Patient group takes the pressure off surgery with monitor gift

Cromer Patient Participation Group member Shay Nash tries to the new blood pressure monitor watched

Cromer Patient Participation Group member Shay Nash tries to the new blood pressure monitor watched by, from left, chairman Liz Hewett, practice manager Andy Snelling and fundraiser David Witham. Picture: SUPPLIED BY THE PPG - Credit: Archant

Do-it-yourself blood pressure checks can be done at Cromer's new GP surgery thanks to the fundraising efforts of a patients' group.

The £1,000 machine in the main waiting room has been bought by the practice's Patient Participation Group (PPG) through events ranging from a dinner to a cake sale, and boosted by a £500 grant from Overstrand Parish Council.

It will enable patients to measure their blood pressure by putting their arm in a sleeve and get a print out of results, to gauge against a chart of target readings – taking pressure off nursing staff who also do the checks.

The machine is the first donation by a new fundraising committee of the patients' group led by David Witham. It now aims to raise another £2000-plus to buy two 24-hour blood pressure monitors.

PPG chairman Liz Hewett, said the PPG's main role was to represent the 13,000 registered patients to give them best possible experience when using its services.

She was re-elected PPG chairman at the recent annual general meeting, with Ruth Page as her deputy. Liz has a background in nursing including at director level in the NHS and with the Royal College of Nursing.

Setting out the aims for the coming year, she said the PPG aimed to carry on raising the profile of the PPG with members volunteering to help at flu clinics, meeting and greeting patients, encouraging them to use the self-check-in system, register their mobile phones for messaging, and sign up for online services which enable appointment booking/cancellation, ordering of repeat prescriptions and access to test results.

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The AGM heard the move to the new surgery had been welcomed by patients and staff, and there were plans to use the building for a range of new health-related services and meetings from yoga to support groups.

The PPG is also a sounding board for patient views on services and aims to improve communication between patients and the practice. It is keen to recruit more members to widen the cross section of patients it represents. Anyone interested can find out more its work at the surgery website or email