PACE Setter: St Lawrence Surgery, Worthing

  • Coastal West Sussex CCG
  • Practice website
  • PACE Setter Award winner - November 2015
  • Practice contact: Jo Wadey, Practice Manager

St Lawrence’s application was particularly strong in the patient engagement exercise which underpins this award and in the patient group (“children with additional needs”) that they have focussed on.

It included both parents/patients via the West Sussex Family Network and staff in a whole team approach which as well as having enhanced the services that they provide in simple but extremely effective ways will improve the patient experiences of families now and in the future.

The award panel also noted that their team have tackled seven key activities (two more than the required five) with lessons learned from each - this is great innovative work for CYP.

St Lawrence decided to focus their energies on children with additional needs. They ran a search and now have a practice register which has 114 children with additional needs as patients.

These are patients aged less than 18 years old with any of the following diagnosis:

  • ADHD,
  • autism,
  • behavioural problems,
  • cerebral palsy,
  • developmental delay,
  • Down's syndrome,
  • epilepsy,
  • hearing impairment,
  • in a wheelchair,
  • learning disabilities,
  • nervous system abnormalities,
  • spina bifida or spinal changes,
  • Tourette’s and
  • visual impairment.

Some of the children will be on more than one register.

A general discussion was held between clinical, non-clinical staff and parents about previous struggles and how we as a surgery can learn from these experiences. Jo Wadey notes “The parents did not hold back in telling us the difficulty they had accessing our services at times".  They persevered and now have a co-produced set of ingenious, low-cost and practical ideas in place that are really delighting the patients, parents and staff alike.

The first meeting between staff and parents took place on Monday 1st June 2015 and it was a brilliant turn out with 30 mums attending. We established these difficulties: 

  • Downstairs waiting area next to the pharmacy was too noisy and busy causing distress to the child.
  • Visiting the GP was always a “bad” thing in the child’s mind.
  • The waiting room slides weren’t child friendly.
  • More toys or books were needed in the waiting areas.
  • Being able to pre-book or get an appointment on the day.
  • Seeing the same GP or nurse as the child likes to see familiar faces.

Using the feedback from the parent group we were able to make these small but effective changes:

  • Bravery stickers – these were provided to all the doctors, nurses, health care assistants and paramedic practitioners to give out.
  • Posters in the waiting area – a mum made a suggestion to have a “Where’s Wally” and ‘Pepper Pig’ posters to keep the child distracted whilst waiting.
  • More toys and books were supplied by some of the mums.
  • The waiting room slides were made child friendly – mostly by changing the colour and adding in some pictures/child jokes.
  • Developed the “My Medical Passport”.
  • “New Diagnosis Pack” sent out to families with a new diagnosis from hospital and proactively offered a longer appointment slot.

Most of the parents were not aware they could have:

  • Separate waiting areas or wait outside
  • Add a patient alert onto the child’s records to note their additional need
  • Register as a parent carer

"It was difficult knowing where to start to make meaningful changes for all their young patients but the PACE Setter Award gave a clear framework.“
– Grainne Saunders, West Sussex Parent Carer Forum on the work undertaken in collaboration with St Lawrence Surgery.

This quote is taken from a case study which is in itself an excellent idea and summary of the story/journey at St Lawrence Surgery. At the end of the case study document it is usefully framed to show the benefits / outcomes from each of the different perspectives.


  • P – Coffee morning for parents with additional needs; Facebook page
  • A -“My Medical Passport”, “New diagnosis pack”, staff photographs on website and on the practice walls;
  • C – Safeguarding – “If all staff members are aware of the risks and concerns of a child there is a less likely chance anything will be missed.“ – Jo Wadey, Practice Manager
  • E – Whole staff team engaged.

Key words

SEND, “My Medical Passport”, “new diagnosis pack”, parents registered as carers, bravery stickers

St Lawrence Surgery presented by Jo Wadey and Debbie Elcome and three inspirational parent carers:

Picture of child with balloons