Three years ago I was having my evening meal when the telephone rang. It was Dr Lowes asking me to become Chairman of the PPG. To say this was unexpected would be an understatement as it was something I had never thought of or wanted. Somehow I could not say no and here I am today!
Initially, I started with some trepidation and wondered what I had let myself in for, but it has turned out to be a most rewarding and interesting exercise – something I would not have missed.
I had two initial concerns. Firstly my complete lack of clinical experience and knowledge; secondly, my fear that a PPG was just a “talking shop” where nothing would be achieved. I could not have been more wrong on both counts. In actual fact, I found lack of clinical knowledge an advantage – it has helped see some of the issues more clearly from a patient’s point of view and besides, the Practice has all the clinical experience necessary and needs help from its PPG in areas where it does not have the expertise.
Most of our work is done outside the monthly meetings – the meetings (2 hours per month) being where we report back on progress made, agree and allocate new projects and decide on priorities. The meetings are very focussed and are far removed from a general moan or a talking shop!
We believe, in the past couple of years, we have achieved much and helped the Practice move forward. On behalf of the Practice, we have produced patient guides and leaflets, represented patient views on various NHS & SDCCG reviews of their services, lobbied MPs and local Councillors on car parking problems, the withdrawal of phlebotomy services, produced and published the Practice Newsletter and where appropriate, made recommendations to the Practice on various issues such as the appointment system.
We believe we have made a difference and for me personally, its been most fulfilling. We have built the basis of a strong foundation for the PPG to move forward. My three years as Chairman will end in March 2018. A number of other PPG committee members will also have completed a three year term and be required to step down.
As a result, we are looking for replacements not just for a new Chairman but also new Committee members. If you are interested, and I hope you are, I am sure you will find it most interesting and worthwhile. Please think about it – it would be such a shame for your PPG to lose its way now.
I look forward to hearing from you!