Patient Participation Group activity March – June 2020 Supporting surgeries and patients during Covid-19

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Summary of report content

During May 2020 Healthwatch Oxfordshire contacted all Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) in Oxfordshire to hear how the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted on their activity. 18 PPGs completed the online survey.

Most PPGs were still in touch with their surgery using email, telephone, and in Bicester all three practices and PPGs met via Zoom. A minority of PPGs who responded were still supporting their practice.

PPGs continue to utilise different ways of communicating with their members including email, notice in surgeries and via the practice website. Other methods included using local newsletters, local papers, and village websites.

Text messages and via the practice website were the most common forms of communication between practice and patient identified by the respondents.

Seven of respondents are working with other PPGs in their Primary Care Network. The PPGs in the North appeared more active than other areas.

The biggest change to surgery services reported is that many patients before a visit to their GP surgery are triaged first over the telephone. This is then usually followed up by either a telephone or video consultation with a GP. Online consults are also now being used more widely.

A few comments received highlighted the difficulty for those where speech is affected; patients who are deaf, have had strokes or have a mental or physical disability are unable to use telephone consultations effectively but it is all that is offered most of the time to discuss symptoms there was also mention that some surgery staff were not following social distancing rules.

GPs have listened to them and made changes to their website, produced newsletters for their patients explaining Covid-19.

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General details

Report title 
Patient Participation Group activity March – June 2020 Supporting surgeries and patients during Covid-19
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Oxfordshire
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 22 September, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 23 March, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 30 June, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Information providing
Quality of appointment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Not applicable
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.