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Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night saying, “Am I wasting my time? Does my work ever achieve anything?”

I certainly do. So to cheer myself up, I went through our postbag – and felt better in no time!

Because Sue Tunnicliff, a Programme Administrator for Bedfordshire Heartlands Primary Care told us what our course, An Introduction to Focus Groups, had done for her practically. She says:

"Hi Rod

Yes, I did use some of my learning from the focus group course to help run a focus group for arrhythmia patients at Hemel Hempstead Hospital last summer.  My colleague, the facilitator, had already run focus groups before.  We started by sourcing the patients and put together an invitation using the tip of offering a 'reward' for attending.  We gave £15 high street vouchers plus reimbursement of travelling expenses. We invited 12 patients, 10 of whom accepted, two of whom brought their carers with them. 

We followed the advice given to:

The purpose of the group was to plan and develop services for the future care and support of patients with arrhythmias.  The patients were very happy to talk about the good and bad aspects of their care under the careful questioning of my colleague.  Some of the discussion was very moving, but we managed to keep our emotions under control until everyone had left.

We feel it was a successful session in that it gave the patients a chance to discuss things not only with us but also with each other.  Their comments were fed back to the cardiology clinical governance meeting and, as a result, weekly arrhythmia multidisciplinary meetings were set up at Hemel to discuss further some of the issues raised by the patients, and provide better clinical governance for such patients.  Patients were to be invited to some of these meetings.

I wouldn't hesitate to use focus groups again should the need arise.  It was a very useful course.

Thank you.


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