The PPG met regularly in 2016, with members participating in a number of different activities internal to the Practice as well as in Camden-wide events.
External participation in activities
A presentation on the newly launched Camden Integrated Digital Records (CIDR) was provided by Nigel Slator from the Camden CCG in February, to bring members up to date on how access to records is being shared and protected within Camden health and care services.
A member of the PPG, Kathy Graham-Harrison, was elected to join CPPEG – Camden Patient Public Engagement Group – and the PPG received regular and valuable feedback from her on CPPEG discussions and health policy issues in Camden. CPPEG open meetings were held regularly during the year, and were attended by several members of the PPG. At the last one in November, Loni Booker (Associate Practice Manager) and Gill Walt (Chair) did a short presentation on how the PPG and the Practice work together.
The Care Quality Commission inspected the James Wigg Practice on 22 September. Two members of the PPG attended the presentation made by Philip Posner to the members of the CQC team, and were later interviewed by the head of the CQC team. One of the CQC team talked to patients in the reception area. The results were published in January, and are available on the CQC website. The Practice did very well, was judged to be good, and the only area ‘needing improvement’ was in relation to patient access to appointments and telephone services. This was not unknown, and is probably common to every GP Practice in London.
The PPG is also a member of the National Association of Patients Participation (N.A.P.P), whose newsletters are uploaded on the PPG page of the James Wigg Practice website, and are also sent to the PPG email list.
Internal participation activities
In March PPG members designed and carried out a small study on nursing in the Practice, to ascertain whether these had improved after some changes had been made in services. Six questions were asked of patients exiting from nurse appointments, regarding their satisfaction with the service. The results were reassuring and demonstrated a high degree of satisfaction.
From late September to October a PPG-initiated Advance Care Planning month took place during the period devoted especially to Flu Clinics. Leaflets about advance care planning were printed and distributed to patients; information was made available on the TV screens in reception; and posters were put in the corridor. Lessons were learned from the experience – eg the need to make front-line staff more aware about what advance care planning is – so that they would be more pro-active in their interactions with patients. The PPG and Practice will work together to repeat the experience in 2017 in order to raise consciousness among patients about advance care planning.
In October PPG members met staff from Reception, and a very lively meeting resulted in a number of proposals for improving patients’ experience in queuing for Reception, among other things. PPG members found it useful to learn of the different tasks undertaken by Reception staff, and it was agreed to hold another meeting in six months’ time.
A number of activities were undertaken to try to widen participation in the PPG. The PPG leaflet (explaining what the PPG is and does and how to participate in it) was redesigned and made simpler. In June – during National PPG week – PPG members handed out the leaflets to patients entering or leaving the Kentish Town Health Centre – and spoke to those interested. It was felt afterwards that this was not a particularly helpful way to reach patients or encourage participation.
PPG meetings have led to information exchanges between the Practice and patients on a number of different issues (prescriptions, telephone service, patient on-line services, out of hour services, new appointments among many other things). PPG meetings have also raised wider issues, such as concerns over the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs). From some of these discussions actions have been taken, in the form of writing letters (eg to ensure the phlebotomy service was not moved from KTHC) to changes in letters going from the Practice to patients who failed to turn up to appointments. The PPG also worked with the Practice on the production of a newsletter which is informative for both patients and staff.
In summary, the year was a positive one for the relationship between the PPG and the Practice. The Chair and Vice-Chair met regularly – before each PPG meeting – with the Lead GP link, Natasha Smeaton, and the Associate Practice Manager, Loni Booker, who both attended all PPG meetings. Other GPs from the Practice also attended some PPG meetings. The meeting between Reception staff and PPG members was perceived by all to have been a valuable exchange. From these on-going discussions issues have been identified and acted on where possible, to facilitate and improve the relationship between patients and the Practice.