Dart Patients Participation Group ACHIEVEMENTS
Finding out about patients’ views: In February, 2014 the PPG undertook a Survey of Patients’ Opinion, which was the subject of a report finalised in June 2014. Based on this Survey and the DMP responses to patients’ recommendations and suggestions, working together with the DMP, the PPG elaborated a Joint Action Plan for 2014/15. This was largely fulfilled and a new Joint Action Planfor 2015/16 has been prepared and adopted.
Continuity of care: The 204 PPG Survey revealed that the most pressing concern of patients was the difficulty of seeing the same doctor even when in relation to one event of ill health. This issue has been extensively discussed with the Dartmouth Medical Practice. The Practice recognizes patients’ concern and are committed where possible to ensure continuity of care, or at least have a patient’s main doctor to follow the treatment provided. However, because most doctors in the Practice work only 2-3 days a week, the Practice cannot ensure that a patient sees only one doctor, nor is it always considered best for the patient that they should. The Practice continues to explore ways to see how it might achieve greater continuity of care, particularly in the management of appointments and through a process of telephone triage which frees up doctors' time to see the most needy patients. Waiting times for regular appoitments remain very long and the PPG is encouraging the Practice to recruit another doctor.
Improving the prescription system: The PPG Survey revealed various weaknesses in the prescription system, especially regarding the renewal of prescriptions. These have been largely addressed.
Building Patient Awareness: The Patients Group has been especially concerned to help patients to be more aware of health care services. To this end the PPG has collaborated with the Dartmouth Medical Practice in producing a Patient Leaflet, Working With Dartmouth Medical Practice, setting out useful information on such matters as booking appointments, getting out of hours care, follow-up after tests or release from hospital, and the management of repeat prescriptions. These are all matters that have come up in various conversations PPG members have had with patients. The PPG has also worked with the Practice to produce a leaflet setting out the support for mental health available locally.
Moving to state-of-the-art facilities: The PPG is assisting the Practice in exploring the possible relocation of the the Practice to a new site at the top of the town. See section on News.
Improved doctor-patient communications. The PPG has worked with the Practice to produce a bi-monthly newsletter, expand the list of patient's email addresses, keep the Practice webpages up to date, re-organise and rationalise the presentation of patient information in the Surgery waiting areas, and to put in place a video screen with official health care messages.