PPG Minutes 13th March 2023

  • Date: 13th March 2023
  • Time: 5.00 pm
  • Location: Sheepmarket Surgery and Online (via Teams)
Attendees Position/Role
Julie Clarke (JC) PPG Chair
Ken Otter (KO) PPG Vice Chair
Elaine Hooper (EH) PPG Committee Member
Paddy Jelen (PJ) PPG Committee Member
John Morphy Godber (JMG) PPG Committee Member
Petar Opacic (PO) PPG Committee Member
Peter Roome (PR) PPG Committee Member
Marion Pitt (MP) PPG Committee Member
Bill Proudlock (BP) PPG Member
Lakeside Staff  
Dr Sian Dronfield (SD) GP Partner - Lakeside Healthcare Stamford
Emma Wilson (EW) Patient Services Manager – Lakeside Healthcare Stamford
Alison Warrick  PPG Committee Member
Teri White Hub Manager - Lakeside Healthcare Stamford

Chair’s welcome and introductions

C welcomed the group to the meeting and introduced new members, John Morphy Godber, Peter Opacic and Ken Otter to Peter Roome (who was absent for the February meeting).


Minutes of last meeting

The minutes were proposed by PO and seconded by JMG and agreed as accurate.


Chair’s update (including matters arising from minutes of last meeting)

JC reported that she had only received two patient email correspondences this month. One was a complaint, which will be shared in item 6 and the other was from a patient who is a retired nurse and is interested in joining the committee. JC has made email contact with her and will meet her for an informal discussion, with a view to inviting her to our next meeting. She also said that she had heard positive verbal feedback about the PPG minutes being posted on the Practice website.

JC said that she had received an e-mail from a committee member, suggesting that we should work with the Stamford Health, Education and Awareness Charity (SHEAC) and reminded the committee that she had distributed an update e-mail on 23 February, saying that she had met SHEAC, with a view to working collaboratively on upcoming PPG/patient engagement events and asked the committee whether they would like her to invite SHEAC to a future PPG meeting.  The committee agreed.


Declarations of any other business

BP Said he would like to discuss the possibility of a planned Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) on the site of the current Minor Injuries Unit (MIU), as well as the new NHS GP contract.


Lakeside Update:  

Latest appointments data:

EW apologised for not having sent out recent reports on appointments data but confirmed that they had been e-mailed to the PPG today and she would ensure they are distributed to the PPG weekly. The headline from her report was that the Doctrin App had received 80% positive feedback.

Planned changes to processes directly impacting patients:

EW reported that the reception team will move to working with a new ‘criteria’ system, in accordance with the NHS Clinical Assessment Services (CAS). This is an NHS e-referral service, which will enable reception staff to more effectively enter information from patients so that GPs and other clinical staff can make a decision about whether a patient should receive a routine appointment or a more urgent one. The phone line for making appointments at 8am will stay in place, as well as any new initiative. JMG asked about whether vulnerable patients, who cannot navigate the 8am phone queue, could be given a separate phone number. EW said that the Practice does give a separate number to patients with vulnerabilities and some disabilities and this is done on a case-by-case basis. JC asked about the timeframe for Doctrin engagement. EW said all patients’ entries are opened within one day and that patients may be called back earlier, but should expect a call within three days. Should an appointment be necessary, this should be within one week.

Members of the PPG asked whether patients could be referred directly to a practice nurse and what technology is available to help, since some thought that Doctrin can be quite difficult for some patients to use. 

Initiatives and improvements:

SD explained that the CAS e-referral system should streamline referrals and will identify which clinical pathway a patient should be referred to, such as GP, practice nurse, other practitioner or external medical services. It will also help to determine non-urgent cases. She cited some patients requesting a same-day appointment for routine, non-urgent conditions and thereby using up appointments which could be used for cases that do require urgent intervention and the Practice has a responsibility to prioritise urgent cases.  Although this will not solve all the appointment issues, it should, with other measures being put in place, help. There will still be face-to-face appointments, but they will have to be triaged and this system will help.  The PPG were encouraged to hear that the online appointment system, ‘SystmOnline’ was to be re-introduced, after it had been taken offline during the Covid pandemic. The system enables patients to make appointments online and those who are able to do so do not have to call the surgery in the first instance. The duty doctor will still be available for urgent cases. SD read out a selection of conditions which would trigger an urgent appointment, including serious heart conditions.


Correspondence received from patients:

JC said that she had received an email from a patient, raising three points of concern: Firstly, he gave details of patients who had spoken to him about the delay in getting through on the telephone at 8am for two days running to make an appointment for his wife. He eventually went online to use Doctrin and his wife had an appointment within a week. He said another acquaintance was unhappy but hadn’t made a complaint directly to Lakeside.   Secondly, he said that, although Lakeside had said they were actively trying to recruit GPs, he had been on their website and could see no vacancies.  Thirdly, he said that he was still waiting for correspondence from Lakeside, having asked for sight of their financial statement at the AGM.

SD said that the practice does not advertise vacancies on their own website, as they use a professional medical recruitment agency.  JC said that she had written to the patient, reminding him that his remarks about the finances of Lakeside had been answered on the night of the AGM and subsequently in the minutes of the January meeting, which were published on the website. She had also confirmed that Lakeside has its own complaints form and that the PPG does not replace this, adding that any patients making complaints to him, rather than the Practice, should be directed to the Lakeside online complaints form, a link to which she included in her e-mail.


PPG Communications

Drop-in sessions:

KO, the PPG Comms lead has been working with the Practice to update and order the banners for the surgery drop-in sessions. JC said that the re-introduction of the sessions is really important for patient engagement and asked for volunteers who are prepared to attend, to meet and speak to patients about our work, in the waiting rooms of each surgery, to speak with KO.

June PPG/Patient engagement event

JC asked for thoughts on what the theme might be for our June patient engagement session. Suggestions included presentations by clinicians on healthy weight and obesity, diabetes and the menopause.

JMG said he would like to discuss the possibility of having a (part-time) phone service available for patients who would like to call and speak to a PPG member.  The meeting was over-running, so it was agreed that this can be added to the agenda for the next meeting, as the discussion would require the input of the Practice. JMG will present an option for phone coverage



On the question of the possibility of a UTC at Stamford hospital, BP said that he was disappointed that NWAFT had made the details public before consulting the community. He also made the PPG aware that NWAFT were due to hold a Foundation meeting, which would include the concept of “virtual wards”, in April and encouraged members to attend.

SD said that the Primary Care Network (PCN) contact for feedback on the UTC is Dr Clive Cole.

PPG members noted that Lakeside staff had had to leave the meeting after one hour, to return to surgery duties, but that they had further questions. JC agreed to note the questions and forward them to the Practice, for responses prior to the April meeting.


Date of next meeting

Tuesday 18 April 2023 – 5pm Sheepmarket Surgery