PPG Meeting Minutes – Thursday 17th August 2023

The minutes of the meeting held on 15th June were approved, there were no matters arising.

Practice Update

  • The practice reported that referrals under the Community Pharmacy Consultation Service (CPCS) scheme had commenced, a national scheme that NHS England and the commissioning board wanted all practices to undertake. The reception team, having carried out an assessment using a tool built by the clinical team, will advise patients if they’re suitable for an appointment at a local. It’s a slow start as teams and patients get used to it and it’s for minor ailments that wouldn’t require seeing a doctor for.
  • A social prescribing link worker started taking referrals on July 1st with the rural RPC East and RPC West practices on behalf of North Derbyshire PCN. This is in addition to the practices social prescribing link worker for young adults who need help with anxiety issues, going out, meeting new people, interacting with others and taking part in group activities. They have helped patients participate in various sports including football and martial arts via an organisation called Thr1ve SPYP – Social Prescribing for Young People that works out of Chesterfield Football Club as part of Chesterfield FC’s Community Trust work, see spiritestrust.org.uk/social-prescribing-for-young-people/ for more information.
  • The practice updated us with the bimonthly report about DNAs (Did Not Attend) and was pleased that the unexplained spike in May had reversed. There had been an increase in Family & Friends responses which had fallen to around 300. This had improved to 998 responses with 87% rating the service they’d received as very good or good with 83% saying they would recommend RPC’s service.Negative comments received are logged and categorised to see if are common trends and themes that can be addressed.
  • There was a continuing upward trend for on-line registrations though it was proving difficult to persuade those who weren’t yet using on-line services but had the facilities to do so to change their ways. A push to promote the various capabilities of the phone apps is to start to make patients aware that they can not only book appointments and order prescriptions but also check in at the surgery, have a phone notification when the doctor’s ready to see them.The practice invited questions and a member mentioned a comment they had read on social media after the DNA figures had been published. It related to appointments cancelled by the practice and whether these too might be made known. The practice will investigate if this is a report that they are able to run. The practice asked if there were any other areas the PPG be interested in learning more about telephone call times i.e. the average call time and wait time though for Brooklyn surgery, being on a different system, this might be a little more difficult. Members agreed such information would be of interest, the practice will look into producing something with these figures on in the future.

    The practice mentioned that NHS England had decreed how GP websites should look and what they should contain and RPC had carried out a benchmarking exercise that had resulted in a very positive outcome with not much needing to be changed to meet requirements. A review of where the majority of traffic was going, which pages are most looked and how prominent the information was had been done. The practice has remapped some of the links so that patients could more easily access the information they required and accessibility options were improved i.e. turning on large text, coloured text, the availability of a translation service. Statistics indicate that not everyone has a good reading age so content needed to be readily accessible and understandable to all, a long job given the considerable number of pages and the amount of information contained within them. The practice asked members to get in touch with questions and comments about the RPC website. Its content and ease of use.

PPG Matters

  • The chair mentioned that at a recent Joined Up Care Derbyshire PPG Network meeting they had learned that some PPGs had members with specific roles other than the Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary that our group had. For example, some groups raised funds so had a Treasurer, one had a Mental Health Representative and others had various ‘Champions’. Although the chair didn’t think our own PPG would benefit from such appointments they did think that as the group grew the time would come when additional roles would be needed and asked members to keep this in mind.
  • Dealing with recruitment had slowed during the summer holiday period but this would resume as soon as possible. The chair mentioned that at the PPG Network meeting he had explained the work that the practice and he had been doing to boost recruitment though no other group responded.
  • Having circulated the most recent RPC Newsletter the chair asked that members think whether they could contribute to it.


Update on autumn flu and Covid vaccination eligibility and roll-out.

  • One member had commented that they received three text messages from RPC inviting him to make an appointment for a flu vaccination, other members had received the same with links in each message when, if followed, offered appointment dates and times and nurses available. He felt this was a great improvement over previous years.
  • Another member, who lived in Grassmoor, said that they’d been offered an appointment at a surgery too far away and Hannah said that the Grassmoor surgery was in the link and mentioned the large Saturday flu clinics at Clay Cross, Ashgate, Rectory Road and Brooklyn on September 16th and 30th with mid-week clinics at other sites.
  • Another member mentioned that they had found the link permanently busy and as he had received the text earlier that same day. The practice had suggested trying later as it was likely the system was very busy. The practice advised that the arrangement for Brooklyn patients was different as that surgery was working with two others in Heanor with the option to attend any of them.
  • One member mentioned reports of a new strain of Covid that had been identified in the UK (EG.5, an off-shoot of Omicron) though the current WHO opinion was that it posed a low risk to public health with no evidence that it caused more severe disease than other variants currently circulating. He was, however, concerned that the criteria for Covid vaccinations had changed and that some high risk patients appeared to be no longer eligible under the new guidelines i.e. those who had previously been advised to shield due to be clinically vulnerable but now fell outside the new list criteria. The practice mentioned that changes had also been made to flu vaccination eligibility with those aged 50 – 64 no longer eligible as they had been during previous years. One member asked whether, as parents of a disabled child, he and his wife would be eligible as if they became ill there would be no one to look after him. The practice said that as they were registered carers they would be eligible and would soon receive an invitation.
  • The practice advised that the Covid vaccination roll out was due to start in early October though talks were on-going with NHS England about actual arrangements.

Questions for the Practice

  • The chair advised that questions for the practice, how they are raised and answers received and circulated was being reviewed.
  • The chair asked again about the provision of magazines in waiting rooms and whether this was possible and also about the provision of lockable PPG notice boards to abide by infection control requirements.
  • It was agreed that the practice could laminate notices and pin them to boards rather than have lockable ones as that would be more cost effective. Some members felt there was little to display though the chair thought otherwise.
  • The digital and communications officer advised the PPG that SystmOnline, the only way for patients without a mobile phone to access on-line services is no longer being updated, at this point they haven’t said that it will be withdrawn, but there is a possibility of this in the future. The practice are hopeful that if this happens, an alternative would be put in place.
  • A member raised an earlier question about recycling aluminium blister packs, further research to be undertaken.


  • The chair mentioned a news item about the NHS using phone apps to help users lose weight, here is a link to that item: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-66503006 
  • One member said that once again he was going to so his September walk to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research and hoped for the same support as last year when he had raised a total of £3,700.

The chair thanked those who had attended and closed the meeting.