The Village Surgery Patient Participation Group


With the support of several patients we started up a small patient group in October 2011. PPGs are run by volunteers (patients of the practice) who are keen to make a difference to their communities and to their GP Practice. We are meeting on a regular basis to discuss all the current issues that the practice and patients will be facing in the coming years.

The main role of the PPGs is communication – improving communication between the patients and the practice, acting as a representative of the wider patient population, and providing the local community with useful and timely health information and advice. The most common activities are

  • Advising the practice on the patient perspective and helping to ensure that services are well designed to improve the patient experience.
  • Promoting self-care so that patients play as full a part as possible in understanding and looking after their own health.
  • Raising awareness of the activities of the practice and other support that is available to patients, as well as relaying information back to the practice.

If you are interested in joining in, please contact Donna Alder the Practice Manager who will be pleased to hear from you.
Village Surgery Newsletter    Nov 2019
A year has passed since the last newsletter from the Patient Participation Group. The population of Southwater has continued to increase, and your GP Practice has risen to the challenge of providing high quality care for us, long may it continue. There is a lot going on in the world today both good and bad and it is tempting to feel pessimistic about the future of humanity. So here’s a good topic to get you thinking: 
How to Save the Planet, in Southwater 
Recently we have all been made aware of the threats to the health of the planet and demands for urgent action. “Extinction Rebellion” and “Schools Strike for Climate Change” and the Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg have all helped to make us aware of an uncertain future; but what can we actually do about it on a personal level? It can all seem overwhelming. Governments are working on plans to slow climate change and reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions with planet saving plans stretching to 2050. It would seem that we’re doomed!! However all is not lost, we can all do our bit to help now. Primary Care has been working to save the planet for the last five years, even though you might not be aware of it. Here’s what has been going on:
In 2014 the Royal College of GPs teamed up with the National Union of Students to find ways of changing behaviour, behaviour that has been called unthinking, selfish, wasteful and reckless. Wow, that’s some criticism! The US healthcare sector accounts for nearly 10% of all US greenhouse gas emissions and NHS related travel in England accounts for nearly 3.5% OF ALL ROAD MILES each year with over half of the resulting air pollution generated by patient and visitor travel!! Where do they get these figures from?!
Many GP Practices have signed up to make a “Green Impact for Health” by agreeing to make changes to reduce their impact on the environment. Changes can start simply but become more complex:

  1. Use Fairtrade sustainable tea and coffee, ethically sourced products from fairly paid producers.
  2. Use recycled paper and if printing use both sides
  3. Use energy monitors to identify how the practice uses electrical energy
  4. Mark waste bins (some with nasty smelly stuff) and recycling bins clearly
  5. Sign up to an Asthma Inhaler recycling scheme called “Complete the Cycle”     
  6. Using a national initiative called “Open Prescribing” to look at prescribing habits to make sure the best drugs are used in the best ways. Pharmacists can help here by helping patients how to get the best from their medication
  7. Using “Social Prescribing” Instead of a drug you may get a referral to a local group aiming to improve your health and wellbeing.

What can we do as patients to help save the planet? Here are some interesting facts.

Asthma Inhalers
Complete the Cycle
New research shows that 58% of people in the UK are putting their used inhalers into their home waste bin, where it can end up at landfill or being incinerated. Whilst 33% of people surveyed said that they use a curbside recycling service, councils can’t typically recycle the plastics and gases contained in inhalers. Again, the inhaler may go to landfill or incineration.
“Complete the Cycle” is an easy and convenient way to recycle your inhalers. You can take your empty inhalers to a pharmacy, Boots in Southwater is signed up to the scheme and the aluminium is recycled to make new inhalers. So far 1.2 million inhalers have been recycled saving Carbon Dioxide emissions equivalent to taking 5,199 cars off UK roads.
Moving Medicine
Regular exercise is not just to get fit it will help you feel better and live longer. Most of us have heard about Park Run UK. Horsham Park provides a venue for 5km runs every Saturday morning and when the ground is too muddy the venue moves to Southwater Country Park. Some GP Practices are joining in with Park Run Practice. That may seem a little too much for some of us but any exercise is better than none and Moving Medicine offers advice on exercise designed to help specific illnesses and disabilities. Have a look at the patient section of the website, it is quite interesting. 
Breast feeding
In the UK we have low breast feeding rates compared with other countries and at 6 months less than 40% of babies are breastfed.
Improving the UK’s breastfeeding rates would have a profoundly positive impact on child health. For example, increasing the number of babies who are breastfed could cut the incidence of common childhood illnesses such as ear, chest and gut infections and save the NHS up to £50 million each year. With a bit of luck breast milk will continue to be a low cost option.
Talk to your midwife and health care professionals before you give birth to work out a feeding plan.
You can reduce your chances of hospital admissions for you and your family by having an annual flu jab and making sure all your family childhood immunizations are up to date. I had measles as a child and was in an hospital isolation ward for several days. I made a full recovery fortunately but my monkey (bedtime friend and constant companion for a four year old) wasn’t so lucky; he was incinerated to cut down the risk of cross infection!
Next time you visit the surgery, you may be told;
“It’s good for you, and it’s good for the planet!”

JULY 2017
Action Plan from Survey Findings July 2017:
Following the National GP Patient Survey report (January 2016) and the Intelligence Monitoring Report (March 2016) the following were highlighted as areas for development:
- Patient involvement in decisions about their care
- Patient treatment by GP with care and concern
- Overall experience at the Surgery
- Appointment availability, accessibility and convenience
We decided to conduct a further patient survey within the surgery covering specific domains which were highlighted in the surveys where we did not achieve the desired level of patient satisfaction. Over a period of two weeks at the beginning of July, we asked every patient attending for an appointment with a clinician to complete a questionnaire.
Internal Survey Results:

371  (82.8%) 70 (15.6%) 7   (1.6%)  
363  (81.1%) 83 (18.5%) 2   (0.4%)  
338  (75.4%) 99 (22.1%) 11 (2.5%)  
96 (21%) 90 (20%) 137 (31%) 125 (28%)
TOTAL PATIENTS   448        

Outcomes from Survey:
1. We were very happy with the high level of satisfaction in questions 1, 2 and 3 of the survey that reflected the caring attitude of doctors towards patients, shown in the first three questions. In contrast to the National Survey Report, our patients have shown significant satisfaction with the overall appointment experience. The partners have found these findings very encouraging and they are led to believe the previous low achievement was due to:

(a) Low responses – not representative of the practice population
(b) During January - September 2015, there were 2 out of the 3.5 WTE of regular doctors present. This was due to the departure of one partner and a salaried doctor, resulting in the practice being heavily reliant on locums during that period. Since then, two new partners have joined the practice.
The overall responses were consistent with patient comments on the iwantgreatcare website.
2. The response to Question 4 in the survey has shown that patients were comparitevely less satisfied with the availability and ease of making pre-bookable appointments.
Action Plan
Following the findings of the survey, we conducted an audit of our appointments that showed our emergency clinics were only 65% utilised. As a result, we have increased the number of pre-bookable appointments. We will continue to monitor the use of appointments and patient satisfaction in order to meet the needs of our patients.
We also provide out of hours clinics at varying times: early mornings, evenings and Saturday mornings. We also ensure that we can offer after school appointment slots to accommodate families with school aged children.
Additional Sources of Feedback:
We have also regularly been inviting patients to complete feedback forms which are reported on the website These are accessible to all patients at all times and can be viewed by the public. We have also created separate feedback forms for patients to complete about their experience in both the Family Planning and Minor Surgery Clinics which we review and reflect upon.

JUNE 2017
A number of patients who responded to the last national patient survey under-evaluated the practice on the above indicator.  The Partners did not feel that this was representative of the ethos and work pattern of the Practice.
Some of our doctors recently attended a course about involving patients in decision making and we also decided to conduct our own in house survey to establish patient satisfaction on this important aspect of their care.  We feel the outcome of this survey is encouraging and we will continue to monitor and improve our Team. 
Patients were asked to score as follows: Very Good, Good, Poor, Neither Good nor Poor.
A total of 603 responses were analysed which revealed the following results:
Very Good 85.0%
Good 13.7%
Poor   0.5%
Neither Good nor Poor    0.8%
We will strive to ensure that those who gave poor, or neither good nor poor responses will feel more involved in decision making about their care in the future.

Patient Participation Group Report 2013/14 >>

See Patient Participation Group Report 2014/15 >>