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Patient Participation Group Report (March 2013)

The practice continues to have a broad demographic with 57.6% of all registrations in the last 37 months coming from non-English origin patients. A breakdown of this shows the following:

Area of Patient Origin% of registrations (Jan 10 - Jan 13)% change over last 12 months
Africa12.1+13.1
Eastern Europe26.6-4.3
Western Europe (excluding UK)6.1+8.9
Asia - India/Pakistan4.6+15.0
Asia - Far East & China1.9-13.6
Americas - North & South1.1+22.2
Middle East5.2+62.5
UK42.4-7.1

Figures also show that 26.02% of all new registrations in this period are people who require the services of an interpreter, therefore making their participation in any patient reference group more problematic.

The current practice patient profile also shows there is a split of 51.7% male to 48.3% female and a large proportion (64%) are either under the age of 35 or over 65 which statistics suggest are less likely to participate in surveys, project groups or similar.

Data also demonstrates that during 2012, in addition to the approx. 2000 patients gained by the merger of Dr Larah's and Dr Ghosh's practices, there were 918 patients leaving and 1063 patients joining, a net increase of 145 which is continuation of a trend we do not see changing in the near future.

Initially patients had been approached by reception staff and canvassed as to their participation. This allowed for a wide range of patient groups to be targeted. When it became clear that the majority of those interested were of White British origin, the issue was raised at the weekly practice meeting and GPs/nurses were asked to approach patients from all minority groups to try and recruit further volunteers. This measure was supported by notices in the waiting area and on electronic patient call boards. The transient nature of many of the practice population generates limited interest in groups such as this but we continue to try and recruit delegates both in-house, and by encouraging those patients who have expressed an interest to spread the word. Patients acquired in the merger with Dr Ghosh were also targeted to join the PPG with several expressing interest and attending one or more meetings.

Discussions at PPG meetings up to March 2012 had suggested that the majority of patients were happy to look at a meeting frequency of anywhere from two to four per year. It was collectively decided therefore that for 2012/13 we would look at having three meetings, tentatively scheduled for July (post-merger), November and March (delayed to April due to the early Easter holiday in 2013).

The July meeting was held on 26th July (click here to download minutes) when amongst other things, the content for construction of the 2012 patient survey was discussed. A draft version was then drawn up and issued to the PPG members for comment with a final revised version prepared for distribution to the general patient population.

The second meeting was held on 29th November (click here to download minutes) with representation from both male and female patients, largely of White European origin although there was representation from both the Jewish community and the British Asian sector. Recruitment from ethnic minorities remains difficult due to a general lack of interest, language and/or interpretation needs and limited support from local minority social groups. There was also a problem due to the age range of many of the minorities as particularly, most members of the immigrant population are in the "younger" age-range and therefore have less need for, or interest in, Primary healthcare issues.

Details of the patient survey were published in hard copy format at this meeting and circulated to all members of the PPG for discussion.

Details of the survey and results can be downloaded here.


Action Plan

The main issue evident from the survey was the lack of appointments at times along with some less "popular" concerns.

Suggested actions were as follows:

Appointments

  • Increase number of "same day" appointments
  • GPs to have allocated phone-consults each day
  • DNAs - the PPG would support a 3-stage "warning-and-out" process for repeat offenders
  • Additional Surgeries/Slots have generated 100+ extra consults per week
  • Continuation of extended hours service
  • Text message agreed as best form of reminder, however this is not possible before the practice changes its phone system with the relocation due Summer 2014. However, the practice will work on ensuring all contact details are as up-to-date as possible
  • Practice to investigate and initiate installation of an on-line appointments booking system

Prescriptions

  • Scripts greater than 1 month may not always be appropriate as GPs wish to check progress of treatment and encourage patient engagement. Also PCT directives are against this as there often is unnecessary wastage of medications
  • Email ordering is now an option although it was felt this could be better advertised. This has been changed in the practice leaflet and also highlighted on the current manual re-order slips

Other

  • Future surveys could be distributed in different ways to improve completion and submission, i.e. by patients who are waiting for their appointments to see GPs / Nurses
  • The waiting area should be de-cluttered as individual messages and information get "lost" within. A practice specific notice board should be set up to facilitate this