Parsonage Surgery is still growing and is now catering for the health needs of approximately 4300 patients from Bishops Stortford and the surrounding villages. The Patient Group has continued to flourish and has a rolling cohort of attendees to its now bi-monthly meetings many of whom have been with us for the duration of the formalised group. We still have a culture of open communication between the Surgery team and the patient group and regularly negotiate decisions together with loyal, regular contributors looking at issues facing the surgery and patients alike.
The Surgery team remain hugely grateful for the invaluable support and time given by all those who communicate with us and help us stay in touch with the every day experiences of those using our services, and remain committed to the original aims of the group in keeping us on track with delivering a service that is sustainable, appropriate, professional and ensures that the team keep listening and learning to ultimately deliver excellence in all areas of service.
The Chair Person has continued in post. He sends an ongoing column to the local “Parsonage Herald” which continues to be well received and has helped share local health priorities. Another active member attends Stort Valley and Villages Locality Patient Forum, and while this has been a challenge, she continues to make the Parsonage voice heard. This member has requested support for the Locality group meetings as she felt that there were times when the meetings eclipsed the patient priorities and focused purely on the politic tick box exercise. The Chair has offered her limited support and the group are still keen to find someone who would relish this strategic position and the opportunity to get involved in discussion at this locality level and feedback to the surgery Patient Participation Group.
The maximum figure of participants attending the Patient meetings has tended to average around 8-10 attendees, however the email list has grown from 110 to 230 and continues to grow steadily in line with the new registrations, many of these email addresses represent not just individuals but whole families. It can be difficult to measure exact numbers engaged at any moment in time by the very nature of the group, the steadily increasing patient population served by the group and indeed the new demographic this involves. This allows for patients to attend when they are able and communicate not just in person, but by phone or electronically as and when they wish.
The Surgery employed a new team member in 2011 who, alongside other responsibilities, provides an open electronic communication link and attends meetings. She has continued to work consistently with the group and will be undertaking training to become the Carers Lead within the Surgery team and hopes to engage a patient group champion to mirror her role within the Surgery team in the patient group.
The leaflets and joining letters designed and facilitated by the patient group, continue to be used for all new patient registrations ensuring that each and every member of the Surgery continues to be offered to join the group. The meetings’ dates for the patient group are displayed for a calendar year on the notice board in the Reception area. Minutes of the meetings are distributed after each meeting by Guppy, the team member employed to do this.
This letter and leaflet resulted in a number of people making contact with the Practice to express their views, and many more providing their email address to be added to the mail out list and the monthly meeting number swelling. During 2013-2014, this has continued to drive up the numbers receiving emails regarding the work of the patient group and having the ability to feed in to the group without necessarily attending meetings in person.
The Group looked closely at the demographic information regarding the surgery population, but expressed that as long as everyone was offered the opportunity to join, then they did not want the focus of their survey to be detailed personal demographics. As a result, only the gender and age of participants were recorded.
The patient group chose to repeat the original survey they had designed rather than complicate their original agenda and to measure the actions success. Again this year, members of the group volunteered their own time to come into the Surgery and talk to patients face to face about their experiences and to help them complete the survey. This was felt by many of those involved to be a very valuable experience allowing them to see just how hard the team worked and how many patients were dealt with at any one time. All the hard copy responses were then manually entered into “smart survey” by either the Patient Group representatives or a surgery team member to allow the patient group representatives more time to talk to patients. The final number of responses analysed were 225 which equates to 5.2% of the total list size.
The results are available to view on the website and have been sent to all the mail out list. They are also printed in the surgery and copies have been mailed to the local Council, the local paper and the Primary Care Trust. The results have been discussed at the December meeting of the Patient Group and the actions tabled as below. Many actions were also taken before the survey as so many ideas identified in the process were able to be actioned immediately by the Practice.
|You said...||We did...||Progress so far...|
|We need the nurse to be fully utilised to take some pressure away from the Doctor.
||Current nurse’s qualifications brought to patients notice and the surgery have recruited a new Health Care Assistant whose role is to support the clinical team. She has taken responsibility for a number of clinical administration tasks and indeed some procedures such as ear syringing, flu jabs, NHS health checks, blood test form production and many others, this has freed up time from Si Si to allow her to treat more minor illness cases resulting in better appointment availability.
|We all want to see Dr Takhar
||We have increased Dr Takhar’s weekly sessions but it is vital that the patients understand that he is only one individual in the team and for us to offer robust and safe care patients will have to see other GPs and clinical team members.
|We want another permanent GP
||So Do We!
We have advertised extensively for a GP to join Dr Takhar on a regular basis and have not found a suitable applicant. This is reflective not just of a local problem but a national and much publicised GP recruitment challenge.
A number of innovatives and alternative solutions have been examined and discussed with the patient group and this continues to be a priority for the surgery.
|Despite the uplift in staffing we still struggle to get through on the phones sometimes - particularly in the mornings
||We have further strengthened the reception team and introduced a series of measures to ensure that the phones are answered in a timely and efficient manner. A project to look at individual receptionist’s productivity on calls and other duties has been undertaken and will result in the individual skill set being the driving force behind the work patterns of the team.
|We still don’t like Locums
||Over the last year Locums for “one off occasions” use has dropped down to only 6 sessions within the year. We now have a bank of 5 local GP’s who are available to support us in times of need without having to rely on agency staff
|Can you close the list?
||We have a contractual obligation to keep the list open. We would have to seek special dispensation to work outside our contractual obligations and close the list to new patients. Although this continues to be considered, it is not a permanent solution and should not be viewed as such.
|Update Call Board/Message Board
||We have updated the messages on the Call Board
Just a few of the other things the group have done, not otherwise mentioned...
- Text messaging is working really well and we now have over 2000 mobile phone numbers recorded.
- The new structure created by a specified secretarial role has been further strengthened by a Reception and Secretarial Manager being put in post.
- We have recruited 5 new team members in this year.
- We have a specialist pharmacist working with us in the surgery to support the clinicians and the prescription processes.
- We have looked at 2 new phone systems and are in discussion with the current provider to investigate if the current system could offer further functionality to improve telephone access for patients.
- A Parsonage Patient Group Representative attends the Locality Board meetings along side the GP representative and Practice Manager from each constituent practice on a monthly basis.
Things for the future:
- The group would like a specialist to talk about ‘Care Data’ and the differences between this and the ‘Summary Care Record’
- The Patient Group now have a representative who will meet with patients during the day time to try and encourage the views of differing demographics who have traditionally struggled with evening meetings attendance.
- Find another representative for the Locality Patient Forum to support the current participant.
- Recruit a patient representative to become a Carers Champion.
- Investigate the best way to manage incoming calls and investigate the viability and potential for a new phone system with patient group representation through out the process.
Comments form the Chair and Vice Chair Mr.Geoff Lay and Mrs Kay Newton of the Parsonage Surgery Patient Group:
"During the course of the year the Parsonage Surgery Patients Group have been very fortunate in their continued and constant support from the staff at the surgery. Activities over and above their normal terms of reference have always been dealt with in a very efficient and helpful manner. It underlines the general friendliness that is always evident when patients attend the surgery for whatever reason.
The Group is confident that whatever changes take place in the future, the foundations and protocols that have put in place in recent times will continue to provide all the patients with a caring and efficient environment."