Wednesday, August 07, 2013


A new local Patient Participation group, (PPG) the members of which, are registered patients at the practice, is seeking to inform as many  patients as possible at the practice of their existence. As part of the introduction exercise and to inform themselves how best to operate in the interest of other patients and the general practice, they have decided to find out how the registered patients understand the current service arrangements and also, how they use the services. To do this, they have to first draw up a questionnaire, carefully avoiding closed questions.

What questions would you ask?


Vincent said...

This sounds too technical for me. I'd have to be on the PPG to start thinking properly about it. I'd also have to be familiar with the current service arrangements.

At my surgery they seem rather odd. If I ask to make an appointment, they are likely to suggest a date about ten days ahead. But if the doctor tells me to come back in a month's time, they tell me I can't make an appointment more than two weeks ahead.

On the other hand, I can wander over to the surgery when they open at 8.30, and make an appointment for the same morning. (It happens to be five minutes' walk away.)

A year or so ago, they'd only do that for "emergencies", and the receptionist would ask you (in front of the waiting queue) the nature of your emergency.

And if you phone up, it takes much longer to get through than if you just go there and speak to the receptionist over the counter.

So it seems that the "current service arrangements" change from month to month.

And I haven't begun to cover the uses of their website and the possibilities for repeat prescriptions - the pharmacies falling over themselves offering free collection and delivery.

It seems to me that a PPG would further complicate everything. The moment it decided "how to help", the ground would have shifted.

My elderly neighbour has trouble with her knees, is registered at a surgery a mile away, and doesn't drive. She says she can only get to see the doctor when she feels well enough.

It was ever thus. It also seems obvious that general practices and pharmacies arrange things for their own convenience, especially as patients' needs have no common pattern.

Does this help?

David Oliver said...

Do you understand the current service arrangements? If so, how do you use the services?

ZACL said...

Hi David,

Those are two very sensible open questions. :)

ZACL said...

Hi Vincent,

You detail a number of issues that are common to many UK Practices these days. There are many inconsistencies to find ones way around.

Travel to an appointment is certainly one major consideration in this area.

It sounds like a PPG or equivalent might be able to help unravel some of the complications, with a bit of patient feedback to the doctors and administrators, and thereby assist with clarification for service users. There again, clarification might cause the very confusion of which you talk.

Thanks for your interesting input.

Snowbird said...

I would deffo ask about the proceedures and waiting times re booking appointments, urgent and non-urgent, also call out proceedure.

I've had the in-laws in serious trouble only to be told all GP'S are in meetings.xxxx

Anonymous said...

I'm just thankful that it's been a very long time since I last had to see my GP.
I wonder what purpose things like this really have as most people seem to consider them a waste of time and money. Flighty xx

ZACL said...

Hi snowbird,

I'm pretty sure that your points will be high on the agenda. It'll be interesting to see what comes about.

ZACL said...

Hello Mr F,

The groups is made up of volunteers who have no budget. The only input is with a senior administrator belonging to the health authority.

It remains to be seen whether your thoughts are borne out. It would be nice to think that within a fractured local service, there is some connection with the community and a representative cog.

zalandeau said...

A quoi sert un PPG ? Je n'ai vraiment pas compris...

ZACL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ZACL said...

Salut Zalandau

PPG = Patient Participation Group. Ce ci une gruppe des gents, qui viennent ensemble, toutes a volontaire a faire une conduite entre le patients registree avec un bureau des Medicins, et ce lui qui travailles dans la clinique.