Gen Ford encourages patients to help support their local GP surgery
We’ve all had good and bad experiences at our local General Practitioners (GP) surgery. But have you ever thought what you could do to make services better?
A group of patients from a Walthamstow GP surgery, including myself, decided to join forces with staff and hold what’s going to be a fabulous ‘Health and Wellness Open Day’ on Saturday 23rd April.
We’ll be offering a fantastic array of advice and activities. Experts will be on hand to help on childhood illnesses, first aid, back pain, diabetes, stopping smoking and caring for others.
The event celebrates the first anniversary of our patient participation group, set up to try to improve experiences at Addison Road Medical Practice in Walthamstow Village. It is aimed at giving patients more control over their own health and wellbeing.
Many readers will know NHS services are under enormous pressure. There is a significant shortage of both doctors and nurses in general practice. It takes ten years to become a fully-qualified GP and almost as long to qualify as an advanced nurse practitioner. So the problem is not going to be solved in the near future.
We all know how difficult it is these days to get appointments to see your GP too. People want to see their doctor more than they did in the past– each patient seeks ten percent more appointments today than they did a decade ago. Worse still, almost one in five patients who make an appointment don’t attend, meaning other patients miss out.
Our patient group is working with Addison Road to improve things they can fix – the phone system, appointment booking, and seeing if different opening hours would be better for working patients.
Improving people’s health is a two-way process. It’s really important for patients to take responsibility for their own wellbeing – educating themselves about what to do when they or someone they care for falls ill.
One of the open day’s objectives is to introduce patients to sources of information about keeping themselves fit and managing their health. The patient group will be launching a survey of what patients think about the practice, plus running sessions on getting the most out of NHS services.
Organisations running activities include Diabetes UK, Stop Smoking, Waltham Forest Carers, and Healthwatch Waltham Forest. We’ll have entertainment from Walthamstow Toy Library, face painting, and London Fire Brigade, giving kids plenty to do.
There’ll also be gentle exercise sessions and a healthy cooking demonstration. Local pharmacies will be talking about treatment options for minor ailments. And of course there will be an opportunity to meet staff from Addison Road. The practice will be running advice sessions on asthma, travel vaccinations, and preventative medicine. I hope to see you there.
The Health and Wellness Open Day is being held at Addison Road Medical Practice in Ravenswood Road, Walthamstow, from 10am until 2pm, on Saturday 23rd April. For more information: