Ridgeway Surgery PPG fills me with pride.
Within two weeks of lockdown, they had embraced Zoom and set to planning how they could sup-port us as a primary care team so that we could adjust to our new way of supporting patients.
They also used this new-found confidence in virtual meetings to hold us to account! PPG members read our communications and checked our choice of language. They generously shared their views on conversations about ventilation and resuscitation decisions. They spoke for all our minority groups to protect against digital exclusion. They also identified groups to seek out and re-sources to share to make sure the whole community was clued up and feeling as safe as possible about all the changes.
When the time came to open our PCN vaccine centre they contributed an amazing 150+ volunteers, seven days a week. They accommodated rotas that changed last minute as vaccine deliveries moved or even doubled! They supported elderly people who could barely walk for fear of being out of the house for the first time in months. They kindly chatted to frightened people wearing sunflower lan-yards. It wasn’t always the youngsters who took a turn outside in the rain or snow.
Above all they smiled and buzzed with energy. I would love to use all their energy, positivity and ‘can-do’ community spirit beyond COVID-19.
In our multiethnic community, high death rates and vaccine hesitancy reflect complex deprivation. As we start to look beyond the pandemic, I am left wondering how we can use the volunteer goodwill to persuade the frail and anxious out of their houses and change the inequities equation. I’m sure our PPG will be on hand to support us in this challenge too.
About the writer
Dr Clare Etherington, Ridgeway Surgery, Harrow