PPG Minutes 18 July 2023
- Date: Tuesday 18 July 2023
- Time: 5pm
- Location: Sheepmarket Surgery and Online
- Julie Clarke (JC) PPG Committee Chair (in person)
- Elaine Hooper (EH) PPG Committee Member (in person)
- John Morphy Godber (JMG) PPG Committee Member (in person)
- Petar Opacic (PO) PPG Committee Member (in person)
- Alison Warrick (AW) PPG Committee Member (in person)
- Harrish Bisnauthsing (HB) PPG Committee Member (in person)
- Paul Matthews (PM) PPG Committee Member (in person)
- Dr Gavin Cattigan (GC) GP Partner/Non-Executive Director - Lakeside Healthcare Stamford
- Lyndsay Money (LM) Operations and Compliance Manager – Lakeside Healthcare Stamford
- Teri White Hub Manager - Lakeside Healthcare Stamford
JC welcomed the PPG and confirmed that she had accepted the resignation of three members of the committee over the summer. She thanked Paddy Jelen, Marion Pitt and Peter Roome for their contribution to the PPG. She also confirmed the co-option of two prospective new committee members. One new member, Paul Matthews had joined the meeting and was welcomed onto the PPG. Another applicant member, who is currently on holiday, is due to join the group at the August meeting.
Minutes of last meeting
A proposal that the minutes of the June PPG meeting was accurate was made by HB and seconded by EH.
Chair’s update (including matters arising from minutes of last meeting)
JC reported that she had attended the County PPG Chairs’ meeting of the Lincs Integrated Care Board (ICB), where they had discussed PPGs in the region and noted that most groups consist mainly of retired members. All agreed that there is a need to recruit younger members, as well as older members, so that PPGs reflect the patients in the communities they serve. In comparison with other PPGs, Stamford fares favourably with some others, who do not enjoy the same level of engagement with their Practice and, in some cases, GPs do not attend PPG meetings.
JC asked PPG members to consider putting themselves forward as Vice-chair, since there would need to be a deputising member available to attend meetings of the ICB and Lakeside PPG Chairs’ meetings when she was unavailable.
Matters arising from the June meeting (which should be covered in Lakeside’s update in item 5), included issues with the dispensary and the Practice’s undertaking to explain delays to patients (including the national shortage of pharmacists) and prescriptions not reaching chemists in time for patients to collect; the extension of the availability of Doctrin; the process in place for GP calls to patients and what happens when they receive no reply.
Declarations of any other business (for item 8)
JMG declared one item to be discussed before he had to leave the meeting at 6.15pm.
[The PPG had sent, in advance, a summary of issues and concerns from patients and asked for these to be addressed in items 5 or 6]
- The Practice apologised for not providing the weekly appointment data electronically and in advance but said that the resource they use (an NHS England application) had been problematic on a nationwide basis, and they were unhappy to provide data which might be inaccurate, but that improvements have now been made to it and new data will be provided electronically prior to the next PPG meeting.
- The Practice are in the process of recruiting, and two prospective new pharmacy technicians will be interviewed shortly. Additionally, advertisements have been posted for a Nurse Practitioner, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner and a Health Care Assistant. This reflects the growing practice of referring patients, who do not need to see a GP, to suitable practitioners and will help in improving appointment numbers during the ongoing shortage of GPs nationally.
- The Practice are now training their own Dispensing Assistants, who will become Dispensers and have just recruited a new Dispensing Team Lead, who will shortly be joining and previously worked for Boots the Chemist. The Practice is constrained, in terms of its dispensing activities, due to lack of space at both St Mary’s and Sheepmarket, since such space must meet strict storage conditions and, in parts, must be temperature-controlled. They are also making use of space made available to them at a local pharmacy. The practice is aware of the level of complaints about dispensing services and the Group’s process improvement team, from their Corby headquarters, have just completed an audit and will report back shortly.
PPG Member questions for Lakeside and correspondence from patients
PO asked about the dispensing process and what the reason might be for a delay. GC said that prescriptions are sent electronically to the patient’s preferred pharmacy and only take a couple of minutes, but could be delayed if they are not issued with the patient present (ie for repeats, or written requests) and they need to be signed off by a GP.
HB asked how the dispensing work was divided between St Mary’s and Sheepmarket. LM said mainly, but not in every case, prescriptions for collections are managed at Sheepmarket and those for delivery are managed by St Mary’s. The amount is around the same for both.
JC said that when she attended a recent drop-in at Sheepmarket, there was a large queue at the dispensing counter and a sign, saying that it was closed for lunch and would re-open at 1.30pm. It was, by then 1.45pm and the desk had not re-opened. Patients were becoming concerned and frustrated, as nobody had been out to speak to them to explain what was happening. She also asked whether the dispensary had to close for lunch, when the rest of the surgery was open. LM apologised and said she would make enquiries about the time the desk was not open at the stated time and come back with an explanation. She also said that the reason for the closure at lunch time was because the desk is staffed with specially trained dispensing staff and at whilst one is dealing with patients, the other is dealing with corresponding admin matters (repeat prescriptions requests etc., behind the scenes). There is not, therefore, the resources to have the desk open continuously without a lunch break for the staff. JC also asked for notices to be posted, at the dispensary desk, informing patients of possible reasons for delays and what they should do if it happens to them.
PO asked whether the Practice prioritises medicine stocks. LM said that the Group Pharmacy Lead oversees inventory and ensures stock. GC said that there can sometimes be a national shortage of a particular type of medication, but that Lakeside will always ensure stock availability of important medicines like insulin etc.
HB asked whether St Mary’s was being used to its full potential. DG said that there are always a minimum of 2 GPs there every day, as well as practice nurses. The rooms at St Mary’s are also used for the various treatments the Practice offers. He pointed out that St Mary’s is not fully accessible and is smaller, so would not be suitable for all patients, but he believes they use it to its fullest potential.
JC said that she had heard from a patient’s carer about the time taken between reviews for a patient with long-term conditions and asked what the process was for reviews. GC said that reviews are carried out on an ongoing basis, in accordance with the requirements laid out for GPs to follow. Some reviews do not require a patient to be seen by the GP, but simply need the medication to be reviewed. If necessary, after that, a patient can be contacted for a telephone review, or can be called in. Where patients on long-term treatment do need to have contact with a GP, they are contacted and, if they would prefer a face-to-face meeting with a GP they can request one. The practice will always endeavour to offer a face-to-face consultation with a patient on long-term treatment if they or their carer requests one.
JMG said he was concerned that the appointment data had only been provided in paper form at the meeting and had not been sent electronically. This was unacceptable with the range of technical facilities available and he would like to be assured that it would not happen again as the PPG should be given time to consider the figures prior to the meeting and formulate any questions they had. He also suggested that it might be an idea for pharmacists to feed back to the Practice their experiences of working with Lakeside. JC suggested this might be an item for a future agenda, since it deserved a longer discussion.
HB asked about the future of St Mary’s Surgery. GC said much of the decision about the future would be in the hands of Lincs ICB, who hold the lease. JC suggested asking about this formally, in a written question and adding it to a future agenda. She said that it was such an important matter and, although it might fall outside the scope of the PPG, it might help to ask the question, so that the PPG could report back, if asked. JC suggested that, in the interim, HB writes to Lakeside Group and the ICB, in his capacity as a District Councillor.
JMG reported that during his last two drop-in sessions he had spoken to patients who hadn’t been aware of the sessions and felt that more could be done to sign-post our group and the drop-ins. He said he would, however, like to make the Practice aware that the vast majority of patients he speaks to at the drop-in sessions report that they are extremely happy when they finally get to see a clinician, but they report extreme difficulty in trying to make the appointment in the first place and do not understand why appointments cannot be made at the desk.
JC said that she had been told that a patient had visited the reception at Sheepmarket, to ask about the PPG and the receptionist didn’t know what the PPG was, nor how they could make contact. She did not offer to find out the information for the patient. JC said this was frustrating, since the PPG notice board is directly opposite the reception desk and she asked whether the Practice could look, once again, at their training and induction and ensure that staff are aware of the PPG. LM asked whether the PPG would like to address staff directly. JC told LM that we had asked whether members of the admin or reception staff could take turns to attend the PPG meetings, but that in any event, it would help for both to understand the work of the other. JC will speak to LM with a view to arranging such contact.
JC said that the next patient engagement session would be held in September and asked for suggestions on a theme. Diabetes was suggested and JC has asked HB whether he could assist her with arrangements, through his involvement with a local Diabetes support group.
Date/Time/Location of next meeting
Thursday 17 August 2023 at Sheepmarket Surgery
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