I’m still pondering on who should be involved in this adventure, what exactly we are trying to achieve, and how. In the meantime, every day, something happens that reveals a new dimension, new ideas to try and new resources to explore.
Before I start changing everything, I thought I should do an inventory of what we do in our practice to support patients to be ready for a dialogue about their choices. Here is my photo-inventory.
Signposting cards. I have used these for a while, and then recruited them into a project to reduce the time patients wait in the surgery for their appointment. I give them to patients to look things up after the consultation. On the back, there is space for recording the next appointment. I could add the ‘five questions’.
Pre-consultation leaflets: part of the same project was to see if patients could be supported to make the most of their appointment. This seemed a brilliant idea, but patients are only be persuaded to use the forms if they were pressed upon them by the admin staff. The posters in the waiting room are still there, and the forms are at reception.
We have also tried to direct people to contact the right person for queries about referrals, appointments and investigations, and to get the best from their hospital appointments. We should really do a proper interface project, but most of the consultants visit from out-of-the area, so that hasn’t taken off yet. However, the poster already has the ‘five questions’.
We have also supported our practice population to attend workshops run by the Scottish Health Council to empower them to speak up about what matters.
So, for the quick look round the surgery, we have some solid foundations. We also have a patient participation group facebook page and a practice website.
I strongly believe that people,our patients, are a under-used resource for revolutionising health care. Enpowering them to spread the concepts of Realistic Medicine, they will spread through our health and care systems, asking for change, reaching the cynics as well as the enthusiasts.
The idea for this project came from attending a workshop on values and values-based improvement in health care, how to ensure that the care we offer is of genuine worth to the person who receives it. The workshop was lead by the Realistic Medicine team, and during the day, each of us was challenged to develop an idea for a Value Improvement project.
My project is about engaging the public with realistic medicine. I kept all my notes from the workshop, and now I am making a start. I have a list:
Start a blog (I can tick that one off, but now I should keep adding)
I should refine the ‘pitch’ – so I can tell people about this and generate excitement. I also should use this pitch in a project charter.
What am I doing already that I can recruit into this project? I have signposting cards for decision support, I could add the five questions. I could use our PPG facebook page and practice web-site. I could use the health promotion board for a month. Learning in the loo with QR codes?
What support from the public would be easy? Am paipear, An Radio spring to mind.
I should pace myself, ensure that I try one thing at a time.
How will I create something that can be spread?
If anyone wants to add to this list, please go ahead.
I am a GP in Benbecula, in the Outer Hebrides, and I have been working here for over 25 years. I’ve been discussing the Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Reports with colleagues, and I’m very enthusiastic about the theme she is pursuing.
The main theme is ‘Realistic Medicine’ – and I’m not finding it easy to describe this in a short blog paragraph. However, if we are all to realise and practice Realistic Medicine, then patients may well be the people who, as they move through the NHS, ask the right questions and work with staff to create an NHS with realistic goals and values.
My idea is to see if we can bring the concepts of Realistic Medicine to our small population, and empower people to spread the concepts along their clinical journeys. And if it works here, it could work in other places as well.
The actual reports are listed here. In my next post, I’m going to try and tell you what Realistic Medicine means to me.