Present: Pat Banks, Veronica Brinton, Jonny Bucknell, Mimi Colahan, Ian Critchley, Maria Constantinidou, Tony Gardner-Medwin, Isky Gordon, Robert Graham-Harrison, Nancy Hogg, Patricia Langton, Jane Mays, Sandy Mosse, Gill Scott, Gill Walt. From the Practice, Pal Bhambra, Sarah Worboys.
Apologies: Steve Yaxley, Adriana Santos Devila, Nori Graham, Kathy Graham-Harrison, Kirsten de Keyser, Hilary Calvert
- Matters arising: A report from the volunteers will be presented at the next meeting and contact with the Bengali women’s group will happen during the next few months.
Pal Bhambra, partner responsible for operations at JW/QC gave a brief outline of his past involvement with NHS and GP practices over the last 14 years. He then answered the questions on the agenda, which had been sent in by PPG members.
2. Overview of Operational Issues at James Wigg/Queens Crescent practice
A major positive of the JW/QC Practice is the continuity of staff, and the continuity of care that both JWP and QC offer. Pal also said that the facilities for patients and staff were really very good. He mentioned a number of critical areas where there is room for improvement, and which he is exploring, or where changes have already been made:
- While there is administrative staff training, it lacks a clear structured training and development programme. There are plans to change training and improve it and career advancement opportunities. For example, there are four levels of reception staff, and structured training modules being developed will help to improve progress in their careers.
- There are problems with medications. This is being systematically mapped to see where the process is breaking down. It involves many staff, including pharmacies, and is a multi-step analysis that is ongoing.
- There is an issue with blood test results, which could be much more streamlined and digitized. The Practice is exploring how this could be improved for patients, and also for inclusion in patients’ clinical notes. A few innovations have already been introduced for the long-term condition clinics.
- Special clinics are being held on Saturdays and Sundays, so the building is being used more efficiently.
3. Continuity of Care
There are team of senior GPs with little staff turnover. However, JW/QC is a training practice, so there is a rapid turnover of other trainee staff. GP trainees come for 4, 6 or 12 months. Some are at the beginning of training, others almost ready to graduate as GPs. All groups (including Physician Associates) are closely supervised by senior GPs. So, although in theory each patient can see his/her own named GP, in practice this is hard to achieve. There was some discussion then on whether face to face appointments were available if patients wanted them. The answer was yes, but might only happen after a phone call appointment. It was agreed that this is not a new problem but needs sorting.
The website is not as good as it could be. This is on the list to do in the new financial year. Pal hopes a small group of volunteers from PPG will join him in reviewing the website.
It is hoped that Care Coordinators or navigators being re-introduced in the Practice will be able to help patients navigate their health care in a number of ways – teaching about the use of text messaging, for example, or helping out in Reception.
Automatic text messaging is already being used to good effect. The NHS Check which covers patients between the ages of 40-75 is being done regularly now, by texting patients, sending them a link to make an appointment. So far 831 patients have been reviewed this year, with 548 patients seen in the past month. It is planned to introduce a similar system for the over 75s.
Queens Crescent practice is fully amalgamated with James Wigg Practice. All calls are handled by James Wigg staff, who work at Queens Crescent on a rota basis. QC patients may be directed to services provided at KTHC.
5. Reception is the face of the Practice
When the queue for reception is long, or slow, patients get frustrated. Pal thinks that when busy the receptionist can call for help. Volunteer experience suggests that this does not always happen (because the single receptionist is tied up with a patient), and that a better system for calling a second staff member to help is needed. This led onto a discussion as to why people are queueing at reception and the lack of appropriate signage.
This is a problem that has been ongoing for years. It was agreed that the chair would set up a small committee of interested people including Pal to address how signage could be improved in a first phase. This group would bring back suggestions and costings to the PPG.
7. Hybrid Meetings
It was agreed that until all the appropriate equipment was in place PPG meetings would be face to face, and would not run meetings
The meeting ran out of time for discussing all the questions that were sent in, but Pal Bhambra will be attending PPG meetings in future, with further opportunities to explore issues patients have with the Practice.
8. Next Meeting:
Thursday 30 March 2-3.30 pm