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PPG Report 2012

Parsonage Surgery is a small, dynamic Surgery catering for the health needs of approximately 3500 patients from Bishops Stortford and the surrounding villages. The Surgery has had an active Patient Group since 2006 and has been involved in a number of projects in this time. In the early days of the meetings things were informal and numbers were small, with loyal, regular contributors looking at issues facing the Surgery and patients alike. Some of the things this original group facilitated included a review of the DNA (Did Not Attend), complaints policy feedback about Reception protocols and, most importantly, a voice in the discussions around new premises development and were ultimately part of the team that secured the move to the current location at Herts and Essex Hospital. To all those members at that time the Surgery owes a huge vote of thanks.

Towards the beginning of 2010 the Group started to further formalise with a chair person and some terms of reference being agreed, and in 2011 the numbers started to swell to the maximum figure we currently have of 20+ attending the monthly meeting, and over 75 on the email list. It can be difficult to measure exact numbers engaged as by the very nature of the Group and the increasing patient population, this allows for patients to attend when they are able and communicate not just in person, but by phone or electronically as and when they wish. The Surgery employed a new team member in 2011 who, alongside other responsibilities, provides an open electronic communication link and attends meetings.

It is part of the aim of the Group to represent all constituent parts of the registered population. To facilitate this, the monthly meeting Group decided that a mail out to the whole Surgery population would be essential to ensure no one was missed. The letter was drafted by the Practice and agreed by Group representatives. It was then that the group suggested that if we were writing to every patient then it would be an ideal time to send the leaflet that had been discussed at a previous meeting to inform all patients of the up to date services at the practice, including opening times and the two key clinical team details. The ins and outs of this can all be viewed in the minutes but suffice to say the Practice Manager was delighted with this outcome and the team set about designing a new leaflet and rebranding the Surgery logo and the letter and leaflet were sent.

This letter and leaflet resulted in a number of people making contact with the Practice to express their views, and many more providing their email address to be added to the mail out list and the monthly meeting numbers swelling. All patients when registering at the Surgery now receive information on joining the participation Group, ensuring that no one misses the opportunity to be involved.

The Group looked closely at the demographic information regarding the Surgery population but expressed that as long as everyone was offered the opportunity to join then they did not want the focus of their survey to be detailed personal demographics. As a result, only the gender and age of participants were recorded.

The questions to go on to the questionnaires were discussed in October 2011 and later finalised by a couple of representatives from the Group. The questionnaires were then available to anyone visiting the Surgery in hard copy, and an email link to survey monkey was sent to all those for whom we hold addresses. All the hard copy responses were then manually entered into survey monkey by the Patient Group representatives with a final number of 242 responses analysed.

You said...We did...Progress so far...
Send a leaflet with the letter inviting population to join the Patient Group. Redesigned the logo.
Drafted a letter and leaflet and sent to every listed patient.
Every patient has been sent a letter and leaflet.
All new patients are given a letter and leaflet at the point of registration and both are available to download on the website.
Don't give us forms over 1 A4 page long. Redesigned the registration form and limited the questionnaire to fit on one A4 page. Surgery registration form only 1 A4 page.
Transport is still an issue for many visiting not just the Surgery but the Hospital. Continued to lobby local Council and invited them to meet with the Group. The community bus service is due to be launched in May 2012.
Make the skills of the nurse better known. Detailed nurse skills in the leaflet and updated the website. Leaflet sent to every household.
We want a notice board. Put up a notice board. Notice board up and checked weekly by named team member.
People are not aware of the interview room for private conversations. Put a large sign at Reception and re-briefed all Reception Staff to be sensitive to this issue. Interview room usage has increased.
Display DNA rates. Display DNA rates weekly and monthly. Named team member displays DNA rates.
Reception can seem very busy for one team member. We have rearranged work patterns to allow for busy times to be better covered and are recruiting for 2 new staff. New work patterns in place for current team and advertisements close end of March for new team.
We don't like locums. While being a necessity, we will develop a pool of tried and tested locums and will cover upcoming maternity leave with the minimum number of clinicians. One locum will be covering much of the upcoming maternity leave and a couple of others have been identified as working well at the Surgery. The lead GP will also be increasing his presence from March.
Need magazines in waiting area. Put magazines in waiting area. Done.
Water in waiting area. Instructed Reception team to direct those in need of water to the water fountain at the end of the corridor and put a note on the board to let waiting patients know. Done.
Some GPs/Dentists use text messaging to remind us of appointments. Can you? We have started a drive for mobile phone numbers on record so we can do this and will prioritise this for next year. We now have 1600 mobile numbers on record and will continue to collect these and will aim to instigate a trial of text services in August 2012.
25% of patients surveyed do not know about the online prescription service. We have added a new piece on the website about this and have added it to the registration form and on the call board. GPs have also been re-briefed as it was felt they were not all sure about this service. Done.
Not all the Reception team seems to have the same level of knowledge. All Reception team attended customer service training in 2011 and individuals have been given specific training to aid their development in identified areas. Training is considered a compulsorily ongoing exercise at Parsonage Surgery and this will continue in line with each individuals needs.

Just a few of the other things the group have done not otherwise mentioned...

  • Attended the Bishops Stortford and surrounding area Conversation cafe arranged and facilitated by the Primary Care Trust NHS Hertfordshire
  • Worked with A consultant to NHS Hertfordshire on the transforming Pathology project acting as a focus group
  • Started a regular contribution to the locally published Parsonage Herald
  • Attended an introduction to Practice finance talk
  • Affiliated to NAPP (National Association of Patient Participation)
  • Representative members have attended various wider health economy meetings
  • Met with local council officials
  • Met with various team members from the surgery
  • Corresponded with local planners and schools

Things for the future

  • Meeting with the PCT to discuss the use of the Summary Care record
  • Opening links with other patient groups to find common issues
  • Looking at peripheral services to find new ways of the surgery supporting those most in need.
  • Increasing the number of patients who are active on email or attend the meetings


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Herts & Essex Hospital, Cavell Drive, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, CM23 5JH
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