The PPG met five times during 2017, welcomed new patients to the Thursday meetings and the email list, and undertook a number of different activities.

Thursday meetings were attended by the link doctor, Natasha Smeaton, and the practice manager, Loni Booker. Other doctors and staff members also attended some meetings. Between 10 – 15 patients participated in meetings, with agendas and minutes going out to an email list of about 70.

In July at a ‘Meet Your Practice’ evening 130 people squeezed into the gym, but in spite of the crowd, patients expressed appreciation for being able to voice their concerns, and an interest in hearing more about how the practice is run. Issues raised by patients included waiting times for appointments, not seeing the same doctor each visit, and outsourced services, among other things. Patients were introduced to the neighbourhood structure for NW5 GP practices and to the new clinical pharmacist. This was the first time that an invitation to a PPG meeting had been texted to patients with a mobile phone.

Activities

Reception staff invited PPG members to one of their regular lunch-time meetings, and a full discussion took place. PPG members learned about the different roles reception staff play, and some of the issues that arise for them in communicating and dealing with patients. PPG members were able to voice concerns about the way patients are greeted and the system to deal with long queues, among other things.

Another focus of interest for the PPG was supporting carers in the practice. A number of discussions were held and a letter was sent out to the practice’s 80 registered carers, to see what sort of support might be helpful. Representatives from both Camden Carers and Age UK met with PPG members, and attended PPG meetings to talk about what services are available. It was noted that one care navigator is attached to the practice, and the support she offers to patients is highly valued.

Response from carers to the letter sent out was limited, but three carers attended one PPG meeting, and led a lively discussion on their different needs. Part of ongoing activities for the PPG will explore whether there is any wish for a carer support group, run by and for carers.

Communication: presentations

Several presentations were made at PPG meetings during the year initiating discussion:

  • Daniel Davis, geriatrician and epidemiologist from UCL explained to PPG members the aims of the NHS linkage research study, which was recruiting patients from the practice. The study focuses on the impact of hospital admittance and discharge on elderly people.
  • Anna Wright, Deputy Director of Healthwatch, Camden provided a brief overview of the aims and objectives of the organization, and went on to talk about a couple of Healthwatch studies which had been completed during the past few months, including one on care homes.
  • Asif Dewan described the newly instituted clinical pharmacist scheme, whereby a clinical pharmacist would see patients taking multiple medicines in the practice on referral from their GP. The first clinical pharmacist was introduced at the PPG meeting in July.
  • Another new scheme – Physician Associates – was initiated in the practice during the year, and a new recruit explained the role of PA’s in the practice.
  • The Care Navigation Manager from Age UK spoke to the PPG about the work of Care navigators and described services available for carers in Camden.
  • The Wellbeing Hub Manager presented what services the hub in reception offers to patients.
  • PPG members were asked to comment on the design of the new website.
  • The PPG chair gave a brief talk about the PPG to the regular James Wigg staff meeting.

Communication: information exchange

Several newsletters were produced by the Practice Manager during the year, with inputs from the PPG, and distributed in reception and through the PPG email list.

NAPP (National Association on Patients Participation) produces a number of regular e-bulletins, and these were disseminated through the email list. They also occasionally conduct surveys which the PPG or Chair respond to, or distribute to the email list for PPG members to act on.

A survey run by the Practice (on knowledge of patients about access to their records) was disseminated through the email list, as was a letter to patients explaining the new extended hours service.

A number of consultations initiated by NHS England to hear patients’ views (on changes in prescription medicines, long term conditions services, the future of mental health acute day units) were shared with the PPG or disseminated through the email list.

Camden Patients Participation and Engagement Group (CPPEG)

CPPEG is part of the Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Two PPG members (Gill Walt and Kathy Graham-Harrison) were elected to CPPEG in 2016 and 2017, and attended monthly meetings during the year, half of which were open meetings, which all PPG members are welcome to attend. The PPG representatives serve on a number of different CCG committees.

At each PPG meeting there was feedback from CPPEG, so that members were kept informed about wider changes affecting Health services in Camden. Examples include the introduction of GP neighbourhoods and the GP Federation, new commissions for outsourced services, such as Muscular Skeletal services being taken over by UCL, and the extended hours’ service run by AT Medics.

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