The Cranborne Practice in East Dorset serves a patient base of just over 11,200 people from its main surgery and is based in a rural village, while its branch surgery (Lake Road) is found in the growing town of Verwood.  Cranborne and Verwood’s communities have different views on the need to participate in the PPG and require different engagement strategies.

In early 2020 members developed a strategy to reinvigorate the group, raise awareness of the PPG and employ mechanisms to promote two-way interaction and participation from a wider number of patients.  Actions included publicising the PPG’s existence, varying the days, start times and venues for meetings, developing a PPG newsletter and creating a virtual group (through Facebook) for those who are not willing or able to attend a meeting.

However, from March 2020 onwards, some of our plans had to be revised given the pandemic and subsequent social restrictions.  At both surgeries, staff and clinicians worked tirelessly to manage demand brought on by the pandemic while trying to maintain business as usual.  Although we switched from in person to meetings via video link, we increased the number of sessions held from three meetings to eight over the last six months of 2020.

Throughout, the PPG members have sought to provide help to the Practice as much as possible. Over the past months, members have supported the Practice with:

  • Development of the Practice website to make it more patient friendly
  • Communications to raise awareness of the PPG and use of social media (Facebook and Nextdoor) to share information with the broader community
  • Supporting the setup of drive-through flu clinics including test runs to help the Practice plan logistics, recruitment, deployment of and support to volunteer traffic marshals
  • Communications on flu clinics and raising community awareness, and patient input to local NHS led projects, e.g. the Learning Disability checklist (developed by a PPG member).

And there’s more! Initiatives still in progress:

  •  Providing updates on the local COVID-19 vaccination plans
  • Supporting the Practice in encouraging and responding to ongoing patient feedback
  • Accessing health services through digital means
  • Engaging with patients outside of PPG and Social Media (for example resurrecting the PPG newsletter and getting surgery TV screens working in waiting rooms)

Our volunteer members come from various backgrounds, who each bring something different to the Group but are all committed to working with the managers and clinicians at The Cranborne Practice to support and promote the best possible health care for all patients.

Read more about our activities in our PPG Action Plan and in our PPG Infographic.