During the Coronavirus outbreak, many PPGs suspended their activities allowing practice staff to focus on health emergency. However, most proactive PPGs continued working and were creative in their approach.
When traditional face to face engagement is not possible, PPGs are exploring new ways of engaging with the practice and patients. Dynamic patients’ feedback is crucial to ensure that changes, made to services during coronavirus outbreak, are communicated to all practice patients and that patients feel safe and looked after, including those without access to digital tools.
Examples of good practice during the Covid-19
- PPGs were successfully using Zoom (or similar) to hold virtual PPG meetings, to share patients’ experiences and timely feedback with the practice team.
- PPGs online meetings, focused on Coronavirus outbreak, received great interest. To manage a large number of patients’ questions, one PPG collated and submitted questions to GP practice staff in advance. This ensured that all or at least most important issues were addressed during that meeting.
- Most GP practices were sending weekly updates to patients about changes to services during this challenging time. Some PPGs supported their practice by checking the language and suggested alternatives to any jargon before messages were sent to patients, published in a newsletter or the website.
- Some PPGs set up a volunteer group to help fellow patients who were shielding or self-isolating and had difficulties obtaining essentials and medication.
- One GP practice collaborated with PPG to record a video message to practice patients which encourage patients to use GP practice and reassure their safety
- Some PPGs are publishing newsletters focused on Coronavirus. It includes information about services, access to services and links to support for those who are self-isolating or shielding. This is an effective way to communicate GP practice messages, share updates and respond to patients’ concerns.