After a crazily busy couple of months, August was fractionally less frenetic!  It has been a brilliant month with some practices getting in touch as they look to relaunch their PPGs – after the delays courtesy of COVID many are now able to devote more time to increasing their engagement with their patients, which can only be a good thing!

Jim went to Portland again to speak to more people taking part in the community conversations project on the island. The research being carried out on Portland will really help with future planning of health, social care and voluntary services there and should benefit everyone living on the island!

Gill went along to the Wool PPG meeting where the group discussed their Annual General Meeting due in November and the election of officers for the following year. She also hosted the bi-monthly meeting of the North Dorset PPG Chairs Network, always a lively meeting with lots of great discussion and feedback from the PPG representatives in Sherborne, Sturminster Newton, Shaftesbury, Blandford, Gillingham and Stalbridge.

Jim has worked closely with Bridges PPG and practice this month to support them with their research into people who did not attend (DNA) appointments. He helped them create and distribute a survey to people who had recently missed appointments, the results have come back and the practice have created an action plan to present at the next PPG meeting. A template of the questionnaire is now available on our PPG webpage.

Gill attended the Grove PPG meeting in Sherborne where the group discussed the practice newsletter which has been created in collaboration with the PPG, and the support arrangements for the upcoming flu clinics. She also went along to the Barcellos Practice PPG in Ferndown which was formed earlier this year and is proving to be a really well engaged and effective group!

Following the success of PPG organised health talks, Jim and Gill have been talking with other groups about hosting topics such as pre-diabetes, hypertension and the menopause to name a few. If you’re interested in having a health talk at your practice please get in touch!

As many of you will have seen, there is a national campaign at the start of September called ‘know your numbers’ to encourage people to be aware of their blood pressure readings. Jim has been working with Bridges PPG to create a text message to encourage fellow patients to download a blood pressure monitoring app that links to the GP practice, more information will be in the September blog.

Outside of work, like many of us Gill was on annual leave at the beginning of August, where she and her husband were able to surprise their twin son and daughter on their 22nd birthday!

Jim spent much of August on the motorways – two family members had 70th birthday celebrations, one in Bedfordshire and one in Essex. It was fantastic to catch up with the wider family and both events avoided the rain!

At the end of August Gill and her husband René celebrated their Silver Wedding with family and friends – who were all very relieved that the weather stayed fine!

As we slide into September, our diaries are filling up with Autumn PPG meetings and lots of discussions with practices who have asked for our help – as many of you know, we’re always happy to help wherever we can in encouraging and supporting patient engagement!