PPG Chairs Report 2018

I am delighted to let you have the Chairs Report for 2018, my second year of this role. I had planned to pass the Chair’s role on to Malcolm Harley after my two years, however Malcolm has requested that I continue for a further year which I am happy to do, although this will be my final year as Chair.

In 2018, we welcomed our new Practice Manager, Sarah Bryant, who came to the practice with 18 years of Practice Management experience. We are pleased with the improvements that Sarah has overseen this year which include: Implementation of monthly protected learning time for all staff working at the practice; Clinical Pharmacist run medication reviews for patients taking four or more medicines; Prescription delivery service for housebound patients; Improved access to GP appointments by offering extra appointments for our patients at Staunton, Newent and Tewkesbury practices; Creation of additional consulting space.

During the year, three of our members resigned for personal reasons – Jane Evans, David Bubb and Roger Boaler. I would like to thank all three for their support, especially Jane who was a longstanding member of many years. I am pleased that we have recruited two new members to fill the gaps – Jenni Fenech from Ashleworth who brings her experiences of being a carer to the group and Ella Newbould from Hartpury who is our first virtual member which means Ella inputs to the PPG via email rather than attendance at meetings! Ella is a student and a valuable representation of our younger population.

We have met six times in 2018. Sarah Bryant has attended all our meetings and two of our meetings were joint meetings attended by Dr Whittle or Dr Chambers. We have also welcomed Maggie Etheridge, Practice Nurse to one of our meetings and invited Sarah Davies, Dementia Friendly Community Enabler (FOD) to regularly attend our meetings.

Locally members of the PPG have attended the Gloucestershire PPG Network meetings in Churchdown and the TNS (Tewkesbury, Newent and Staunton) Locality meetings. Attendance at these meetings ensures that we keep up to date with local developments, especially those concerned with improving patient access and whether our patients may benefit from any of the ideas. It also allows us to feel confident that our practice is providing the best possible services for our patients.

Nationally, the PPG is affiliated to the National Association of Patient Participation (NAPP) and we receive useful information on national developments in the wider NHS, in general practice and what other PPGs are doing.

PPG Aims in 2018

We set ourselves two aims for 2018 and I would like to update you on our progress against each of these.

  • Help tackle loneliness by signposting carers and patients to local supportive networks
  • Continue to promote self-help and wellness by improving patient’s knowledge of where to access health advice

Our first aim was to ‘Help tackle loneliness by signposting carers and patients to local supportive networks’.

We have achieved this as follows:

We have been very fortunate in the huge input Sarah Davies has provided in raising awareness of services available locally for people with dementia and their carers. Sarah is one of five Dementia Friendly Community Enablers employed by the Forest of Dean District Council working to develop a network of community links which will contribute to the Forest of Dean becoming a more dementia friendly place.

Sarah posts a regular Dementia news items across all the Forest of Dean practice catchment. She arranged for the NHS Health Bus to park up in Staunton during Dementia Awareness Week in May and her team of Enablers were on hand to provide information to people with Dementia and their carers. More recently she has started a gardening group for her clients. Moving forward we need to identify similar support for our patients living in Cheltenham and Tewkesbury District Council areas.

We have written several articles in our Surgery Newsletter aimed at sign posting our older and more lonely patients including:  How to access Community Wellbeing Services; What Local Transport is available? Information for patients referred to see a Specialist; Role of the Practice Clinical Pharmacist in medication review

We are collating information across the practice catchment area of activities available to older or lonely people. This piece of work has involved accessing Parish magazines, free newspapers and trawling internet sites to pull everything together. We are now looking at publishing the information into a booklet that will eb available to all our patients.

We have been working closely with FVAF on this project and our information collated for the FOD catchment area is to be used by them in their Forest Compass publication which provides information about services and activities across the whole of the FOD. Moving forward we need to identify a suitable partner within Cheltenham and Tewkesbury District Council to help support our project.

Our second aim was to ‘Continue to promote self-help and wellness by improving patient’s knowledge of where to access health advice’.

We have achieved this as follows:

  • We have posted several articles in our Surgery Newsletter encouraging self-help and wellness including: launch of a series of Self Help leaflets on managing common ailments without the Doctor for example: Coughs and Colds; Backpain; Headache; Indigestion; Hay fever; We have also written about How to access Community Well-being Services and provide updates and reminders about Patient Access
  • The PPG uses the Surgery website to post all newsletters and minutes of PPG meetings. We have arranged with the Doctors to make the series of Self Help leaflets available on the website too.
  • These two hugely important and very broad aims will be continued into 2019. In addition to working on our main aims, the PPG has also:

Provided help and supposed towards older, retired patients and we have tried hard to recruit younger, working people and parents of small children. As a PPG we wish to ensure that all patients needs are being met by the practice and strongly encourage any of the latter group to contact us to become involved if they feel there are any gaps in service provision.

To end, I would like to thank all our Group Members for your hard work, ideas and contributions over the last year: Malcolm Harley, Vice Chair; Norman Davies; John Leask; Donald Peach; Ann Watkins; Jenni Fenech and Ella Newbould.

– Sue Knox 8/1/2019