PPG Meeting Minutes

PPG AGM

Tuesday 26th April 2022 19:00, Stamford Town Hall

Present Apologies Lakeside
Helen Walton (Chair)
Bill Proudlock
Elaine Hooper
Steve Marsh
Mark Wibberley
Peter Roome
George Woolf
Marion Pitt
Paddy Jelen Dr Gavin Cattigan
Dr Dan Petrie
Dr Tom Eames
Dr Sian Dronfield
Dr Kate Tizzard
Emma Wilson
Teri White

1. Welcome

HW opened the meeting by thanking everyone for attending and providing a Health and Safety briefing. She also advised the meeting that the PPG had not provided the full notice required under its terms of reference and so that any decisions taken at the meeting would not be binding until ratified at a later AGM, which would take place in 6-8 weeks.

 

2. Verbal Report on the activities of the PPG

HW outlined the activities of the PPG over the last 12 months:

  • May 21, Keith Spurr, the previous chair stood down and HW was asked to stand in as chair until the next AGM
  • The June CQC report on Lakeside Stamford rated the performance of the Practice as ‘Inadequate’ ,  this was of significant concern to the PPG
  • Initial efforts of the PPG were to rebuild a working relationship with Lakeside Stamford – the PPG believe it has improved
  • Sep 3 – Patient survey sent out, 180 responses received. The survey included an email where patients could contact the PPG with their concerns. The number one issue reported by patients was (and continues to be) their difficulty in contacting the practice. This is still an issue for those using the phones.
  • Nov – the first quarterly patient newsletter was issued on the practice website.
  • Mar 7 – Fortnightly drop-in sessions alternating between Sheepmarket and St Mary’s surgeries started. These give an opportunity to talk to the PPG and also to get feedback from the surgery for patients.

HW then invited the meeting to ask any questions relating to the PPG. A lively session ensued, which included the following concerns raised by patients:

  • Access: Many of the points raised related to having  to phone the practice at  at 8am in order to arrange an appointment, the long wait times, in excess of 1 hour, before getting through and having to repeat the process the following day if no appointments or return phone calls are available.
  • Concern that there are not enough staff at Lakeside Stamford to meet the increasing demand for its services. Failure to call patients back / missed calls as no indication when the call back would be made.
  • The PPG should do more to communicate with patients – website, social media, Stamford Mercury is not enough. The idea of having meetings in public areas like a café was suggested and is already being considered by the PPG.
  • The PPG should have given more notice for the AGM. Although the first notice on Facebook was on March 15, much of the remaining information about the meeting was too late and outside the accepted notice period.
  • Views were expressed that ‘the  patient should be king.’ Some people at the meeting thought the surgery seems to put its needs ahead of the patients. The
  • It was acknowledged and valued that once contact was made with a doctor, /nurse the care they provided was good.

HW accepted many of these points as they have been raised before but confirmed that the PPG is continuing to improve communications with patients and to push the surgery on the importance of improving access. The PPG is also planning sessions explaining the use of DOCTRIN.

 

3. Verbal report on the activities of Stamford Lakeside

Dr Gavin Cattigan led the report on activities at Lakeside Stamford and provided a brief history of his experience at the surgery since joining as a doctor in 2017 and becoming a partner in 2019. The main points covered were:

  • There are 15 doctors (of whom 8 are partners), 11 nurses and 6 healthcare professionals this is higher per head of population than comparable surgeries.
  • A new salaried doctor started in Feb and a new advanced nurse practitioner starts in May and recruitment is actively taking place despite a national shortage of GPs.
  • Despite the government pledging to provide 5,000 extra doctors (increased later to 6,000), the reality is there are 1,800 fewer doctors than in 2015 and it takes several years to train GPs. The crisis is a national, not just a local problem.
  • The CQC report was ‘’not at all good’’ and the practice is working hard to improve things – this is still work in hand.
  • Nationally GPs are expected to provide approximately 30 contacts with patients (tel call, face to face meetings, home visits) per day. Doctors in Stamford are providing 60-70 patient contacts a day and worry that this is not sustainable and could become a safety issue if it persists.
  • There is a new (younger) management team in place now and some good people have been recruited. The team is open to questions and believe the best way forwards is to have honest conversations with patients.

The three of the five doctors present (Cattigan, Eames and Petrie) then took questions from the floor and provided responses to all of them. The main points raised were:

  • What actually happens in the surgery ‘behind the scenes’? 
  • Can the reception staff fill in DOCTRIN for those who cannot use it? 
    • A: It is being looked at, and there are plans to deliver more advice and support.  
  • Is it just young people that DOCTRIN/online access? 
    • A: No- the age range is 16-88, with the average age being around 50.
  • Is the Lakeside’ brand’ (reputation) making it difficult to recruit staff? Things were fine before Lakeside took over. 
    • A: In 2015 Stamford surgeries did a good job of protecting the patients from the introduction of national changes. At this point Stamford started to lose a doctors who were of retirement age. The loss of one GP can be coped with but when the numbers increased, largely to the GPs becoming of retirement age, the surgeries started to struggle. The new team in place believe Lakeside Stamford is  through the worst, although demand remains exceptionally high..
  • “Why can’t we see our ‘own’ (named) doctor and not have to go through the triage mess as happens in other places”? 
    • A: This is NHS policy and is something we all have to get used to.
  • As a patient, the processes you use seem to be inefficient. Sometimes you create 4 or 5 contacts when it would be more efficient to do it in one. Often the appointments are wasted as you miss the call back.
  • Can we have an update on the Pharmacy service?
    • A: We have 3 pharmacists (shared with Bourne) and 2 pharmacy technicians, plus one Pinnace pharmacists to do medical reviews.
  • Is it acceptable to have over 30,000 patients at one surgery?
    • A: Whilst single practice GPs were the norm, the national drive from government is now to aggregate. Please talk to your national representative if you are unhappy with this.
  • We have no control over the process of call back. Why can’t we agree a time with you?
    • A: the process of triage means that we may need to move things around to deal with more serious and urgent cases. We do try and accommodate requests if they are made with reception.

Dr Cattigan ended by saying that if they had the option he and his colleagues would love to spend more time with patients, but the reality is that  priorities have to be made to cope with the demand.

 

4. Election of Officers

Chair: No nominations received. HW agreed to continue acting as Chair until a volunteer comes forward.

Vice Chair: Bill Proudlock was elected unopposed

Secretary: No nominations received.

 

5. Election of new members of the committee

Glenys Johnston OBE, Morag Roberts, Alison Warrick and Julie Clarke all received support from the meeting. They were advised that they were now co-opted as members of the committee, pending ratification of their election at the future AGM.

 

6. Ratification of remaining committee members

The meeting agreed that all existing members of the PPG committee could remain in post, subject to being ratified by the future AGM.

 

7. Approval of the new Terms of Reference (ToR)

SM explained that the ToR had been rewritten to remove references to the charity which was no longer part of the PPG, align it to activities the PPG was carrying out and to make it simpler and easier to understand. In view of questions raised and the inadequate notice, this item was withdrawn and will be represented at the future AGM.

 

The meeting closed at 9pm after HW gave thanks to the Lakeside team and their staff.