June - Thanet Health Reference Group
Patient Participation Group leaders from GP practices across the island came together to discuss health matters at Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group offices during June. ThanetHealth Reference Group, which I chair on behalf of NHS Thanet CCG, meets bi-monthly to help and support health commissioners, share ideas and promote best practice for patients here in Thanet. Healthwatch Kent representatives gave a presentation on how their organisation works to support patients across the county and they received good feedback from group members on ways they could work even closer with the organisation in future. Our engagement professional Katie Blissett and I updated group members on the aim to stage several public engagement events in Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs on a range of health service and social care issues when the extended political election purdah period is over. Long discussion took place around issues affecting appointment making with GP's and a 'phone triage' project being trialled at one particular practice being developed to help ease matters. Members were also very concerned at the apparently large numbers of people failing to show for appointments that had been booked. Further work was proposed in relation the issue of 'non attenders'. Our meetings keep going from strength to strength and we have now introduced Healthwatch Kent to further support the patient voice here in Thanet. I never cease to be impressed by the level of commitment from volunteers working to improve health services for local Thanet residents'.