PPG Meeting Minutes – Thursday, 18 April

Minutes were reviewed for accuracy – there were a small number of spelling mistakes but no matters arising.

Apologies, welcomes and introductions

The practice introduced a member of the Communications team from the Trust. They were here to observe the meeting.

Practice Update

  • The practice shared an update on some of the staffing changes. The current Managing Director, Jo Lacey will be leaving the trust to go to pastures new. Nate has been appointed Interim Managing Director until the job is advertised for permanent replacement. An Interim Deputy Clinical Director has been put in place to support the workload of the current Clinical Director Dr Scriven, Dr Senthil-Nathan has taken on this role after recently returning to the West sector.One member asked if there was anyone to replace Dr Murfitt’s maternity leave. The practice said that they had been interviewing today to cover both Dr Murfitt’s leave and fill an existing vacancy, the quality of applicants was very good and the practice hopes to update the group with recruitment at the next meeting.


  • The practice updated the group on their DNA figures. The practice are in the process of re-writing their DNA Policy and at the meeting in February, asked our opinion about the number of times a patient would be contacted after non-attendance before the practice would strike them off. In reality, this rarely happens. The view is that if a patient fails to attend 3 appointments within a certain time period, the practice will look at whether they can keep this person as a patient.A working group had been set up to revisit a survey that was done 2 years ago, to understand why patients fail to attend appointments and what their barriers to attending are. This is so that there is a better understanding of the importance of attending appointments but also to ensure support is available for patients to cancel appointments that are no longer needed, or they can no longer attend.


  • Online appointment access continues to be monitored (SystemOnline, Airmid & NHS App) and numbers of online appointments being made are slow increasing. SystemOnline are no longer going to be updating their platform. Although they have not gone as far as saying it is going to be removed.While SystemOnline and Airmid use the same engines, more effort is being put into Airmid which is disappointing as SystemOnline is the only platform that patients can use a computer to access their online records and request medication. While medication can be ordered via AccuRx, it is not linked to patient’s online account so they must manually type in the name of the drugs required. Test results cannot be viewed on that platform either. It has previously been discussed that the NHS App is the recommended platform for patients to use as the user experience is much better, it is regularly updated and integrates with AccuRx. The NHS App also allows RPC to audit prescriptions that have been processed as well as other features. While NHS App is preferred, it is accepted that patients will use their preferred system.


  • Patient feedback showed that there had been 856 responses throughout March with 89% of those who responded saying that they would recommend the services to family & friends. The respondents rate the services as good or very good. It is really positive that large numbers of responses are consistently received. One member asked if this positive information could be posted on the Facebook page or website. The practice said that this had been discussed in another meeting, and would like to continue to promote the good feedback from Friends and Family Test (FFT) comments and the practice will look to publish the number of responses on a monthly basis, similar to that of the Did Not Attend (DNA) statistics.


  • The practice shared an update about the recently launched new websites. Feedback had previously been sought from the PPG regarding the website and how it could be improved. Since then, a lot of work has been done to ensure that accessibility standards are being met, the content is clear and easy to read, and that the patient’s online journey is as easy as possible. From feedback received, key task icons are now at the top of page for easy access. Traffic across the website had been monitored and the most used icons are at the top of the page for easy access. Icon and text size has been simplified, graphics removed, and all information is as concise and in jargon free English as much as possible. Feedback also highlighted that there was quite a lot of scrolling and clicks through a lot of pages to get to the right content. Where possible, this has been reduced to the minimum number of clicks required to access information.The practice encouraged all PPG members to have a look at the website, see what they thought of it, test its robustness, and would welcome any feedback.Chesterfield and Clay Cross websites were merged as the content was the same. Brooklyn Surgery will maintain their own website as they are geographically distant and some of the information differed, such as being part of different PCN and where to go for out of hours appointments.


  • RPC are coming to the end of the financial year, the organisation has been working hard to ensure all the patients are seen for their annual reviews and that RPC are hitting the targets set to ensure patients are kept safe. The good news is that they ended the year on the highest achievement year yet. The practice is very proud of the team and organisation for achieving what they did.


  • In connection with Quality Outcomes (QOF), RPC are working with a company called Interface which was funded by the North Derbyshire PCN. Work has already started in RPC East and West and the company have pharmacists who will access various systems to ensure that patients with certain health conditions are coded properly and check to see if these patients are on the correct registers for health reviews


  • Lastly, the new General Practice and PCN contracts have just come out. There is emphasis on movement of where funding comes from so that practices can provide services rather having to meet targets and fight for points to get funding. Some funding is being made available at the beginning of the financial year which helps to employ staff, purchase services, products etc. It gives more flexibility with spending, rather than wait to the end of the year. There has been a small increase in the funding given by central government.


  • The practice today has been hosting a visit by Chesterfield Royal Hospital Governors today and one of the biggest pieces of feedback they had was about how most of their PPG’s ceased to exist during and after COVID. The practice thanked the PPG for being supportive. The Governors were impressed by how the number of referrals to hospital has been reduced by 50% due to employing PCN led pharmacists and a MSK specialists. There is also no waiting list, currently, to see a physio. At present, a patient who rings for a GP appointment for a hospital physio referral will be directly referred to a physio. The physios are based in our practices and patients are getting treatment significantly quicker. Only really complex cases are being referred to hospital for treatment.

PPG Matters

  • The practice is making arrangements for Mahmud Nawaz, Chair of CRH Foundation to attend our PPG meeting in June. It would be useful if PPG members have a look at the Foundation website to formulate questions for him.


  • One member asked about blister pack recycling & the Chair gave an update on something that they have been campaigning about for 2-3 years. At present, only Boots say on their website that they are going to introduce it – but the initiative hasn’t been launched yet. Superdrug had a similar initiative but shelved it. Another system provides a recycling bag for £25 but only one type of blister pack can be recycled in it.


  • This year, the Chair is going to be focussing on the Facebook Group to improve our membership. One member suggested a poster along the lines of the First World War ‘Your Country Needs You’ with a ‘Your PPG Needs You’ campaign. We discussed an idea of the practice sending out emails to patients who have signed up to SMS alerts informing them that we would like to set up an information group to share PPG minutes, newsletters etc. with them. Hopefully it will make life a bit easier for the practice as we can send the information out instead of relying on the practice – assuming of course that patients agree to share their contact details.


Questions for the Practice

  • One member asked why there had been no communications from RPC regarding the Spring Booster Campaign when it had been advertised on websites of other practices that vaccination bookings can be made from 15 April for vaccinations from 24 April. Another replied that he was contacted and has an appointment. The practice apologised that the campaign had not been advertised on social media but invitations have been sent out on a staged approach to ensure there are enough appointments for the number of vaccines available. The first tranche of vaccinations are for patients in care homes and eligible housebound patients. Then invitations are sent out to specific cohorts of patients to attend a vaccination clinic. The practice advised that the criteria for vaccination had changed since the autumn. The vaccination is only available for patients are aged 75yrs and over or aged 75yrs before the end of June, and that does include patients who are in a care home, housebound or immunosuppressed. One member said that it was frustrating that they are not eligible for a vaccine although their partner is, due to health issues. The practice have queried the guidance, but it is correct, and their hands are tied in regard to offering the vaccination to anyone outside the criteria.


  • A member asked why call times are increasing. The practice said previously said that the average wait time was 8 minutes, but the PPG had found the reality is much longer. The practice are aware that it was particularly challenging over Easter and for 2 weeks prior to Easter. They advised the biggest challenge is recruitment of staff in the phone room, call handler staff are being promoted internally or moving on to different roles within the organisation, which leaves gaps in the number of call handler staff available. Although there are new staff are in the pipeline, training them to deal with calls without support will take some time. One member asked if the PPG could have more detailed information about call wait times – a median rather than an average, across the month. The practice can provide the number of calls answered per month. One member asked if we could have a breakdown in 2-hour windows so we can see when the busiest times are and as a PPG, reiterate to patients not to call at 8am for a non-urgent appointment.


  • A question was asked around the availability of appointments to be booked online. The practice advised that there’s at least 3 appointments each day for routine clinics per clinician and that includes locum clinicians exclusively for patients to book online.


  • One member asked about waiting times for joint injections. They had been put on a waiting list in the middle of February and only received them when he went to the surgery to follow up the request. The practice replied that they were aware that the waiting list was getting long as there was minimal staff who could administer the injections. One of the GP’s was on an extended annual leave but is now back, the scheduling team are going to make contact with them to put on a clinic, there is also a nurse practitioner who can have a clinic and some of the first contact physio’s have been trained to give joint injections in certain areas, so that should cut down the waiting list. There are also some clinicians that have a couple of appointments on their routine list each week to administer injections. The clinics are popular, and appointments fill quickly.

There being no further business the Chair thanked everyone for attending and their contribution, they then closed the meeting.