email list, to include younger patients and those from different ethnic groups.

The email was set up at [email protected] and is now used as one of the main ways the PPG communicates with members.  Agendas and minutes are circulated to the PPG email list from this address, and members can raise issues through the email which can be brought to meetings for discussion.  The email address is managed by the Deputy Chair.

Widening representation

Widening representation was a more difficult task, and the PPG started by designing and then printing a leaflet about the PPG and what it does, and giving the new email contact.  During a week in October, several members of the PPG attended Reception, the Mother and Baby and Flu clinics to hand out the leaflet, to talk to patients about the PPG and to add names and email addresses to the PPG email list.  Several other initiatives were undertaken to talk to others about widening participation.  As a result of the exercise 20 names were added to the email list, and a poster, similar to the leaflet, was designed and is now posted in the glass noticeboards at either end of the corridor in Reception.

Improving the website

The PPG has been active in trying to get improvements to the website, both generally and to the PPG page.  It has been a frustrating year in this regard, and only small changes have been made to basic design flaws, uploading of new material, updating and maintaining the website, and creating a section on feedback.  Efforts to improve the situation are continuing, but the Practice has been hampered by poor service from Boilerhouse, the original designers who retain control, and insufficient dedicated personnel.

Feedback on appointments and complaints

The appointment system continued to be a factor of some concern to some patients. In the week long survey conducted by the PPG (see above) getting appointments with named doctors, in a timely manner, and waiting times, were common sources of expressed dissatisfaction.  These are complex issues for the Practice, not helped by a GP practice in Camden Road being closed and the resulting inflow of new registrations, demands from NHS England and general reforms and budget cuts introduced through the Health and Social Care Act.

The PPG asked the Practice for more information on complaints and how they were dealt with, and also observed that the website did not make clear how patients could give feedback – whether negative or positive.

Details of complaints logged at the Practice as well as those posted on the NHS website were tabled at the November meeting. Results from NHS showed that there had been an increase in complaints but PPG members were sceptical about how to interpret these, as they are anonymous. The Practice does ask those who complain anonymously to get in touch.

The Practice produced a summary of complaints made to the Practice. This summary – from both Queens Crescent (approx. 3300 patients) and James Wigg (approx. 20,500 patients) practices was welcomed by the PPG, and members noted that the total number of complaints was lower in 2014 than in 2013 although they did not cover the whole of the year.  This information will be available for all meetings.

Information and Communication

During the year, a number of initiatives which affected the Practice were outlined to the PPG members, and noted in minutes.  These included, for example, the Friends and Family test (FFT)  which sent texts to 10% of patients (ie about 100 patients of the 1000 seen at the Wigg Practice every week) to rank their experience by answering a question such as: ‘How likely are you to recommend our GP practice to friends and family if they require similar treatment’.  The FFT is currently being run by the Practice.

Other information regarding data sharing was discussed.  For example, the PPG was informed about the proposal Camden Integrated Digital Record (CIDR) which will go live in 2015.  This is a local initiative which will allow individual health and social care information to be accessed by health professionals in Camden in order to provide better, integrated care.

Support group initiated

Two PPG members initiated a support group for Cancer patients and carers, which meets on the first Tuesday of every month, at the Kentish Town health Centre, and provides an opportunity to exchange and learn from others’ experiences around issues to do with cancer.  A Diabetes Support Group also meets regularly at KTHC, on the first Monday of every month.

External to the Practice

A PPG member volunteered to become a member of the Camden Public Participation and Engagement group, (CPPEG), from early 2015, and will report back on CPPEG meetings. CPPEG is part of the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group). The chair and deputy attended a number of open meetings run by CPPEG on aspects on health in Camden. These meetings are open to anyone interested, and cover a wide variety of areas, such as 111 and Out of Hours Services, Care for the elderly in Camden, and the results of a survey of the Somali community in Camden, and their experience of health care.   PPG members are welcome to attend these open meetings, and information about them is circulated to the email list.

The PPG is a member of the National Association for Patient Participation, and any patient can access information on their website: to help improve GP services. An electronic newsletter is available through the website.

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