Welcome to our first blog of 2023! We really enjoy January as it’s traditionally a time for new PPGs to be created along with existing groups looking to grow membership and develop new projects for the coming year – and this year is no exception!

We are currently working with several GP practices in Dorset who are looking to restart their face-to-face PPGs following a period of hiatus. It’s so good to see GP practices wanting to reengage with patients, especially with the large workloads they currently have.

A selfie of Jim and colleagues smiling outside of Christchurch Medical Practice

Bridges PPG is working closely with the practice manager and key staff to create a recruitment poster and SMS. The poster will be displayed around the practice (including TV screen), on the practice website and via social media, and a text message will be sent to people with a mobile phone. They want to raise awareness of the PPG and recruit proactive members to the group.

Bere Regis held an extremely successful relaunch this month with a new venue and a new time of the day, in the hope of appealing to more patients. Gill went along to talk to the new attendees and it was great to see the existing members too!

A picture of members at the Bere Regis Surgery meeting
A photograph of PPG members sat around a table

View seeking is very popular this time of year – the national annual GP patient survey started in January – PPGs have been encouraged to work with their GP practice to raise awareness of the survey and the importance of people completing it. More information: PPGs can help promote the annual GP survey – NHS Dorset.

Healthwatch has also launched a survey, giving people the opportunity to give feedback on GP practices, dentists, pharmacies, hospital services, social care and the 111 line amongst others. PPG members have been completing the survey and sharing with their communities to ensure as many people as possible complete the survey. It’s not too late, if you would like to complete or share the survey.

At the NHSE organised PPG Champions group meeting, we heard from Rosie Ayub, Public and Patient Participation Lead from NHSE. Rosie gave a very interesting and informative presentation to us all. If you would like to attend future meetings (or dip in and out), please email bethany.golding1@nhs.net who will be pleased to send you the calendar invitation, it really is the more the merrier when it comes to PPG members!

There have been discussions this month between GP practices and PPGs about the opportunity for patients to manage their own wellbeing and the tools available to help with this. The Dorchester Road PPG talked about the different apps available for people to manage their health at home, including monitoring blood pressure. Some patients will be invited by their practice to do this, but this doesn’t stop others from doing likewise! Following the meeting Jim went to the Orcha app library and downloaded a free blood pressure app, which enables him to monitor his blood pressure over time to give him peace of mind and identify issues early. There are many more apps available for health and wellbeing on the app library.

A picture of Jim smiling while having his blood pressure taken

Outside of work Jim and his wife had family over to visit on two consecutive weekends, where they could show off Weymouth, it also meant the house stayed tidy for longer! He also went to the cinema several times as there are many good films out currently. His favourite was A Man Called Otto but be warned this film will probably bring you to tears!

The biggest news of Gill’s January was that her grandson started walking. In her leisure time Gill loves quizzes and managed to fit two in in January (both times her team were victorious, but Gill could only claim to have helped with the music rounds!). She also attended a fantastic Burns Night with friends where the haggis was piped in by a Scottish piper, and a great time was had by all.

An image of Orlando walking
Haggis being piped in

As we move towards the end of winter and spring is around the corner (hurrah!) Jim and Gill are really looking forward to being out and about at as many PPG meetings they possibly can. It’s so great to be able to connect with Dorset’s fantastic PPGs and as always we thank you so much for your incredible support.