Spa Medical Centre Local Patient Participation Report 2011/12
Spa Medical Centre is a small General Practice based in the South of Leamington Spa. There have been family doctors working from the building for over 50 years. Currently the Practice comprises a two Doctor Partnership: Dr Kirit Pandya and Dr Tim Knight.
The practice serves a population of about 3800 patients most of whom live south of the River Leam and greater than 50% of whom are Punjabi in origin. The practice tries to accommodate the needs of these patients with the help of in-house interpreters.
In September 2011 a patient participation group was created to which all registered patients and their carers were welcomed. It was intended to produce as representative a group as possible taking account of the ethnic make up of the practice population and to include a broad range of age groups and both the able and disabled.
As well as feeding back to the practice management it was hoped that the group would give patients a say in the running of local health services beyond the Practice itself. Positive or negative experiences of the NHS in action could be collected and passed on to PCT and local Commissioning bodies. It would also be possible for group members with an interest to become lay representatives within these larger organisations.
Attempting to create a truly representative group.
At the beginning individual patients were given personal invitations to join the group. These invitations were made to patients who regular attended the surgery and a range of ages and ethnic groups were targeted.
Initially progress was slow with only 6 people agreeing to take part. The group discussed how they might communicate and it was agreed to uses an on line forum (follow this link).
The first priority was to expand the group and also canvass the views of the broader population with the aid of a survey. A survey was devised with help from members of the core group, who contributed to the wording and scope of the questions. At the end of the survey a request was added for contact details of those who like to join the Group. Survey forms were handed out to all patients/carers presenting at Reception over a 3 week period in November 2011. It was stressed that the forms were to be filled in anonymously, but that if patients were interested in joining the participation group then should detach this part of the from. Where a patient had difficulties filling in the form due to language problems or reading difficulties, they were assisted by staff members.
It was felt that by handing out survey forms directly to Patients as they entered the surgery, we would capture the views of true service users would be captured. Previous attempts at postal surveys had produced very poor response rates.
As a result of this survey, 25 patients expressed an interest in the patient participation group. Of this group of 25, 11 were of Asian/British Asian origin, 3 non British Europeans and the rest White British. 17 were female, 8 male. Age range 16-72 with the majority in the 30-50 age range. Two members regarded themselves as carers. All members of this group were invited to join our on-line forum.
In total 205 completed forms were returned. This represented 5.4% of the current practice population.
The following demographic information was obtained:
Of those who answered there was a near 50/50 split between males and females whereas the actual practice population is actually slightly skewed towards males (54/46).
The age profile of respondents matched the practice population fairly well except for a lack of younger patients (actual population being 25% aged less than 25).
35% of respondents described themselves as White British/Irish, 4.4% as other white (? Non UK Europeans), 47.8% as Indian/Pakistani/British Asian, 0.5% as Afro- Caribbean, 0.5% as Chinese and about 12% declined to answer. This roughly matches the known practice population breakdown.
33% regarded themselves as regular attenders, 42% as occasional attenders and 25% as very rare attenders.
Staff: There was a high level of satisfaction with the Doctors, Nurses and Reception staff with close to 95% of respondents rating them as excellent or very good and only 1 respondent rating the Doctors as poor, no-one rating the nurses as poor, and 3.4% rating receptionists as poor.
Appointments: 75% of those who answered were normally able to get an appointment at a time that suited them.
Extended hours: 78% of those that answered wished us to continue offering extended hours on a Tuesday night whilst 11% wanted us to change this to a Saturday morning.
Telephone access: 75% of respondents had had difficulties getting through to us on the telephone, 84% of whom had difficulties between 8.30 and 10am.
New ways of accessing our services: 65% of those who answered had access to the internet and 77% of respondents wanted to be able to make appointments or order prescriptions by alternative methods, the most popular being ‘via text’ followed by email.
Two questions were asked about existing services to determine how aware patients were of current systems. Half of the respondents were unaware that it was possible to have a telephone consultation with a Doctor, and more than 10% were unaware of the repeat prescription service.
Discussion of survey results with Patient participation group
A full report on the survey results was emailed the group and it was posted on the practice website. Comments were invited and the following proposals made.
‘Based on the survey responses and in particular the finding that a significant majority of patients have internet access Spa Medical Centre proposed the following changes.
• We will improve access to our services by providing on-line services and therefore reducing pressure on our phone lines, particularly in the mornings.
• We will create a portal to allow on line prescription ordering and appointment booking
• We will create a method of leaving messages for the surgery on-line which is secure and manageable for the practice staff. There will be separate portals for general non –clinical enquiries and specific clinical matters.’
These suggestions were emailed to the group member and universally well received from those who responded.
All these points have now been actioned. Recent analysis shows the practice website receiving up to 1000 daily visits, there is increasing use of the online prescription ordering and a slow trickle of online appointment bookings. Information on new initiatives is regularly e-mailed to Patient Participation Group members.
Up to now only 25 individuals have agreed to take part in the Patient Participation Group. They have been invited to join the online forum, but so far there has been very little activity in this forum. This group of 25 is skewed towards a narrow age range but does cover a representative range of ethnic groups and carers. Personal invitation appears to be the most productive method of getting active patient participation as it is mainly the original 6 members who have been most responsive. Following consultation with the National Patient Champion, Ashley Brooks, the practice management will look towards existing community groups for potential members and an open meeting is planned to re-launch the group. A further patient survey is planned for 2012-13 which will inform future changes to practice services.
Current Practice Services
Our opening times remain as below, and we continue to offer an extended service on Tuesday evenings as supported by the survey results. Doctors and Nurses are both available during these hours for either face to face or telephone consultations. Currently only Dr Knight works on Tuesday evenings. See this link for full details.
Monday 08:30 - 13:00, 15:30 - 18:30
Tuesday 08:30 - 13:00, 15:30 - 20:30, 18:30 - 20:30 (Evening Hours by Appointment Only)
Wednesday 08:30 - 13:00, 15:30 - 18:30
Thursday 08:30 - 13:00, 15:30 - 18:30
Friday 08:30 - 13:00, 15:30 - 18:30
Instruction on how to use our appointment system, how to order prescriptions and how to use our services can be found in this useful list of quick links.