The first virtual Patient and Public Interest Group (PAPIG) meeting was held on 23 July, with a focus on communication and engagement. The fact that the meeting was virtual allowed us to reach out to a wider audience and improve the accessibility of the meeting for people from all areas of Wales.
The meeting consisted of several very interesting and informative talks on a variety of different medicines-related topics. Dr Clare Elliott, Senior Scientist and Patient Engagement Lead, opened the meeting by welcoming all new and returning attendees and encouraged feedback and discussion throughout.
Ruth Lang, AWTTC Head of Liaison provided information on the background of AWTTC and AWMSG before passing over to Richard Boldero, Wendy Casey, and Gail Woodland who had provided virtual presentations for inclusion in the meeting. Each of them highlighted specific ways in which AWTTC supported NHS Wales’ response to the pandemic. Richard spoke about the COVID Therapeutics Hub on the AWTTC website, Wendy provided information on ensuring end of life medicines were available quickly to those that needed them throughout Wales, and Gail talked about how the One Wales Medicines process was used to quickly review medicines for prostate cancer that patients could take at home to avoid coming into hospital for treatment during the pandemic.
Our new Senior Communications and Engagement Officer, Lia McKenzie gave an interesting presentation on the new communications and engagement strategy, specifically focusing on patients and the public. Lia then handed over to Rob Lee, Vice-Chair of the All Wales Diabetic Patient Reference Group who gave his views and recounted his experiences of working with AWTTC and AWMSG from a Diabetes UK perspective. Many who attended the meeting will remember Rob quoting “Don’t talk about me, without me’, referring to the importance of clear communication between patients and healthcare professionals.
With sustainability and decarbonisation playing a huge role in society and the health agenda today, Dr Carolyn Hughes gave a timely presentation on the new strategy detailing how AWMSG and AWTTC plan to deliver a healthier Wales for future generations in line with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
Jenna Walker, Specialist Information Pharmacist from the Yellow Card Centre Wales delivered an informative presentation highlighting the importance of reporting adverse reactions to medicines, including the COVID vaccines.
Claire Ganderton, Senior Pharmacist and Horizon Scanning Lead spoke about a project she is leading on looking at how NHS Wales can plan for the potential impact of ‘pipeline’ medicines which are currently in development. Claire’s project is supported by a fellowship grant funded by RCBCWales through Health and Care Research Wales, Welsh Government. The purpose of the project is to gain a better understanding of what information clinical experts in Wales need about medicines in the pipeline and how those needs can be best met. Claire will also look for better ways for AWTTC and clinical experts to work together to improve planning for new medicines in NHS Wales.
The penultimate presentation was by Dr Lynette James, All Wales Patient Safety Lead, on the work that is being done in supporting patients to use corticosteroids safely. Lynette then handed over to Dr Tom Curran, Senior Scientist who explained how the Medicines Optimisation Framework provides clarity on the process for developing guidance and how people can get involved in work to deliver the best outcomes for patients from their medicines.
Throughout the meeting comments were posted on the Zoom chat function and some useful feedback was provided, which has been taken on board by AWTTC. Attendees commented on how the presentations were interesting, enlightening and inspiring, especially with regards to the talks provided on how best to engage patients and the public. Individuals new to the PAPIG meeting said it was good to gain clarity and information about AWTTC and the work that we do, as well as to hear experiences and feedback from others in attendance.
We are already planning the programme for the next meeting which will be held on 12 November - further details will be publishedsoon. A video of our July PAPIG meeting is available from our PAPIG meetings webpage.