Patient groups are celebrating NHS

Dear Sir, — No doubt many Chronicle readers have been joining in the anniversary celebrations for the NHS, which reached 70 years of age on 5th July and the patient participation groups of both GP practices — Biddulph Doctors and Biddulph Valley Surgery decided to join in the celebration of this very special event by having display boards set up in the primary care centre, also in Sainsbury, the library, the town hall, and the leisure centre, all of whose support is appreciated. 
The featured photographs depict the impact the NHS has had on our own town and surrounding area, particularly when Biddulph Grange was a hospital, and when the general practitioners became available to all.
Even on the first day of the displays being set up, it was very encouraging to receive so many positive comments and expressions of thanks to our groups for their efforts in providing the reminders of these early days of free healthcare, and it has certainly been interesting to see the reactions when residents were able to spot themselves or a relative or friend in the black and white images displayed. 
Our thanks go to Mr and Mrs Lomas, Biddulph and District Genealogy and Historical Society, Biddulph Museum, members of Biddulph Photographers (past and present) for providing the photographs that have enabled the displays to be seen and enjoyed by so many.
The NHS celebration event actually followed quite closely on the patient participation groups’ awareness week in June, which is an annual nationwide project to raise the profile of the groups and what their activities actually involve, such as promoting patient access to online services. 
This is available to all those registered at our two practices, and an account can be created by requesting a password from the receptionists and following the instructions on the information sheet provided by them. 
“DNAs” (did not attend) were also highlighted, the aim being to encourage our patients to ensure appointments are attended but where that is not possible, then cancelled so that the appointment can be taken up by another patient. 
The first stage of The Medicines Matter campaign is also proceeding, this being aimed at reducing waste by patients only requesting those medicines they require, and to avoid “stockpiling”, resulting in a reduction in the amount of money lost to the NHS due to the vast volume of returned medicines having to be destroyed.
Biddulph Valley Surgery PPG meets every six weeks, and Biddulph Doctors every other month. Meetings take place in the practice building, and practice personnel including GPs and nurses, and administration staff will attend when invited. A wide range of issues that affect patients are discussed, although group members never have access to patient details.
On occasion, guest speakers will also be invited to attend. 
Minutes of the meetings are published on the practice’s websites. 
Any patients of our practices are welcome to become actual members attending meetings, or “virtual” members if preferred, being kept informed of what has been taking place by electronic means, and information on membership is available at the relevant reception desks. — Yours faithfully,

Patient Participation Groups.

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