Patient Group

The new Patient Participation Group (“PPG”) has been meeting regularly since its formation.

The Group needs to be representative of Peaseways patient list and therefore we are still seeking patients in the 16 to 45 age group - especially males.

If you would like to be involved - or if you would just like to discuss what it entails - then please contact the Practice Manager at the surgery.

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Report to the Peaseway General Practice

Background


The purpose of our PPG is to ensure that patients and carers are involved in decisions about the range, shape and quality of services provided at Peaseway Medical Centre.

At regular meetings of our PPG those present discuss funding and services, complaints and the newly introduced Friends and Family Test results.

Our PPG has been encouraged to participate in more wide ranging and forward-looking planning of patient services in Newton Aycliffe.
To this end a ‘strategic’ alliance with a neighbouring General Practice (Bewick Crescent Surgery) with a view to determine how the practices could not only work together, but to explore the possibility of determining future health and social care requirements for the patients of Newton Aycliffe has been formed thereby providing opportunities for patients to find out more about how the practice and the wider health economy works.

The requirement of our PPG was to agree an action plan based upon 3 key priority stages of:

  1. Liaise with Bewick (+ other practices).
  2. Obtain Clinical Commissioning Group (“CCG”)  & Patient Reference Group approvals.  Together with discussions with  GP Federation. (Healthwatch to come).
  3. Issue agreed questionnaire.  Establish a baseline so achievements could be measured.

These completed stages are part of a wider ranging, all encompassing view of service provision to patients in Newton Aycliffe which was determined to be desirable and beneficial.
The results of the recently undertaken questionnaire is to be used to determine achievement outputs so that progress can be viewed at each stage of ‘A Plan For Life’.

Purpose

There are synergies between both practices and they are situation geographically reasonably close to the town centre.  The Town ‘lost’ its Health Centre in 2007 to developers and has not been replaced.  Since then there have been changes to the way health and social services are commissioned and delivered.  A significant shift in funding from NHS to local authorities – in particular Public Health drives a need for a radical approach to future services.

The GP’s serve a population in excess of 30,000.  A mixed socially dynamic population with some social deprivation offset by ‘executive housing developments’.  In support of national planning regulations the local authority have identified areas surrounding the town for building development, most of which will be private dwellings.  There is an anticipated expanding employment growth following recent investment development.  The Health and Social services needs to respond accordingly.

There are indications that the national policy for health provision lacks some cohesive and strategic understanding of the impact upon the actual service provision within any locations.  The local CCG is extremely well placed to assist in developing plans and recognises and supports local initiatives where it is able.  The development of ‘Federations’ of GP Practices is a new concept and whilst it is developing local plans – it is doing so under considerable timescale pressures imposed to meet immediate NHS planning needs.

Both GP PPG’s felt that Newton Aycliffe needed a dynamic plan for services and agreed to formulate a ‘strategic group’ with representatives of both practices. Strategically ‘A Plan for Life’ has been developed with the intention of developing service needs and responding to both local and national direction.  In addition and as part of supporting the ‘Plan for Life’ combined with the need for patient involvement, the Patient Practice Group agreed a single questionnaire.  Both practices have now undertaken patient surveys and the results are identified in Appendix 1.

The PPG’s embraced within the questionnaire actual and current service provision, whether the location of ‘walk in centres or urgent care centres’ met the needs of the population and whether a township of over 30,000 population should look to provide enhanced services.

The PPG’s meet under the ‘umbrella’ arrangements of the Clinical Commissioning Group and the CCG’s locality Patient Representative Groups (‘PRG’)(1).  The work of the PPG’s in Newton Aycliffe is a sub group of the PRG.  The PRG have been very supportive of a ‘Plan for Life’ and the Chief Clinical Officer of the CCG should also be acknowledged for his interest shown in the project.

Recommendation

This report contains a copy of the questionnaire in Appendix 2 (for information only).  It is apparent that whilst the patients have indicated a very high satisfaction when rating their local GP service there is an appetite for additional services to be brought into the town.  The additional service enhancements will prove a challenge for funding and planning but the indications by the patients are in line with NHS England’s preference for delivering services closer to home.

The PPG are aware that a significant funding shift from Peaseway and the 3rd Newton Aycliffe practice (Jubilee Medical Group) will take place shortly with a redistribution to cover services within Newton Aycliffe.  This is a ‘shift’ in real terms – the CCG has stated that the monies will stay with localities but will be redistributed into areas of need.  That may not necessarily mean that all of it will stay in Newton Aycliffe.

Clearly ‘unpicking’ the existing expenditure for Urgent Care Centre (“UCC”) and redistribution to Newton Aycliffe is an aspiration but to underestimate the task and consequent implications would be detrimental to the new service provision.  Clearly the utilisation of the UCC (according to the response) in both Darlington and Bishop Auckland by the patients appears to be insignificant compared to the probable funding stream.

The provision of ‘estate’ within Newton Aycliffe will require some investigation to ascertain what level of service provision might be reassigned or realigned within existing buildings.  There might be some funding shift that would be appropriate.

The level of staffing requirement needs to be considered – there is no recommendation here for transferring staff from one employing authority to another but there are clearly implications of the need to support the GP’s from a clinical perspective.

There is a need to find partners who would be willing to support funding and realigning services and that might include the Secondary Care providers as well as the Federations – particularly if the proposed service provision was extended to include the patients embraced by the Jubilee Practice .

The indications are that the PPG’s ‘A Plan for Life’ has been validated by this exercise.

There are a number of initiatives that may support a ‘Plan for Life’, one by the South Durham Health Care Federation which in part proposes some change and the local discussion. Undoubtedly the timing for the initiative is consistent with national policy although any change of this magnitude needs ‘facilitating and driving’.  Currently resources are extremely limited.  The need for project management is paramount – only though – if the right skills and calibre can be found (experience of Practice management, change management, negotiation and financial management likely to the minimum key skills set).  It may well be that part time support will be sufficient, but funding may need to be non-recurrent.

Whilst it may appear that these recommendations are extremely ‘directive’ an engagement strategy now needs to be considered essential to support the patients and practice requirements in moving healthcare provision forward.

There are exciting opportunities that should not be missed.  The key will be ensuring that all partners can be supported and engaged in delivering change!


Chris Shore

Peaseway Practice Patients Group

February 2015