How a patient panel is driving improvement

Published: 02 Jul 2019

Iona PriceIona Price is the chair of a national clinical audit patient panel. In this blog she explains how the panel is driving improvements in communications and collaboration.

For 35 years I worked in theatre and feature film production. I loved my work and was lucky enough to tour the world with plays and spend months on location filming abroad.

But in 2012 my mother suffered a hip fracture eight months before she died and my life changed direction.  Unfortunately, due to post operative delirium, her rehabilitation journey was far from smooth.  I saw the impact, both physically and mentally that this had on my mother during her last months and I wanted to do something to improve care for other patients.

I became a member of the Royal College of Physicians Patient and Carer Network in 2014.  Within a couple of months I joined the advisory groups of the National Hip Fracture database and the Fracture Liaison Service database.

Falls and Fragility Fracture Audit Programme

 The Falls and Fragility Fracture Audit Programme (FFFAP) is an NHS quality improvement programme that has dramatically improved the care of elderly people and has helped reduce the number of patients suffering from falls.

The first meeting of the FFFAP Patient Panel was held in October 2018 and yet in a very short time we are already having an impact on FFFAP’s work.

The panel is made up of volunteers from across England and Wales all with experience of fragility fractures either personally or through a family member.  Recruited through the Royal College of Physician’s Patient and Carer Network and from the Royal Osteoporosis Society volunteers, between us we have a diverse range of professional backgrounds, experience and life skills.  We are all passionate about improving care for other patients and their families.  Whilst ambitious, we are also realistic about what can be achieved by the programme.

Each of the three work streams has two members from the panel on their advisory groups:

  • National Hip Fracture database (NHFD)
  • Fracture Liaison Service database (FLS-DB)
  • National Audit of Inpatient Falls (NAIF)

There is a panel member on the Scientific & Publications Committee and we are involved in FFFAP’s QI work.  In addition to our two meetings of the full panel each year, we also hold a monthly telephone conference open to all panel members, to discuss ways to improve patient access to information.

When the panel started working together we quickly identified two areas that we wanted to work on immediately.  These are:

Getting the information out there

Making sure those who have suffered a fragility or hip fracture have information about what to expect as part of their treatment pathways readily available.  We would like the leaflets provided by the work streams to be easily found on relevant websites where patients might look to find information.  We are very keen that the FLS-DB “Strong Bones After 50” and NHFD “12 Questions to Ask” leaflets, together with the excellent FLS-DB animation film have far wider exposure.  Several ways of achieving the above are being investigated.

Collaborating with other organisations

FFFAP is working with other patient focused organisations to raise awareness of osteoporosis and fragility fractures amongst the general public to drive improved provision of Fracture Liaison Services. The Royal Osteoporosis Society is part of FFFAP already, but as many of our panel members have been patient advocates for a while they have been able to identify other organisations who work with patients and we are contacting these to make them aware of the important work we are doing.

Such patient organisations are well placed to not only inform patients but also help them advocate at a local level if services need improving. As patient representatives we feel it is important that patients and their families are not left to do this alone, but supported by organisations at a local level to help drive improvement.

I believe the FFFAP Patient Panel is an excellent example of what meaningful patient engagement looks like.  We are already helping review services and suggesting ideas that should lead to improved patient experience and satisfaction.

It is still early days and we do have something of a ‘to do’ list but I hope by the time we celebrate our first anniversary some of these ambitions will have become realities and be benefiting other patients.

Iona Price
FFFAP Patient Panel

The Falls and Fragility Fracture Audit Programme (FFFAP) is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP). You can find resources and guidance about involving patients and the public in the clinical audit process on our website at