The Friends of Amersham Health Centre
In December 2016, the Amersham Health Centre PPG had 41 members and meetings were organised and run by the Practice. One year later, “Friends of Amersham Health Centre”, which is what we call our PPG, had grown to 750 members, and had become a thriving part of the Health Centre. This article describes our journey.
At our last meeting in 2016, we took the decision that patients should take a more active role in running the group. So we appointed a Chairman and a Committee of members, which included the Practice Manager. To help us to develop our PPG, we looked at other active PPGs to find out what they were doing. As part of this, we met up with members of Rectory Meadow’s PPG Committee to discuss areas such as best practice, technical IT advice and handling a membership database. Other helpful sources were The Simpson Centre and the National Association for Patient Participation (NAPP).
Other factors in our rapid growth were the early agreement of a mission statement and a first year plan, the active involvement and enthusiastic support of the Practice Manager and Senior Partner, and of course the talent and hard work of the volunteer Committee. One of our major achievements has been establishing the “Friends” as a brand through our leaflets, our database and when we recruit members.
Another key factor of our success has been our Patient Survey. With 249 patients responding to this Survey, the overall result was a resounding endorsement of the Centre and the medical and administrative staff. Importantly through our Survey, we have been able to better understand what patients really think about the Centre. For example, even though 73% found making a phone appointment quite or very easy, this also attracted the most negative comment.
The findings of our Survey have really helped to focus a lot of our actions for 2018. However we are also looking at ways to improve and increase the use of our on-line processes such as our booking system, our e-mail information service, the Centre’s website and Face-Book page. We’d also like to set up some patient information meetings just as other PPGs are doing.
We are expecting that there will be substantive change to the provision of healthcare in Bucks in the near future and are hopeful that we will be in a position, with others, to contribute a patient’s perspective.