138 Chapel Street, Salford M3 6AF England    0161 819 4790

138 Chapel Street, Salford M3 6AF England   
0161 819 4790

Patient Reference Group

Patient Reference Group

The Patient Participation or Reference group is an integral part to the running of Blackfriars Medical Practice.

The group is made up of a cross section of patients which is a reflective proportion of the practice population, it is essential that we ensure we have representation of patients from different categories to ensure that we get an accurate view of the entire population.

The point of the patient reference group is to ensure that patients are given a voice and a opportunity to change services and/or facilities with the support of the practice management.

The group “meets” virtually a couple of times of year. “Virtual” meetings are ran by email, text and phone when neccessary. We find this is the best way to gain good engagement for the patient population that the practice serves.

For more information about Patient Participation groups in General Practice please see http://www.napp.org.uk/

Patient Reference Group 12-13 & 13-14

This was the first year for the PRG at Blackfriars and so the initial issues tackled covered a wide area. A questionnaire was sent out and patients in the group were given a month to respond.

Following this a questionnaire was created for the whole population and the results were used to create an action plan.

The changes to the services in 2012-2013 are:







Please see reports tab for full details,

In the following year (2013-2014) of our PRG we were able to dive deeper into issue and suggest ways of improving the practice that will have a much larger impact on the way the practice functions. Again a survey was done and the results helped in determining the most important point to be taken forward and implemented.


The changes to the services in 2013-2014 are:








Please see reports tab for full details.







PRG report 13-14

PRG survey 13-14

Action plan summary 13-14

BFMP has a very young population possibly due to the location of the practice. On the border of the city centre near to the universities, the patients are of a large part students and also city centre workers who are affluent.

The practice currently has a growing and changeable list size and it is accepted that the profile of the practice may change year on year and therefore so will the profile of the PPG. In fact it is important to point out that the list size has grown by approximately 1000 patients from April 2012 – March 2013. The PRG was created at the beginning of the financial year when the population was less diverse; the practice will re-profile the population and recruit members to the PPG to incorporate any changes next year.

The practice profile is as follows:


Female – 46%

Male – 54%


Under 16 – 4%

16y- 30y – 59%

30y-40y – 27%

40y – 50y – 6%

50y – 65y 3%

Over 65y – 1%  

Ethnicity (based on those recorded, which is approximately 75% of the whole population):

White British / Irish – 79%

White European / Other – 7%

Black British / Other – 5%

Asian – 4%

Mixed race – 0.5%

Chinese – 4.5%

We also considered that although not recorded Blackfriars has a proportion of patients who are transgender and gay. This has increased over the last year and will be considered in the PRG profile next year.

As the practice was only opened in 2009, it has none of its own deprivation data as this is produced historically.

In order to ensure the PRG had representation from the correct deprivation quintiles the practice reviewed a number of newly registered patients who registered in Q3 last year 2011.

During this quarter Blackfriars registered 268 new patients, 75 of these were students and just 18 were unemployed.

Employment rates:

Employed – 65%

Students – 28%

Unemployed – 7%

The practice feels as though the PRG has representation from the various groups that make up its profile. There are 13 members and an example of their profiles is as follows:

Female – 28y – Chinese – No major health concerns – Employed as a doctor

Female – 26y – White British – No major health concerns – Employed as unknown

Male – 34y – White British – two disease registers and past health concerns – Unemployed

Female – 45y – White British – No major health concerns – employed as an administrator

Female – 46y – White British – No Major health concerns – employed as TV production manager – parent of child patient with heart condition

Male – 64y – White British – three disease registers and other health concerns – retired

Female – 26y – Indian – No health concerns – Student.

How the PRG at BFMP works

Blackfriars Medical Practice on the whole communicates with its patients in modern ways. We use email and text where possible and have a fully functional website. We find that the young, diverse population respond to using technology and engage better than more traditional ways of communication like letter and phone.

As this was the first year of the PPG it was important that the communication methods and effectiveness were considered.

It was agreed that the PRG would be ran and possibly chaired (if agreed by the PRG) by the Practice Manager and the ways of communication and how to run this were discussed in the Practice Meeting in June. The Practice staff are working with this population every day and are best qualified to decide which way would work best.

It was decided due to the communication methods already in place that the PRG at Blackfriars would be ran as a virtual group through the text message and email systems.


The profile of the population was discussed and the GP’s were made aware of the cross section of patients required in order to form a PRG that was representative of the population.

The staff and clinicians felt the best way to gain a commitment from patients to join the PRG was to have a GP speak to them in consultation when and if appropriate.

Therefore the practice underwent a two week period where one GP (Dr. Farooq) spoke to every patient regarding the PRG and passed on email addresses and telephone numbers to the Practice Manager. Along side this, there was also a poster in reception and a message on the message board of the website to offer people the chance to join the PRG if they desired.

Following this it became apparent that the population is somewhat difficult to engage with this type of activity possibly due to the fast paced busy lives many of them live. Despite this we feel as though we recruited a PRG that was reflective of the population at the time.

Next Steps:

A letter from the Practice Manager outlining objectives of the PRG and also terms of reference were sent out via email to the members of the PRG. This also outlined a suggested way of how to establish priorities (questionnaire) as a group and gave the PRG members an opportunity to suggest other ways of doing this. They were also given a description of the practice patient profile in order to support decisions.

Priorities from the PRG

The questionnaire was sent out and as this was the first year for PRG for Blackfriars the questionnaire was written to cover a wide range of areas. The categories included Communication, Availability, Facilities, Staff Knowledge and Keeping us Informed (e.g. contact details up to date). These categories were decided following a brief with the Blackfriars staff.

The questionnaire was emailed out to the group and was returned and points discussed over a monthly time period. Different patients displayed different concerns and opinion as expected and results were collated:

Please note this is a summary of results, (full results available on request)


·     Phone: Over 90 % of the PRG said they get through within a minute Mostly / sometimes

·     Website: 28% of the group have never used the website to communicate with us, 57% have used it minimally but only 15% use it regularly.

·     Texting:  Half the group had received a text and half the group hadn’t.

·     Preferred Methods: Phone and email are preferred

·     Social Network: Half of the group feel that the practice should have a facebook or twitter account and the other half feel the practice shouldn’t, however over 80% of the PRG think that our young population would engage in communicating this way.

Following dis cussion it was agreed that in the PRG’s opinion


v     It seems phones are answered quickly and there are no major concerns in this area

v     The practice has a fully functional website & it seems it could be utilized further by the practice population

v     It is possible that the text system could be used a bit more, however text is the least preferred method of communication

v     Email is the 2nd preferred method behind phone, is there a possibility that some services can move to email, rather than phone?

v     The PPG would prefer not to use a social media account, however the group feels that a young population is likely to use it.


·     100% of the PRG said its easy to get an appointment at Blackfriars, they are also happy to deal with clinicians over the phone if appropriate.

·     100 % said the practice offers a good range of appointments across this time and the preferred appointment time was split across the practice opening times.

Following discussion it was agreed that in the PRG’s opinion


v     It seems the practice is offering good availability and the appointments system is working well.


·     100% of the PRG said the practice is clean

·     The PRG feel that the reception would benefit from adding facilities in reception, the top three weredrinking water, health promotion and TV on the big screens.

·     The group feel that the practice would benefit from advertising the limited parking more.

·     The group have a good understanding and have noticed the facilities in place for patients who use a wheelchair.

Following discussion it was agreed that in the PRG’s opinion


v     It seems some improvements can be made to the reception area.

v     The practice is well equipped for wheelchairs and disabled patients and this is recognized by the PPG

v     There is no concern regarding the cleanliness of the practice

v     The practice has limited parking and the group should consider if it is worth advertising or not. 


·     100% of the PRG feel our GP’s and Nurses keep them informed about their health. 

·     100% of the PRG said they had a choice of hospital / venue when being referred.

·     100% of the PRG said staff were polite

·     The majority had received notification of their blood test result, 100% said they would like to have notification of a normal result.

Following discussion it was agreed that in the PRG’s opinion


  •     Patients feel informed and are given a good choice
  •      Possibility to review giving out “normal” results

Keeping Details Up to date

  •  The PRG would prefer to inform the practice of changes using email

Following discussion it was agreed that in the PRG’s opinion


  •   Possible to implement a policy of informing etc.

Once these results were collated and sent to the PRG, there was some email discussion which allowed the PRG to summarise and discuss the “priorities”. The Practice Manager (chair) created a questionnaire from this information that was to be given to the entire practice population. The questionnaire was designed to establish where beneficial changes could be implemented. The PRG had some consultation time for this questionnaire and on this occasion the group agreed that no changes were required and the questionnaire went out to the whole practice population.

Surveying the Practice Population:

Whilst the practice survey to implement change is much smaller than the large National GP survey the practice surveyed its patients based on some of the concepts the National GP survey use. This was to ensure that surveying is fair and that The PRG are given a summary of results that are truly reflective of the practice population. Points considered were:

  •     Time Scales
  •     How many patients
  •     How patients will be approached
  •     Ensuring the results are reflective of the practice population

As the GP survey randomises the patients to ensure a good cross section of “patient types”. The PRG felt it important that a random section of patients at Blackfriars were surveyed also. The practice clinicians see approximately 800 patients per month and so it was felt that the survey should be given to every patient that comes through the door in a calendar month.

The practice team were briefed by the Practice Manager and the staff promoted the survey at every opportunity.

It was felt that a minimum 10 % return on the survey would suffice to get a reflective response and it was expected that the practice could easily achieve this.

Results of the Practice Survey:

Practice survey results collated and interestingly some different views were established than those that came from the PRG priorities questionnaire.


  •     The majority of people are aware of the website but the majority also stated they hadn’t used it.
  •     Over 80% of patients surveyed agreed that email would be an effective way of communicating.
  •     The majority of patients felt that the practice population would not be likely to use a social media account


  •     A large majority of patients would like to see drinking water in reception
  •     A small amount would like to see TV and more health promotion on the large screens
  •     The majority of patients surveyed stated they would not drive to the practice irrespective of the parking facilities.


  •     A large majority of patients would like to have a normal test result communicated to them via text or email.

Keeping details up to date

  •     75 % of patients feel comfortable informing the practice of changes in details via email.

Results were emailed out to the PRG and comments collated by the practice manager. Some of the changes suggested by the PRG were:

To add drinking water to reception

To add TV to reception

To add Health promotion to the screens in reception

To communicate normal test results via text

To communicate normal test results via phone by clinician in case of questions

To purchase more parking and advertise

To advertise and prom ote the practice website more

A social media account

A newsletter, either hard copy available in practice or electronically.

The suggestions were discussed with the practice management and budget holder and an action plan created. This also stated some of the reasons why certain changes could not be made at this time but would indeed be considered in the future. Consideration was also taken to the areas in the practice survey where majorities were high.

Action Plan Implemented:

Please see separate action plan.

Future of the PRG:

  •     Next year the practice will concentrate on recruiting more patients for the PRG
  •     Possibility of an annual face to face meet at the practice
  •     Re-vist of any suggested changes from the PRG members that were not implemented this year
  •     Possible change of chair to clinician for a different “staff view”.

Joining the Group

If you would like to be part of the group next year (from April 2013) please contact the Practice Manager


0161 819 4790

Or use the Contact us tab on this page.

If you have a suggestion that you would like the group to consider, please forward via email to Rachel on the email above. Alternatively please hand your hand written suggestion to reception.


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