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Patient Participation

by Haddenham Webteam – 25th February 2013
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Haddenham GPs and local medical staff have a strong tradition for collaborating with their patients, most significantly through the channels of a Patient Participation Group (PPG).

The original PPG in the village, known as the Haddenham Health Supporters' Group, was established in the mid-1980s – mostly through the enthusiasm of an energetic group of patients led by John Landon, actively encouraged by the senior GP, Dr Jonathan Sadler, and Practice Manager, Pam Bright. Other early activists included Silvia Bradford, Keith Milmer, Sue Peck, and nurse Gillian Fairey. Drs Robin Wilson and Alison Vickers were also keen contributors. Active membership of the Haddenham Health Supporter's Group embraced a wide range of local residents and its monthly meetings, held in the Health Centre, were typically attended by about two dozen people.

The group was not only well known in Haddenham, it also gained a national reputation though the National Association of Patient Participation which often approached the Haddenham group with requests to advise and assist other patient groups around the country in "how to do it".

Haddenham Health Supporters' Group was actively involved in promoting healthy lifestyles through such initiatives as the National No Smoking Day, health promotion workshops, fieldpath walking events, and the publication of a quarterly newsletter called Haddenham Health News, which was distributed by members of the group to every home in the village each quarter.

The Haddenham Health Supporters' Group also raised many thousands of pounds through its monthly 200+ draw, and these funds enabled the Haddenham Practice to acquire equipment such as a sophisticated ECG machine and a tissue freezing instrument for small scale surgical work. The health centre was extremely well equipped by General Practice standards.

The HHSG came to a natural conclusion after about 15 years, as founding members became less actively involved, and no new 'activists' stepped into leadership roles.

Since those times, the Haddenham Practice has relocated from Banks Park to its rather more remote base on the edge of the village (its former home now claiming the title of Haddenham's very own "blot on the landscape" – but that's another story!)

Despite the physical distance from the heart of the village, staff of the Haddenham Practice are still keen to engage actively with the registered patient population, and Dr Howcutt and colleagues have sought to re-launch a Patient Participation Group in recent times.

Based on very similar principles as the original HHSG, the current Haddenham PPG exists to develop and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship between professional staff and patients of the Haddenham Practice.

As we reported in the June 2013, the Haddenham PPG regained some momentum with the election of two officers: Keith Milmer as Chairman and Barry Lynch as Vice Chairman. Since that time, there have been a number of activities aimed at consolidating their new roles and building closer dialogue with the Practice. The main activities to date have been:

  • To hold a preliminary meeting with Dr Howcutt and Practice Manager, Ellen Solley, to agree the terms of reference for the PPG, and to establish some broad aims and objectives.
  • To draft a patient survey – shortly to be distributed to as many registered patients as possible, to obtain their feedback on the current strengths and weaknesses of Haddenham's primary healthcare services
  • To attend a medical workshop on behalf of the Haddenham Practice, facilitated by the Bucks Clinical Commissioning Group, which focused on defining the healthcare needs of those with long-term conditions (attended by four members of the Haddenham PPG, plus another Haddenham resident)
  • To publish a patient information leaflet, helping those adults who would like to receive a flu jab this Autumn, but who do not qualify under the NHS free immunisation programme, to find options and locations to obtain this privately.
  • To keep active members of the Haddenham PPG abreast of health-related news items and articles that are likely to be of interest to them.

A key element of the PPG is to encourage patients to offer their help and expertise to the Haddenham Practice – such as by volunteering to help keep the grounds of the Medical Centre looking smart and tidy, or helping fellow patients get to grips with the online system for booking appointments and requesting repeat prescriptions. (The flu jab information leaflet was an excellent example of a patient helping the practice in this voluntary way). Please get in contact if you have other ideas, or wish to volunteer in some capacity.

The Haddenham PPG is also keen to help the Practice understand where and how it might choose to change the way it delivers certain services, in order to improve the quality of those services as perceived by registered patients. To that end, the Chairman and Vice Chairman would be grateful to receive any patient feedback of a generic nature, either by email or telephone – contact details are provided at the end of this article.

Please note: it is vitally important that we maintain strict levels of patient confidentiality, and therefore specific concerns or complaints relating to individual cases should be referred directly to the Practice Manager, Ellen Solley.

Contact Details:

Medical Centre: Telephone 01844 293300
Postal address: Haddenham Medical Centre, Stanbridge Road, Haddenham HP17 8JX
Email: haddenham.medicalcentre@nhs.net

PPG Chairman, Keith Milmer (based in Haddenham)
Email: chairman@theppg.org
Tel: 01844 290244

PPG Vice Chairman: Barry Lynch (based in Dinton)
Email: barrylynch@gmail.com

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