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Reviewing services for patients by patients
The Practice Based Commissioning         group, such as those within this
Patient Group met in September.          copy.
Leaflets were sent to all Practices to
invite patients to join the discussion   WHAT IS PRACTICE BASED
group. The aim of the group is to        COMMISSIONING (PBC)?
look at services provided to all
                                         Practice based commissioning is
residents living in South Islington
                                         about involving GP practices in
and who are registered at the
                                         buying in services which are local
following Practices:
                                         and in convenient settings for
Clerkenwell Medical Practice,            patients.
Mitchison Road Surgery, The Family
                                         GPs are given resources to become
Practice, River Place Health Centre,
                                         involved in these decisions because
City Road Medical Centre, Roman
                                         they are best placed to understand
Way Medical Centre, The Amwell
                                         the needs of their patients.
Practice, Islington Central Medical
Centre, Bingfield Primary Care           Commissioning a service and
Centre, Elizabeth Avenue Group           following it through until the
Practice, St Peter’s Street Medical      service is set up involves the
Practice, Pine Street Medical            following processes:
Practice, Killick Street Health
                                            Assess patient needs
Centre, Prebend Street Surgery,
                                            Determine priorities
Ritchie Street Group Practice.
                                            Design a service based on need
The group will be looking at                Support patient choice
services which are provided after           Seek patient and public views
they have seen a GP. For example         GP’s are given a budget to buy
we may look at whether going to          services for their patients and if
the hospital for diabetic checks is      they make any savings on this they
better in terms of convenience and       can use the money saved for new
cost than being seen by your GP. It      services for patients.
is not reviewing current services
offered by individual Practices, but     Through Practice Based
the stage after being seen at your       Commissioning in Islington, a
surgery. However, you are able to        Community Dermatology Service
compare and review what services         was set up in 2007, a Community
are offered at different GP              Ear, Nose and Throat Service was
surgeries throughout Islington by        set up in 2009 and a Community
using the NHS Choices website. We        Diabetes service set up in 2008. A
hope to feedback to you from             lot of work has also taken place so
these meetings through newsletters       that more services are provided by
like this. They will also include        your GP Practice rather than at the
comments from patients on the            hospital.
WHAT PATIENTS SAY                         went on to talk about the need for
                                          a regular newsletter to tell people
Jain: I am a patient at Islington         what is going on and to seek their
Central Medical Centre and was            views.
invited by my GP to attend the first
meeting of the group in                   I do hope that you’ll find this
September.                                newsletter interesting and it will
                                          encourage you to get involved, or
The group was made up of patients         at least, share your thoughts on the
from the various practices that           changes you feel may help patients
form the South Islington patch, the       with your Practice Manager.
Practice Managers and Dr Peter
Baines who gave us an overview of         --------------------------------------------
what Practice Based Commissioning
(PBC) is about.                           Daphne: I attended the South
                                          Islington Practice-Based
PBC was a new concept for the             Commissioning (PBC) meeting in
patient participants and not easy to      Goswell Road on 16th September. I
get your head around, but the             am a member of the Elizabeth
presentation did give us an               Avenue Practice Patient’s Group.
overview of what it’s about and the
importance of involving patients in       The opening was very welcoming
deciding which health services            and the Practice Managers
should be prioritised at a local level.   encouraged us to speak up and
What PBC aims to do is provide the        give ideas, suggestions & general
most appropriate services for the         feedback.
local community such as self              A presentation that had a
referral by patients to                   frightening array of terms to
physiotherapy so that they do not         describe the commissioning process,
need to book an appointment with          as well as a jolly metaphor
their GP. The group will look at          involving lavatory paper was used
service pathways that patients take       to explain how PBC works. The GP
and see how they can be improved          did his best, but because of the
for patients in terms of being seen       different ways our respective
quickly and efficiently but also cost     practices operate it soon became
effectively.                              clear it will be difficult to make
What surprised me was how                 valid choices that will work for
different each practice is in its         everyone.
approach and that with only 2 or 3        Some felt that the meeting was to
patients from each practice it will       make sure we suggest things that
be hard to make a meaningful              coincide with the desires of the
contribution unless more patients         Practice, others to show our
become involved. That’s why we            awareness of the complexity of
funding services within PCTs. Lots of   NEXT MEETING
questions, not so many answers, as
yet!                                    Our next meeting will be held on
                                        16th November between 2-4pm at
All the Patient participants are        NHS Islington, Goswell Road.
volunteers and we struggled to          Patients are invited to sign in at
grasp what PBC is about. The            reception, a member of staff will
frustration in the room was real        show you to the meeting room.
and with over 20 people in the          Refreshments will be provided.
room, it meant not everyone felt
comfortable speaking out. Rose, a       The agenda is:
pensioner, was undaunted and               Group discussion on terms of
voiced her concern at having a 13          reference and ground rules for
week wait for the result of a test.        the group
                                           Discussion on extended hours in
Suggestions included circulating
                                           GP surgeries
handouts and an agenda before
                                           Looking at freed up resources
the meeting and educating patients
                                           and how they can and have
to use Camidoc rather than go to
                                           been used within South
the hospital's A&E dept which
places a huge drain on scarce
                                           Reviewing communication by
                                           CAMIDOC (out of hours service
Participants were asked to use their       provider) to patients on the
own experience of the NHS to               services that they provide.
inform the more altruistic aim of       The following meeting in February
deciding what’s best for everyone       2010 will be an evening meeting.
in their GP Practice. It's a steep
learning curve not just for the         Please let Tom Phillips -
Patient’s but also the practitioners.   pbc.admin@islington.nhs.uk /
The meeting produced lively             020 7527 1162 - know if you would
discussion and everyone seemed          like to attend the next meeting.
stimulated by engaging with this
process.                                FEEDBACK

I walked home with Rose after the       Please contact Tom Phillips if you
meeting and despite her own             have any comments or suggestions
problems she was full of                you would like to make regarding
enthusiasm for what we’d talked         the services you have experienced
about and how she could really          that you feel could be improved
contribute her wealth of                within South Islington. You can also
experience. Hopefully other             let Tom know if you would be
patient’s will want to come along       interested in joining the group and
and make their voice heard too.         / or receiving email updates.

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