Patient Representation Group Survey

Patient Representation Group Survey

The Guildhall & Barrow Surgery
Local Patient Participation Report

This report summarises development and outcomes of The Guildhall & Barrow Surgery’s Patient Reference Group (PRG) in 2012/13.

It contains:

  1. Profile of the practice population and PRG
  2. The process used to recruit to our PRG
  3. The Priorities for the survey, how they were agreed them and method used
  4. Results of the Patient Survey
  5. The Action Plan that was agreed and how it was agreed
  6. The progress made with the action plan 2011/2012
  7. The progress made with the action plan 2012/2013
  8. Confirmation of our opening times

Thank you to our Patient Representation Group for supporting us again this year. Your feedback has been invaluable and we are looking forward to implementing your suggestions to improve our services to our patients.

1. Profile of the practice population and PRG

The group was set up by the practice with the aim of gathering patients from as broad a spectrum as possible to get a truly representative sample of the patient population. We agreed it would be set up as a virtual group where we would communicate with the participants via email. Building on last years successful virtual group, our ongoing recruitment of participants throughout the year saw the group grow by 14% in 2012.

Practice Population Summary

Demographic Profile of the Group




The current practice population for male and female patients:



Age profile of the group

Under 17








Over 84

Frequency of visits by the group



Very Rarely

Ethnicity of the group

White British

White Irish

Any other White background

Mixed white and Black Caribbean

Mixed white and Black African

White and Asian

Any other mixed background

Asian or Asian British Indian

Asian or Asian British Pakistani

Asian or Asian British Bangladeshi

Any other Asian Background

Black or Back British Caribbean


Any other Black Background

Other Ethnic Groups

Not Stated

Ethnicity within the Practice Representation Group was heavily weighted towards White British with three other ethnic groups having a small representation within the group. However in relation to the ethnicity of the practice population of 94% White British ethnicity this is a comparable figure.
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2. The process used to recruit to our PRG

Every patient who registered at the practice was given a patient representation group letter along with registration form which included sections on capturing their demographic profile: age, sex, ethnicity and frequency of visit to the practice.

In addition, each doctor within the practice used their local knowledge of their personal lists to further identify patients who would help to reflect a broad representation of the practice population. These patients were sent the same letter and form.

The practice has a good representation of new mothers, full time carers, retirees, locally employed and city commuters, care home resident’s and drug and alcohol dependants from the local charity.
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3. The Priorities for the survey, how they were agreed them and method used.

The practice agreed to create a Virtual Practice Representation Group.

A survey was emailed to this virtual group.

The practice was conscious that it did not want to inundate the group with too many emails and felt the most effective way to get an understanding of key issues to be discussed by the group was to send out a condensed survey with 9 questions.

This survey suggested three initial topics (based on regular feedback from patients to the practice and consideration of building on last year’s patient survey feedback). Included in the survey was an additional free text box for any other suggestions.

The virtual group prioritised the suggested topics and one other suggestion was made in the free text.

The remainder of the survey contained more detailed questions based on the three suggested topics and one additional suggestion was already reflected in the remainder of the survey content.
The group voted and commented on the remainder of the survey using tick boxes and free text boxes.

As second survey was sent to the group with the results and comments from the first survey. This allowed the group to feedback further on additional comments and suggestions that were made by the group participants.
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4. Results of the Patient Survey

1. The Patient Participation Group rated three topics for discussion in the following order;

Awareness of Clinics (services and facilities available from the practice)

Communication( Practice to Patient)

Improvement of the Website

Further Suggestions

  • Booking appointments online.

2. Improvement of communication of general information and update to our patients

Via our website.

Appointments screen in reception. ( at Guildhall only)

More posters in the waiting area.

More leaflets in the waiting area.

Self check in system. (at Guildhall only)

Further Suggestions:

  • A dedicated area for practice related updates.
  • Email.
  • Text messages.
  • Notification to participation group of major changes. (Doctors and procedures).

3. Awareness of clinical services offered by the Practice


Cervical Screening Tests



Coronary Heart Disease


Health Promotion



Leg Ulcers

Minor Injury

Minor Surgery

Smoking Cessation

Further Suggestions

  • Podiatry

4. Awareness of Primary Care Services within the Practice.


Medical Examinations – including DVLA (inc HGV) & Insurance Medicals


Terminal Care

Travel Advice

Further Suggestions

  • None

5. The Guildhall & Barrow website ease of use.
(1 being difficult and 4 being very easy to use)





Further Suggestions

  • Develop website so that print can be enlarged for partial sighted readers.
  • Option to go directly to the repeat prescription ordering page.

6. The Guildhall & Barrow Website providing all the information needed for users.



Most of the time

All of the time

Further Suggestions

  • None

7. The Guildhall & Barrow Website providing links to other medical information being useful.



8. Online registration and comments/ complaints forms would be useful.



9. Further comments and suggestions to improve the services the Practice offers.

  • More appointments at Barrow.
  • Reception team at front desk all the time during surgery hours at the Guildhall Surgery.
  • More frequent updates to website.
  • Book appointments online.
  • I like the self check in system as it is very convenient, additional option to book appointments online would be useful also.
  • To be advised which services are being cut by the Local Health Authority, which other areas are keeping.

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5. The Action Plan that was agreed and how it was agreed

The Practice discussed the results and feedback from the survey and emailed proposed actions for the group to vote on and feedback.

We agreed the following action plan with the group on 15th January 2013

1. Building a new practice website to include:

  • Online registration
  • Online comments/ feedback forms
  • Regular updates on practice news on website.
  • Links to Facebook and Twitter for practice communication and updates.
  • Detailed information on clinics, services and facilities offered within the practice.
  • Useful links to health information
  • Links to preventative healthcare tools
  • Option to enlarge the font size to support partial sighted readers.

2. Booking online appointments

  • This will not be launched at the same time as the new website, but will be up and running later in the year.

3. Communication – For patients not the internet?

To support the patients who do not use or have access to the website, we are proposing the following actions at both the main and branch surgery.

  • Dedicated area for practice updates and information of services offered by the practice.
  • Monthly focus on key health issue.
  • Dedicated area for contact information to link to other health support groups.
  • Dedicated area for Primary Care Services within the practice.
  • Quarterly newsletter/ updates available.

The areas where we could not achieve what the PRG wanted were:

  • Email

    Currently we do not hold enough patient email addresses’ to make this an effective way of communication to the majority of patients.

    Use of email as a form of direct communication with your GP has been discussed at length.

    At this present time the practice does not feel that it would be an appropriate or effective form of communication between GP and patient. GP’s could not gain instant clarification on any questions they may have. Something that is possible with face to face interaction or via the telephone.

  • Text messages

    We currently do no have the IT in practice to deliver this service.

    However we are hopeful that this form of communication to patients will be in place sooner rather than later. We are currently looking at updated IT systems to make this possible towards the end of 2013.

  • Reception team at front desk at all times during surgery hours at the main surgery.

    Our reception staff have many jobs to cover both at the front desk and in the back office. These including; manning the phones for appointments, home visits, results and other queries, booking in patients at the desk, helping patients who have come to collect prescriptions and other paperwork. They also do an enormous amount of work supporting the GP’s and nursing team. The work flow is varied and rapid, so to have someone on reception all the time would mean at times staff are redundant whilst others struggle in the back to manage high call volumes and work load. We have avoided an automated phone service as although acceptable to some, in general a lot of patients find them impersonal and obstructive. We have installed a self check in system so patients can at least let the nurses and doctors know they have arrived for their appointment at the surgery, without having to queue at the desk. There is a bell on the desk to let staff know you are waiting and they will always endeavour to attend to your needs as soon as possible.

  • More appointments at Barrow

    In general we have not found there have been many complaints about lack of appointments available to see a nurse or doctor at Barrow. However there have been times when our regular Barrow doctors are on holiday, this results in fewer appointments each day in our branch surgery which has caused some problems to our patients. We have reviewed the cover for our doctors and there is always a doctor present at Barrow in the mornings for patients who need seeing before their doctor returns. If there is no available doctor in the afternoon at Barrow, any patients who feel they need an urgent appointment will be offered an appointment at The Guildhall Surgery.

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6. The progress made with the action plan from 2011/2012

Last year’s action plan was introduced immediately after we published the report on the practice website.

You said….
We did….
The result is:

Booking routine appointment sooner than 4 weeks in advance or book on the day.
Introduced 48 hrs in advance booking options.
Improved routine appointment booking system, with more patients being able to see a Dr for a routine appointment within 48 hrs.

Improve appointment booking system and reception team presence.
Let us know if Dr’s are running on time when checking in.
Introduced a self check in system at the main surgery.
Number of patients queuing at reception to be checked in has been significantly reduced and has enabled the reception team to focus on dealing with patients who have more complex or personal matter to discuss at the front desk. They also have more availability to answer the telephones more rapidly.
Self check in system lets patients know if Dr is running to schedule.

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7. The progress made with the action plan from 2012/13

We will update this section as the website is launch and the other actions are implemented over the upcoming year.
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8. The Main Surgery (Lower Baxter Street, Bury St Edmunds)

The Surgery is open Monday to Friday between 8.00am and 6.30pm, with the exception of Bank Holidays.

The telephone lines are open between these times.
Surgery hours vary but, generally, are between 8.30 am and 11.00 am and between 4.00 pm and 6.00 pm each day.

Extended Hours
In addition to regular appointments, we offer a number of evening appointments at the main surgery for patients who find it hard to attend the surgery during normal opening hours. These appointments are for routine matters and can be booked in advance.

Monday and Thursday after 6:30pm

Barrow Surgery

The Barrow branch is open as follows:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday
8.30 pm – 12.30 pm
2.30 pm – 6.00 pm

8.30 am – 12.30 pm
3.30 pm – 6.00 pm

8.30 am – 12.30 pm
Closed in the afternoon

When the Barrow surgery is closed, ring 01284 701601 for emergency medical attention.

Home visits
Home visits may be appropriate for those who are genuinely housebound or whose medical condition would be made worse by travelling to the surgery. If you wish to request a home visit telephone: 01284 701601 or 0844 4773921. Except in an emergency, please ensure your request for a visit is received before 10.30 am.

The surgery offers access to the following services during core hours:

  • Cervical screening tests
  • Contraception
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease support
  • Counselling
  • Diabetes
  • Dispensing
  • General medical
  • Health promotion
  • General nursing
  • Hypertension
  • Immunisation
  • Leg ulcers
  • Medical examinations ( HGV/PSV licence etc)
  • Minor injury
  • Minor surgery
  • Smoking cessation
  • Terminal care
  • Travel advice

Patients can contact the main surgery on 01284 701601 or Barrow 0844 4473921 to discuss or book an appointment for the above services.

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