Patient Participation Group
We would like to thank all of you who took the time and trouble to complete our questionnaire about services at Bridge Street Surgery. These questionnaires have been available in both of the Surgery waiting areas, and as part of the online facilities we provide, and we are using the information provided by yourselves to improve the patient experience and address any feedback given to us.
The main purpose of this article is to provide you with a summary of the results of the questionnaire and an outline of any initial proposed changes. We understand that not all our patients view this website, so paper copies will soon be available to view in the waiting areas.
As means of recording the participant profile, we initially asked are you male or female (64% of participants were female and 36% male). Similarly, we asked the ages of all our participants as means to ensure all patient groups could have their say. Although the majority of patients were 75 or over (43%), all the targeted age groups did respond to the questionnaire. However, as means of creating a balanced PPG, we will attempt to encourage more age groups to participate in the near-future. Our main area of interest for this initial questionnaire was communication between patients and the Surgery.
Awareness of Surgery Website.
Our first area of interest was in how many of our patients are aware of us having this surgery website, as it is highly useful when cascading information to patients about surgery matters, and is also updated on a regular basis. Only 79% of participants were aware this website existed. To improve this statistic, we will increase the level of advertisement (of the website) within the surgery.
Awareness of Online Facilities.
Leading on from the previous question, we asked how many patients were aware of the online facilities we have available (being able to order repeat prescriptions and book doctors appointments online). As above, only 79% of participants were again aware that this was available. One comment made, with regards to this specific question, was that the service had never been advertised anywhere. This is something we do strive to change and, again, we will increase the level of advertisement within the surgery to make patients aware of said facilities.
Awareness of Notice Boards and Leaflets in the Surgery.
We asked if patients were aware of leaflets and notices in the surgery, as means of receiving some surgery information and some healthcare information. 100% of participants were aware of this, and that also do pay attention to this information. One comment we received with regards to this was that notices are not organised, making the process of looking for relevant information difficult. This is something we will try to change so there will be some order to the notices.
Ease of Telephone Calls.
We asked this question as we are aware that the telephone lines do get exceptionally busy during peak times (8am to 9am), and often patients have been unable to book appointments due to the large volume of calls we receive. 50% of participants stated it was fairly easy to get through to the surgery on the phone, 29% stated it was very easy, 7% said it was not easy, and 14% said it was very hard. Although we have no immediate solution for this but have discussed options, we would like to encourage patients to book appointments in advance as opposed to on the morning (unless it is urgent), and again, promote the online services as GP appointments can be booked online.
Helpfulness of Receptionists.
We asked this as we appreciate both the needs of both patients and their confidentiality, but also the need for receptionists to make assessments etc. 72% of participants stated that the receptionists are very helpful, 21% stated they are fairly helpful, and the final 7% stated that they are not at all helpful. Clearly we are not happy that even a small minority of patients don't find the receptionists helpful at all, and while we cannot offer an immediate solution to this dissatisfaction, we can assure patients that this will be discussed at our next staff meeting.
Ease of speaking to a GP or Nurse on the phone.
Following on from an earlier question, we then asked participants how easy it is to speak to either a GP or a nurse on the phone. 36% of participants said very easy, 36% said fairly easy, 14% of participants said not easy, 7% of participants told us this was very hard, and the final 7% had never tried. One criticism we did receive about telephones calls was that a GP never got back in touch with a patient on the phone and they were forced to make an appointment, thereby feeling as though they were wasting time on what should've been a standard procedure. These results are being forwarded to the Surgery clinical team, but an immediate response to this is to advertise the GP calling hours/days in an obvious position within the surgery so there can be no room for confusion.
We asked this question as we do have a balance between appointments that is often misunderstood by patients: half of all appointments can be booked in advance (dependant on availability) and the remaining half can only be booked on the day/are released from 8am, and are classed as urgent appointments. When we asked patients that, if they needed an urgent appointment, are they normally able to be seen on the same day, 64% of participants stated they could normally be seen on the same day. The remaining 36% of participants had never needed to use this facility. Obviously this is something we are pleased about, and as means of keeping the level of patient satisfaction high, we would like to continue offering appointments in advance so the urgent appointments are available for those who need them most.
Awareness of Advanced GP Appointments.
We asked this question as we do encourage patients to book in advance to see their GP, unless it is an urgent appointment. We asked 'Are you aware appointments with GPs can be booked up to eight weeks in advance' (please note: this has changed to seven weeks since the transition to System One). 93% of participants told us that they were aware of this, and only the remaining 7% told us they were unaware. As a Surgery, we should try to encourage patients to book appointments further in advance if possible, and leave reminders near the reception to patients are aware of this advanced booking facility. It is clear that appointments are a complex area and we cannot please 100% of patients, but a priority should be to remind patients of advanced bookings and also that appointments can also be booked online.
Waiting Area Facilities.
We asked this question at the end to make a general assessment as to how patients viewed our waiting area. The initial question was Do you find the seats comfortable? 86% of participants said that the did find them comfortable, and the final 14% disagreed. It should be noted that there have been discussions within the Surgery as to altering our waiting area seating, but no finalised plans have yet been announced.
The second question we asked in this section was Do you find our information board useful? By information board, we mean the Surgery announcement board within the Downstairs waiting area. 93% of participants said they did find the information board useful. Obviously, we would like this to be of a higher percentage, and should use the board more to advertise up-to-date surgery features (such as the ability to book appointments online).
The third part was Do you know the location of the GP's? 93% of participants stated they knew where to go (with regards to individual GP rooms) and only 7% did not know the individual locations. Again, we would like this to be a higher percentage and so will increase signage/inform patients at reception of any room changes on the day.
The final question within this section was Do you know the location of the Nurses? As our nurses work on both floors of the Surgery, and rooms do change due to different clinics, this is something we felt was important to find out of the opinion of. Only 86% of participants knew the location of the nurses, and the final 14% of participants were not aware. A solution to tackle this patient issue would be, again, to increase the level of signage within the Surgery, inform the patient of the nurses location at the point of checking in, and finally make sure our self check-in screen is updated every morning so patients who don't interact with the reception can see all the information.
On a final note, we did receive some comments that should be acknowledged. It was mentioned that we should use the text messaging facility more, and this is definitely an ongoing process between patients and Surgery to ensure up-to-date mobile phone numbers are kept on patient records to make this scheme a success. We did receive lots of positive feedback from patients as well, commending the knowledge of the doctor's and the helpfulness of the staff.
The key role of a Patient Participation Group is to bring together both patients and the Surgery to promote the wellbeing of patients. In order for the Bridge Street Surgery PPG to continue growing in success and effectiveness, we need the help of you- the patients- to tell us about any concerns you have. If you have any thoughts about what we should do to improve your experience within the Surgery, please let us know so we can address this.
Many thanks to those of you who participated, and we hope you find this feedback interesting.