How a former nurse turned around ‘flagging’ Newbury Park patient group

PUBLISHED: 11:15 23 November 2013

Patient group members at Newbury Park Health Centre

Patient group members at Newbury Park Health Centre


A former nurse who worked for more than 40 years has turned around a “flagging” Newbury Park patient group.

Shani Fookeer and Catherine Hunt of the PPGShani Fookeer and Catherine Hunt of the PPG

Shani Fookeer, 62, is chairman of the patient participation group (PPG) at Newbury Park Group Practice in Perrymans Farm Road.

The group works to ensure residents receive the best possible health services.

Shani said: “The best part for me of being involved in the group is helping the patients’ voice to be heard and working with the practice manager to make changes in services.”

Shani, who lives in Ilford, supported people with learning disabilities when she was a nurse, but she also had roles in nurse education and management.

When she retired in 2011, she approached Karen Wilson, the manager of the GP practice, to ask about volunteer roles.

She said: “I had been a patient at the practice for more than 26 years and wanted to support it. Karen suggested that I could take the reins of the flagging patient participation group.

“An attempt was made a couple of years before to set up one, but there was no person able to carry it on.

“The government set up an initiative for all GP practices to have a PPG – this was to be the voice of the patient.”

The group’s open day at the centre earlier this month included one-on-ones with patients and advice on how to book appointments online.

Secretary Naina Thaker said: “We try to resolve issues and complaints and try to make positive changes.”

The PPG also carries out an annual survey to ask patients for views on issues such as waiting times.

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