The Practice has a well established Patient Participation Group which has been running since 2005.  The Patient Participation Group has always been a valuable asset to the Practice giving input from the patient’s point of view, making suggestions to improve working practice and care of patients and assisting the Practice in decisions. The Patient Participation Group meets regularly.

As a practice we realised that there are many patients who would like to have a say about the services provided by Nelson Medical Group but are unable to attend the Patient Participation Group meetings.  So in accordance with the recommendations of the Patient Participation Directed Enhanced Services - public accountability and patient involvement ‘no decision about me without me’ we started a Patient Reference Group in 2011 which consists of patients who are willing to be contacted through email. 

We advertised for patients interested in joining a Patient Reference Group through posters displayed in the waiting area and leaflets.  The initiative was promoted by all members of the Practice and interested patients were given a form to complete.  Letters, leaflets and forms were sent to many patients to advertise the Patient Reference Group in order to recruit as many patients as possible over a complete cross section of our Practice population.  The District Nurses promote the Group by handing out forms to housebound patients and patients in nursing homes.  The Health Visitors hand out forms to young parents.  Information about the Group is on the web site.  We continue to promote the Patient Reference Group as above.  We continue to recruit members to the Patient Participation Group through advertising in the Practice and on the web site, this is also promoted by the health professionals in the Practice.

We are always delighted by the number of patients willing to be part of the Patient Reference Group.  Both groups have a Constitution and Mission Statement.  Both groups look at the results of the Practice survey and give the Practice the benefit of their views, input their experience as patients of the Practice, give their opinions on the service, staffing and care provided to patients, propose ideas to improve the service provided to patients, say what they would like to see happening and be involved in changes in the Practice.

The Patient Participation Group meet in the Practice, the Patient Reference Group are contacted by email.  The two Groups have fulfilled our expectations that they complement each other, the Patient Reference Group consisting of a wider group of patients with regular contact with the Practice through emails.  The opinions and suggestions of the Patient Reference Group are discussed with the Patient Participation Group at meetings in the Practice.  The minutes of the Patient Participation Group are emailed to members of the Patient Reference Group for comments and discussion.

The Groups have members aged 17 to over 84 years, 42% of the Groups are male and 58% are female, 30% of the members are working, 52% are retired, 8% are full time housewives, 5% are unemployed and 5% are carers.  Some of the members have one or more long term medical condition so have a valuable insight into the way the NHS works.  

The problems we faced when Pharmacies were requesting patients repeat medication but not checking that all items were actually required has been addressed.  This was discussed with the Patient Forum members and it was highlighted that bulk retention of medication for certain patients was a potential danger.  We therefore advised Pharmacies that we would no longer accept requests from them unless it could be demonstrated that the patient was unable to make the request themselves or via a family/friend member.  

Our on-line services have been increased so that patients can now not only see any recorded allergies and a list of their medications but their detailed coded records of their consultations.

We commissioned a CFEP UK survey, the same survey we regularly commission as agreed with the Patient Participation Group.  All members of both Groups were sent copies of the survey and were asked to give feedback to aid the Practice in formulating the Action Plan for 2016/17.  We continue to have a high score on facilities provided for patients but there is ongoing concern regarding access to appointments and for waiting times in Surgery, which we continue to attempt to address with ongoing recruitment campaigns for additional GP sessions.  However we are happy to announce that our percentage of patients who rate our services as good, very good or excellent has increased this year to 85%.

The proposed business plan and action plan were sent to the Patient Reference Group for their views and suggestions.

The Patient Participation Group members have been involved in discussions about the work of the North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group and the Council of Practices. The work of the Commissioning Group is discussed at every Patient Participation Group meeting and the meetings.  We have two active members of our Patient Participation Group that attends the CCG Patient Participation group allowing for feedback and for a good conduit of communication between the Practice and the CCG. 

The Practice is open 8.30am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday and the services can be accessed through the telephone or in person. In addition patients can make appointments, cancel appointments or order prescriptions review allergies, see a list of the current medication and review the coded entries of their consultations through the internet.  

The Practice has supported the local locality and CCG in providing services for patients in the local area at nearby GP surgeries during long bank holiday weekends.

The Practice is very grateful to all members of the Groups who give so freely of their time, make suggestions, give opinions and aid the Practice in decision making.  We are especially grateful to the two members of the Patient Participation Group who are also very active members of the Patient Forum giving freely of their time, cascading information, timely communication, working as excellent ambassadors for the well-being of patients in North Tyneside.                                                                                                                                                                           

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