R.J. Mitchell Patient Participation Group Chairman’s Annual Report for 2014-2015

The R.J. Mitchell Medical Practice covers the surgeries at Butt Lane and Waterhayes (Chesterton). It is serviced by 3 GP’s and a range of Nurses and Midwives together with a Practice Manager and Admin. Staff.

To meet new Government requirements, patients were approached in early 2012 to set up a voluntary Patient Participation Group (PPG) with a mission to give more voice to patient views and work to improve services and standards within the practice.

During the year there have been 2 members leaving the Group and 3 new members co-opted on.

Attendance at Group meetings is still difficult but has been partly resolved by varying the day and times to suit the members better at the mid and latter stages of this year.

We have switched the meeting times and venues to occur in the early evenings in order to improve the availability of working and non-working members.

Our objective is to involve a wider patient cross section in the decision making process.

Mid-Year fund raising with coffee mornings and raffles raised £550 for Prostate and Bowel Cancer.

A Big thank you to all those involved.

Again we are hoping to recruit a young adult to introduce a Webpage on the PPG website, to give a voice to teenage patients regarding issues particularly relevant to their needs. We feel that they should have a strong voice in the future of primary care.

During the year the PPG website has been regularly changed to advertise and reinforce important health initiatives.

I am pleased to announce that a Video screen has been installed at the Waterhayes surgery in Jan 2015 following the plan put forward last year.

Different topics of healthcare (selected by the Group each month) are made into a short video (approx. 15mins). The video loops continuously, allowing patients to take in the information whilst sitting in the waiting room. When the video is not playing, staff can run background music on the system which has been chosen to create a better ambience whilst patients are waiting to be called.

Initial Feedback from Patients is positive and it is thought that printed notices displayed on the waiting room Notice boards can be reduced.

We have replicated the video system at Butt Lane Surgery now that we have sorted out the technical problems with the existing equipment. Initial feedback is positive.

A Suggestion scheme was introduced to encourage Patient Participation and resulted in installing a Wall Clock, Comfortable Chairs and the playing of appropriate Back ground Music in the waiting area.

The surveys we have undertaken continue to highlight the need for a more effective, user friendly telephone system when patients try to contact the surgeries, (particularly first thing in the morning).

This problem is one which faces most other practices.

An analysis of the current system to ascertain if a feasible, more effective alternative can be found was carried out in mid-year. The cost of modifying/installing a new telephone system was found to be excessive. Studies at both surgeries showed that the first 10 minutes after the lines were open, they were receiving calls almost continually. The rate of calls dropped significantly after this period.

Clearly therefore it is the demand for same day appointments which is at the root of the problem.

Despite teething problems, the group is now beginning to address the immediate areas of concern for patients. Some members are also looking at the wider issues relating to the changes in the NHS management of local healthcare.

In order to help attract funding to undertake projects aimed at improving the effectiveness of the PPG, a Community Bank Account has been opened with Nat. West Bank in Feb. 2015, with 3 members as signatories.

A funding request to Newcastle Community Chest was then submitted in Mid Feb.

The PPG continues to be an active member of the North Staffs. Locality Group, which covers the 7 Practices in our area.

Through the strength of this group we are better able to influence what decisions are taken by the CCG. (Care Commissioning Group).

My thanks go to all the Group Members who give their time voluntarily and to the Practice for the use of the facilities.

The contributions and willingness of the Practice Team to take a positive view of changes to improve patient services should help move things forward in 2015.

Colin Oakley (Chairman)