NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) met with members of the GP Practices' Patient Reference Groups (PRG) to talk about how we could work together, to start an ongoing conversation that will benefit people across the city.
50 PRG members attended with 18 GP Practices represented from across Sheffield.
PRGs are a partnership and provide positive engagement. There does need to be more recognition of the time, experience and knowledge that PRG members bring to the groups and practice.
PRGs are set up very differently across the City. The numbers of patients attending and the interaction and commitment that they have from the practice vary considerably. Some PRGs include practice managers, GPs, whilst others don’t have any practice staff involvement.
Another issue raised was financial, resources, training and induction.
PRGs are a voice for change and influence. There were many good examples of differences that PRGs had made, including prescription ordering, appointment booking, surveys and newsletters.
Discussion showed that members wanted to share good practice and cooperate with other PRGs. They also want information about the local areas that their practices serve including inequalities, demographics, long term conditions and languages. Social prescribing and prevention were also of interest.
Discussion also showed that PRGs would like support from NHS Sheffield CCG including a city wide PRG recruitment campaign, template Terms of Reference / agendas, a consistent approach to PRG setups and NAPP guidance and affiliation.
Further themes that came out of the discussions at the event included:
Clarity over the purpose and role of PRGs. Some members shared that having good Terms of Reference in place had allowed them to distinguish between individual issues and the wider perspective of the practice needed.
Many PRGs struggle with the representation and diversity of their groups (young people and BME being particular gaps) and issues related to recruiting patients to be a part of the PRG.
PRG members want information about the local areas that their practices serve, including inequalities, demographics, long term conditions and languages. Social prescribing and prevention were also of interest.
Accessing and communicating with all patients from the practice.
Patients feel that there are not enough available GP appointments and they are hard to access. However, some members did say that when their groups have looked into this further, they found that the perception of appointments being unavailable does not always match the reality.