PPG Report 2014

Patient Participation Directed Enhanced Service (DES) for GMS Contract

 March  2014

In 2011 the Gateshead Primary Care Trust asked the surgery to create a Patient Participation Group. The aim of the group was to ensure that patients are involved in decisions about the range and quality of services provided and, over time, commissioned by their practice.


In 2011/12 a Patient Participation Group was first established and asked to make comment about issues that they felt were important about the surgery and was also invited to help the surgery implement improvements as a result of the 2012 Practice survey. This survey was carried out again in 2013 and 2014

Step 1

Establish a PPG comprising only of registered patients

The 2011/12 group consisted of 15 women and 8 men, aged between 18 – 79, and white British ethnicity.  In 2013 the group increased in size to 30 participants, 18 women and 12 men. The 2014 group remained the same.


Step 2

Agree with the PPG which issues are a priority and include these in a local practice survey


In 2012 after a positive trail the Surgery made online appointment booking a permanent facility available to Patients. As a result of the 2012/13 survey it was agreed with the group that the surgery would extend the online facilities to include Nurses appointments. Unfortunately due to technical problems the surgery was unable to do this


An email was sent to the PPG on 15/11/2013 (Appendix A) informing them of the problems that we had in implementing the plans that we had and also offering them the opportunity to feed back to the Practice. Please see below a selection of comments that we received from the PPG.


“I use the online facility on behalf of both myself and my wife for scripts and appointments. We find it invaluable-when it works !!…..As a fairly frequent user of the Nurses I would really welcome an online appointment facility for them. So, yes, yes, please continue the development. I hope you can resolve the access problem in the near future.”

“Although it’s very convenient I also find it extremely unreliable, either complaining it cannot make a connection to the surgery or refuses to log me in at all.”


The Group was emailed again in January 2014, informing them of the next annual survey and invited to provide their opinions of which should be the priority issues. Some of the comments are as follows:


“I am satisfied with the service that we receive from the practice. There are only two points that I think could be improved. 1. When patients telephone in to make an appointment sometimes there is a long wait for appointment availability. 2. Would it be possible for the surgery to remain open until 7.30 PM on more than one evening per week.”


“if longer opening hours were possible with my preferred doctors in attendance, thereby reducing waiting times, then that would be welcomed !!.”


“For someone who has a hearing loss it is difficult to understand the receptionists at the desk You don’t appear to have a loop system installed which would help the vast majority of hard of hearing people who wear hearing aids”


“I would put the issues in this order:- Clinical care, getting an appointment, Telephone access, online access.  I have not experienced any reception issues.  I fine most of the receptionists very helpful.”


Step 3

Collate patient views through local practice survey and inform PPG of the findings


The Surgery carried out its Local Practice Survey in January and February 2013. We used the General Practice Assessment Questionnaire-R (GPAQ) (Appendix C). The GPAQ questionnaire was used by the surgery in 2013 and as many of the questions focus on patient access it was felt that it was a valid tool to be used again this year, as access to the surgery continues to be a prime concern for patients.


The questionnaire was handed out to patients by Reception when a patient presented for their appointment with a GP. The patients were asked to complete some the questionnaire before their appointment and complete it after they had been seen. Patients who were not handed a questionnaire by Reception were offered one by the GP who they saw, together with a stamped address envelope to return it.


Step 4

Provide PPG with the opportunity to comment and discuss findings of the local practice survey


When the survey was completed the results were analysed by the surgery and a report (Appendix D) was sent to the PPG by email (Appendix E). Only 1 member of the group chose to comment on the report.


Step 5

Agree with the PPG an action plan setting out the prorities and proposals arising out of the local practice survey


In the previous years’ survey the surgery proposed to increase the use on online appointments in order to improve patient access to appointments and lessen the need for patients to contact the surgery by phone. Unfortunately due to technical problems with our computer system we were unable to implement this plan.


The results of this years survey showed that access to appointments was still an issue and 20% of respondents wished to use the online facilities, although only 7% had used them. Therefore we propose to implement the plans that we were unable to carry out last year. In April 2014 the surgery clinical system is being upgraded and we have been assured that the problems that we previously experienced with the online program will no longer be an issue.


We will plan to extend the number of clinics available to book online, to include some Nurses appointments e.g. flu clinics and greatly increase the numbers of patient registered to use online facilities for both booking appointments and ordering prescriptions.


The new clinical system also has a text message facility so that patients can be sent text message reminders of their appointments. This will hopefully decrease the number of patients failing to attend their appointments.


PPG members have previously commented on the length of the queue at the Reception desk. To help improve this we are installing an Automated Arrivals System to allow patients to mark their own arrival for appointments. This will hopefully cut waiting times at Reception and prevent long queues.


A group member also informed us that a hearing loop should be installed to assist patients who are deaf. A hearing loop has been obtained and will be installed at Reception


A comment from a patient who completed the questionnaire was that the waiting room was looking untidy. In the coming months all of the chairs in the waiting room are to be reupholstered with a new hygienic wipe clean cover.

An email (Appendix F) was sent to the group informing them of our proposals and to allow them an opportunity to provide feedback. 1 patient responded to the email informing us that she was very please with our proposals, especially about the automated arrival system.


Step 6

Publish the Local Patient Participation Report on the Practice Webesite

The results of the Local Practice Survey and the Local Patient Participation report can be found online at www.felltowermedicalcentre.nhs.uk



A. Email – surgery update sent 15.11.2013

B: Email to PPG Re: Next Annual Survey


D: Annual Survey Results report 2014

E: PPG email re survey results 2014

F: email re proposed plans

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