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Patient Participation Group Report (February 2014)

The practice continues to have a broad demographic with 55.5% of all registrations in the last 48 months coming from non-English origin patients. A breakdown of this shows the following:

Area of Patient Origin% of registrations (Jan 10 - Dec 13)% change over last 12 months
Eastern Europe24.6-7.5
Western Europe (excluding UK)6.4+4.9
Asia - India/Pakistan4.5-2.2
Asia - Far East & China1.9nil
Americas - North & South1.1nil
Middle East5.4+3.9

Figures also show that 22.2% 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 51.9% male to 48.1% female and still 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 2013, there were 1024 patients leaving and 591 patients joining, a net decrease of 433 which is different to the trend of recent years and has largely come about because of the fact that we had close our list to new registrations for a period of four months (May - Aug) in order to recruit additional GP capacity to assist with access issues.

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 again 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 2012 merger with Dr Ghosh were also targeted to join the PPG with several expressing interest and attending one or more meetings. Further participation was canvassed during the week before each meeting by the reception staff handing out flyers with a brief to focus on all patients representative of the practice's current demographic and by information displayed on the practice website.

Previous discussions at PPG meetings 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 2013/14 we would again look at having three meetings, tentatively scheduled for April, August and January (partially timed to assist with development of the survey process and analysis/reporting of results).

Letters and waiting area notices were distributed / displayed before each meeting. The April meeting was held on 18th April (click here to download minutes) when amongst other things, patient access and the content for construction of the 2013 patient survey was loosely discussed. A similar process was adopted for the second meeting in August 2013 (click here to download minutes) when the issue of the Patient Survey was given increased focus and key areas were identified for inclusion in the survey process. The survey was then constructed, reviewed by the group throughout September and ultimately issued to the patients in October. Details of this survey and results can be found in here.

The third meeting was held on 30th January 2014 (click here to download minutes) with representation from both male and female patients, from the Jewish community, Black British, White British 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 and feedback.

Action Plan

Whilst GP access remains an issue, there is a consensus that there have been some improvements in this area, particularly with the temporary suspension of new registrations and the recruitment of an additional GP during the summer of 2013.

Other suggested actions were as follows:

  • PPG to provide feedback on areas in which communication to patients can be improved (e.g. further development of website) and how additional members can be recruited to the group reflect the overall practice population
  • Options for development of a "virtual" PPG to be examined to promote better attendance
  • Waiting area to be de-cluttered with a review of existing signage/call-boards to better promote messages to all patients
  • Patients to be further canvassed with a view to obtaining details of what additional services could or should be provided in the neighbourhood, either as part of any innovation monies or, when additional capacity becomes available when the practice eventually relocates
  • Practice to ensure all new and/or less experienced staff are appropriately trained in order that no incomplete or confusing information is given to patients
  • Efforts to improve the volume of patients using on-line services need to be stepped up as this will reduce daily pressures on the telephone and at the reception window(s)
  • 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 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 / website