PPG Annual Report 2020 – 2021
It is my pleasure to see you here and to share this, the 7th Patient Participation Group annual report, focusing on PPG activities over the past twelve months. It is the second year that the AGM has been incorporated in the July online meeting, and that the Steering Group election is postponed because of the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic. Its members, Jane Collingridge, Cynthia Stamm-Clarke and myself have agreed to continue until an election is viable, and I thank Jane and Cynthia for this and for all their hard work, pragmatism and good spirit across the last year.
The combined impacts of social distancing and the extraordinary service operational procedures and demands on the Practice have meant that we have continued the March 2020 policy of convening online meetings when circumstances indicate, following the suspension of our normal bi-monthly meeting cycle. With equity, we have continued to communicate by surface mail with members who are not active online. Thanks go to all members for your continued understanding, support and commitment to the PPG across this challenging period.
Across this year, we held a PPG meeting in November 2020, the Steering Group met with Dr Miller and Alison Peat in April and June 2021, and the Steering Group members met online in October 2020 and January 2021, with frequent telephone meetings over the year. It also undertook work with the Practice IT team to support the promotion to patients of the NHS App as the Practice’s first choice for registering for online access. A significant amount of work has been conducted by emails between the Steering Group and Practice and much of this has related to the PPG’s longstanding communications priority. A list of workstreams which had to be put on hold in March 2020 is being maintained in readiness for review, as and when new ways of working emerge. The Steering Group has also maintained its community link with the Kingswood Network and Paxton Green Time Bank and recently it highlighted a local pharmacy issue, subsequently attending a meeting with key staff from the Practice and the pharmacy company to identify ways of improving the service for patients and staff.
With the implementation of total triage and the removal of non-essential paper in the Practice in March 2020, the PPG replaced its usual quarterly newsletter schedule with special editions and has published two more newsletters this year. As we were unable to host the annual foyer event during the last national self-care week, the November 2020 special edition was a viable way for the PPG to work with the Practice to continue to address its long-term priority to promote selfcare. The latest edition, which was published in July 2021, featured an update on the Practice’s ways of working after reaching stage 4 of the national roadmap and it also provided a factual update in response to mixed messages in public circulation about pending changes to GP data use. This was the 6th year that Jane Collingridge has edited the newsletters and we remain extremely grateful for her expertise and diligence in this role.
Possibly the most pre-occupying activity of the year for Paxton Green was the location of the Croxted Primary Care Network (CPCN) COVID-19 vaccination clinic on its site. Established in 2019 as part of the NHS long-term plan, the PCN was well placed to advance collaborative working between staff from the three practices as well as to recruit additional health care professionals, including retired practitioners on honorary contracts, to deliver over 19,000 vaccinations to eligible patients from the three practices. As social distancing was already in place last autumn, the practice nurses at Paxton Green had the foresight to trial PPG members as volunteer marshals for the 2020 ‘flu clinics in anticipation of a similar role being valid for the COVID-19 vaccinations. Based on this experience, the Steering Group was able to support the Practice to establish the protocol for the Vaccination Clinic marshals, and over 100 volunteer patients, family, friends and contacts of the CPCN came forward to support the smooth running of the clinics from January-July this year.
Dr Mackay recently relinquished his role of inaugural Medical Director of the Croxted Primary Care Network (CPCN) and has been succeeded by Dr James from Brockwell Park Surgery. The role of the Social Prescriber Link Worker (SPLW), introduced when PCNs were established, has been refocused across the pandemic on supporting the most vulnerable and isolated patients and the PPG has continued to channel local information to our link workers throughout the year. It is expected that this closer working across the PCN will bring long term benefits and consideration is being given to extend patient engagement amongst those who volunteered to marshal.
As expected last year, the board of the Lambeth Patient Participation Group Network (LPPGN) was wound down following the withdrawal of resources from the Lambeth CCG. Some pages of the LPPGN website, including its resources for PPGs, remain functional and members of some PPGs contributed suggestions for the potential continuance of an informal peer support network, but there has not yet been any follow up from this. The LPPGN was a valuable source of information and support which is missed, but Steering Group members have continued to attend a range of online meetings, events and webinars offered by the S E London CCG, Lambeth Together, the Lambeth Health and Well-being Board, Healthwatch Lambeth and the King’s Fund. In addition, the Greater London Authority, NHS London and Public Health London have co-hosted a monthly briefing on the pandemic in London for representatives of community groups and voluntary organisations across London. These sessions have provided updated information on infection rates, hospital admission and occupancy data, vaccination uptake and on the many local and bespoke initiatives being rolled out for people who are hesitant to be vaccinated. This is a supportive, constructive and cohesive forum that has the potential to make a positive contribution to pandemic recovery across London.
As a PPG we want to make our contribution to this recovery by continuing to support the Practice to deliver the best possible service for its patients. We will stay mindful of new ways of working to achieve this but, for now, I ask Dr Miller and Alison to extend our thanks to all their colleagues for how the Practice has continued to deliver its patient services over these last, challenging, twelve months and also, for them personally, to accept our gratitude for their ongoing commitment to the PPG alongside all the additional demands that the pandemic has made on their workloads. Most sincerely, thank you both.
Helen Bristow, PPG chair, July 2021