The purpose of this page is to report in general terms what happens in Patient Participation Group (PPG) meetings.
Topics for PPG Meetings
A recurring theme of our PPG is recruiting more members. So far we have about 10 members, but the consensus is the more people the better. One of the highlights of the meetings has been a chance to meet people with different roles within the practice.
It really helped to have one of the practice receptionists explain life on the front desk. For example, you can help your surgery by not phoning for test results until after lunch. It’s obvious to me now that the receptionists are overloaded by desperate patients trying to make appointments between 8:30 and 11:00.
It was also most useful to enlist the receptionists in recruiting new members through posters, leaflets and taking the names of interested patients.
A Nurse’s View
Until one of the nurses took the time and trouble to address our meeting I had not realized how frustrating it was for medical professionals when people did not show for their appointments. The worst case was 19 missed appointments. One side-effect was the resurrection of notices displaying how many appointments were missed during the last week. The PPG members were incensed by patients cavalier treatment, suggests ranged from fines to hanging! My idea was that those who missed appointments could only have a new appointment at the end of the treatment window, that way a no-show would be less disruptive given that surgeries often run late at the end of the morning.
A Doctor’s View
What struck me about the attitude of the doctor (and the nurse above) was that even thought patients did naughty things, like miss appointments, or come in with a shopping list of complaints, the doctor and nurse were so caring, they thought about the worst case scenario, they did not want a draconian system which meant they missed someone who had a serious problem.
Another side of the doctor’s attitude was that they would like to do even more for the patients, but in truth the patients have the ability to swamp the system.
My guess is the practice manager is a crucial figure in cementing the PPG. They not only provide practical support in terms of a meeting room, but also our practice manager is fountain of knowledge about all matters to do with the surgery and the broader health system.
The PPG Chairmen
We are fortunate in having an excellent chairman, who knows how to prepare, and work through an agenda. Furthermore, while all members clearly care about the PPG, the chairman goes the extra mile for the group, and outside the meetings, for the community.
Our secretary is the unsung heroine in faithfully recording the minutes of each meeting.
How the appointments phone service could be improved.
Desire for hospital records to be made available more easily in the surgery. Also for surgery records to be available to a hospital when a patient was admitted as an emergency.
Transport for patients to hospitals. It may not be realized that most surgery patients are elderly, many may not be able to drive – especially if they are ill. See more on Droitwich hospital transport problems.
It’s only natural that PPG members raise their own experiences of the health system, and what sticks in their memory is problems they had. It left me feeling that my problems were relatively insignificant, and that I have been lucky in having great medical treatment. There was a general feeling that it was the administration rather than the medical staff which caused the greatest frustration.
A PPG is collection of ordinary people with a desire to make a difference to what happens in their surgery. These are my reasons joining the patient participation group:
Contact Guy Thomas