12 years of the Balham Park Surgery Patient Liaison Group
Our patient group was initiated in February 2000 but its origins lay in four earlier meetings organised by Natalie Whyte, the Managing Partner, who recognised the value of patient involvement. It was always her intention that any group should be patient led and following the formation of an ad hoc committee in September 1999, a more formal organisation was set up.
The fundamental aims were
- To provide an information service which would give patients better access to the services they need and
- To increase patient involvement and interest in working collaboratively to improve primary healthcare and good health.
From the start, it was the intention to communicate with and involve as many patients as possible. BPSPLG’s membership is now “opt in” for new patients. We currently have 5800+ members most of whom receive the regular BPSPLG newsletters and notifications of special events by email with the rest by normal post. Newsletters are also distributed via the surgery and can be read on this site.
The BPSPLG Notice board prominently positioned in the waiting area in the surgery displays the committee contact list and current notices. Anyone wanting to get in touch with BPSPLG can leave a note for the committee at Reception-we have our own mailbox which is checked regularly.
Notable achievements include the 2002 Royal College of General Practitioners Patient Participation Award which enabled us to equip and run yoga classes for patients referred by clinicians. These proved so popular that the classes have continued to the present. Class members now contribute to the cost and classes have expanded to two a week.
Another notable success related to the defence of the early morning and late night surgeries of the Practice in 2005. The Primary Care Trust attempted to remove the funding for that service and the successful outcome of our campaign to preserve it went to the heart of what the Liaison Group could achieve on behalf of all patients. It involved taking the matter amongst others to the Wandsworth Overview and Scrutiny Committee as well as involving local media and BBC London radio and TV.
We also organised and hosted back in 2003 a Patient Participation outreach seminar, with the Primary Care Trust’s backing, for patients and staff from other practices, to share our early experiences of setting up BPSPLG.