Warders Patient Participation Group
[This newsletter is jointly produced by the Practice and the Patient Participation Group and is the first to be edited by the PPG.]
What we are and what we do
A growing number of GP surgeries now encourage Patient Participation Groups, or PPGs, that work with the doctors to improve services and promote health and quality of care.
Warders PPG started in 2010. Its objectives are to foster the highest possible standard of primary care through the medium of patient participation and promote cooperation between patients and Warders Medical Centre.
The Group aims to do this by:
Acting as a communication channel between patients and practice;
Helping to assess community needs;
Advising on health education requirements and promoting preventative medicine and healthy lifestyle choices; and
Expressing patient opinions on changes relating to the wider structure of health care in West Kent.
Membership is open to all patients and the staff of the Practice.
The Group is managed by a committee consisting of up to twelve members who are appointed either by vote at an Annual General Meeting or by co-option during the year.
One member is a partner from the Practice and for 2017 this is Dr Jess Martin. Warders Practice manager , Wendy Fenn, is also a key member of the committee.
Meetings are held four or so times during the year and normally all patients are welcome to attend and participate in discussion.
If you would like to get involved please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Whither the PPG?
Given the changes in primary care on the horizon, it is important that we have an active patient participation group for Warders.
A central preoccupation has been and, presumably, will continue to be, establishing a contact database so we can communicate with patients. We will still be looking for help from Warders by passing on the names of patients who want to know about the PPG. However, there are other ways the PPG can contact patients and activities that can assist the Practice.
This is why we asked Jo Pannell of Healthwatch to talk with us at the Annual General Meeting. Healthwatch has carried out a survey of the operation of PPGs in Kent. They consulted with nearly 100 PPG members and found many common problems. But they also found a variety of ways in which PPGs are helping general practices. These included supporting a local healthy living event, lobbying to change a bus route to better serve patients, organising a diabetes support group, and organising walking groups to improve lifestyle and tackle social isolation.
Warders PPG is planning a used book stall in one of the waiting rooms, to contact patients, provide a talking point and raise a little cash. What more might we do?
Come and listen to Jo Pannell and bring your ideas, and even more importantly your enthusiastic support.
The PPG’s Annual General Meeting has for the last three years provided an opportunity to bring patients up-to-date about changes in general practice and NHS provision more generally, led by the GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). The West Kent CCG GP Chair Dr Bob Bowes visited in 2016. View the 2016 presentation
Changing health and social care – where Warders fits
The big picture, of an ageing and growing population served by a care system and hospitals under increasing pressure does not fit easily with the experience of the majority of us. Generally we are well served and we are grateful for the care and professional treatment we experience. Warders patients are still able to get early appointments with our excellent doctors. But those who find it difficult to get social care, those who have had the dates of operations deferred and those who on occasion wait for hours in A&E are seeing some of the increasing shortcomings of the NHS.
The trend is for more and more treatment to be available outside hospitals. Many of us will be suspicious that in reality this is a way to cut costs and stretch scarce resources. But there is also a lot of sense in it. Given the right care, people are happier in their homes rather than in hospital and there is a real problem with bed blocking with patients not being able to be discharged. Hospital, primary and social care have been operated in separate bubbles rather than being coordinated. Patients records in primary care have not been available to ambulance staff and hospital. The various organisations responsible including Kent County Council want to put this right.
Organisationally, it is proposed that doctors’ surgeries should be linked in groups or ‘clusters’. Latest information is that our cluster could cover Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks operating from 24 surgeries and other sites and with 150,000 patients. The current aim is to integrate these practices with care teams from community, secondary care, social care and the voluntary sector. The system will allow easy access to the right clinician at the right time, whilst patients with complex needs are managed proactively in the community by a wider multidisciplinary team headed up by their GP and appropriate specialist. Where there is demand there would be enhanced primary care access – hours and days. A common database of patient records will be used.
It is really difficult for lay people to get their heads round these proposals. Already there are connections across health and social care but the proposals should bring the different organisations together more fully and more effectively. The changes are transformational in their aspiration.
However, as we all know, complex changes of this type depend on the enthusiastic engagement of all those involved and eliminating the devil from the detail. Making sure that the changes are good for patients, and that they are sustainable, simply has to involve us, the patients.
How to contact the PPG
Contact between the PPG and patients is really important and we ask patients to get in touch by e-mail at email@example.com to join our list of contacts.
(It should be noted that it is possible that e-mail addresses of those on the contacts list could become known to others on that list. Addresses will under no circumstances be disclosed to other organisations.)
Alternatively, the PPG can be contacted by leaving messages at the surgery. If necessary, telephone numbers can be left so patients can be contacted by a member of the committee.
Contributes articles on matters of interest to the Warders Newsletter
Has organised meetings for patients to talk to experts in a number of fields including diabetes, dementia and heart disease; has pressed for support for those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to be available in Tonbridge; and has promoted the services of Help for Carers, to assist those who spend much time looking after others.
Is involved in the development of changes to the provision of services through the West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group. and has passed information to, and encouraged the involvement of Warders patients in this work.
Is setting up a second hand book stall in the main waiting room.
Electronic Prescribing System
In June Warders are going to start taking part in the Electronic Prescribing System (EPS) which we hope our patients who have regular repeat prescriptions will find beneficial.
You will see Patient Notification Request Forms in the Tonbridge reception and waiting areas to complete and hand in to our reception desks. These inform us which pharmacy you wish your prescription to be sent to directly. You can change this nomination at any time by asking a member of staff at any pharmacy or at Warders – but please remember to give plenty of notice or your prescription might be sent to the wrong place.
* If you currently collect your repeat prescriptions from us, you will not have to do this any longer – your prescription will be sent electronically to the pharmacy, saving you time
* You can choose where to get your medication from – a pharmacy that is near where you live, work or shop
* You may also not have to wait as long at the pharmacy as there will be more time for your repeat prescriptions to be prepared.
* Tracking where your prescription is becomes easier, saving time for both you and the GP practice.
This is a voluntary service and if you sign up you can cancel at any time or request a paper prescription if it suits you.
Please note this does not affect our Penshurst patients who collect from the surgery dispensary.
We hope that many of our patients will find this new system advantageous and we are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Our Nursing Team – Goodbyes and Welcomes
It was with sadness we said goodbye to Nurse Suzanne West on her retirement in April. Suzanne had been with Warders for 13 years, was an integral and valuable member of the team, a highly professional individual and we will miss her.
We are, however, delighted to be able to welcome to our team Nurse Carys Pugh and Nurse Isabelle Davidge.
Carys joined us in September last year as a newly qualified nurse and in her few months with us has continued her professional development allowing her to take on more clinics and procedures. Carys studied at Canterbury Christ Church University while continuing to work as a Health Care Assistant – so she is used to being a busy lady! She works full time and shares her time between the Tonbridge and Penshurst surgeries. Carys is starting a diploma course on respiratory disease management later this year and in her spare time enjoys dancing and looking after her pet cat.
Isabelle joined us in March having recently moved to the area. Isabelle qualified from Liverpool University in 2008 and has worked in both secondary and primary care since qualifying in London and the north of England. Isabelle is also looking to increase her knowledge, particularly in the areas of CHD and Hypertension and has an interest in sexual health and contraception. In her spare time she enjoys walking, travelling and cooking.
Our Practitioner Team
This year the practice has welcomed Dr Martin -Partner ; Dr Ghaffar; Dr Marks; Dr Weston -Simons and Dr Blyth.
Keep up with current thinking on NHS Services
Up-to-date information from the West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group can be found at http://www.westkentccg.nhs.uk
Other useful sites include
NHS South East Commissioning Support Unit (provides support services to our and other CCGs) — http://www.southeastcsu.nhs.uk
Healthwatch (Champions patients’ interests) — http://www.healthwatch.co.uk/
The King’s Fund (Independent charity working to improve health and health care in England) — http://www.kingsfund.org.uk
NHS Choices (vast amount of general health information) — http://www.nhs.uk