1. Welcome and apologies

PPG members sent warm congratulations to Sarah Worboys, link GP, on the birth of her daughter, Lily.
Patients: Isky Gordon, Veronica Brinton, Maria Constantinidou, Tamar Posner, Nancy Hogg, Gill Walt, Gudrun Sveinbjarnardottir, Gill Scott, Jonny Bucknell, Tony Gardner-Medwin, Donatella Soldi
Practice: Stephen Yaxley, Pal Bhambra
Apologies: Nori Graham, Pat Banks, Patricia Langton, Danya Glaser, Kathy Graham-Harrison, Mimi Colahan

2. PPG report 2021-2023

The Chair’s report on PPG activities over the past three years was disseminated and will be on the website, under the participation page. It was complimented on its comprehensive nature.

3. Dementia Support Group

Given growing consciousness of the impact of dementia on patients, the PPG is spearheading an attempt to see whether carers of people with dementia would be interested in establishing a support group. Two PPG members, Camilla Palmer and Nori Graham are planning to hold a meeting on 21 May at KTHC to initiate such a group if there is interest. All PPG members will be notified of this meeting and to tell carers about it.

4. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

There has been a high demand for ADHD services for both adult and children. This has had a significant impact on the Practice. For example, the increase in adults presenting with ADHD symptoms rose from 97 patients in 2019 to 260 in 2023. There is a 4 year waiting list for referrals of these adult patients to psychiatrists in mental health services. Discussion ranged around many issues: for example, some patients are seen in the private sector, and prescribed drugs which they may expect the Practice to continue prescribing, and which is not possible; the tools used for diagnosis were described; the use of drugs and over-prescription was also raised, among other things.

5. Web-site Development

A website company with significant experience of developing GP websites has been contracted to develop a new website for the Queens Crescent and James Wigg group practice. They have asked for input from PPG members, and several people have shown interest in giving a patient’s perspective. They will be contacted by the Practice. Work will start in late May. There will be a feedback session for input by PPG members in June. The website will be independent of devices used for access.

6. Appointments

A number of PPG members present reported various problems with the appointment system and raised questions about urgent versus routine appointments. Several had experienced the difficulty of finding that by mid-morning there were no urgent appointments available on the day. Problems with E-Consult and E-Lite (where reception staff fill in an E-Lite form for patients) were discussed. Pal Bhambra explained that theoretically there are sufficient appointments every day for the average day, but there are great fluctuations in demand, and that demand for GP services has grown exponentially since the pandemic. There was some discussion about the complex reasons for the increased demand, which, among other things, is probably due to an aging population, and has been affected by the pandemic. Pal pointed out that as appointment capacity increases so demand increases.

Longer term non-urgent appointments are affected by GP contracts with NCL ICB which state that all general practices have to see 90% of all patients within 2 weeks. The consequence is that many appointment slots are filled up by follow up within 2 weeks of the first consultation plus other specific groups who require follow up within 2 weeks. If the Practice does not meet this key performance indicator, they are penalised, which has financial consequences. This is an issue which should be raised with CPPEG and taken to NCL.

7. Feedback from Practice

  • Staff – New GP 4 sessions / week. New pharmacist and senior pharmacist
  • Prize for colleague of the month both in admin and reception
  • Feed back from volunteers very helpful
  • On-going discussion about changes in the services in KTHC which is owned by Community Health Partnerships. Proposals include MSK services moving from Peckwater Centre and the top floor in KTHC being offices for a variety of staff to provide more integrated primary health services for patients: for example, district nurses, social workers, housing officers etc. They would form the East Integrated Neighbourhood Team providing better integration between general practices in the area. Feedback on these changes and on signage at KTHC will be provided to the PPG by the July meeting.
  • Phasing out of In-Health at KTHC

8. Volunteers feedback

Check-in kiosks work only erratically. When functioning they are most useful. It was suggested that the PPG write to NCL reporting this continuing frustration. Only 1 screen in the waiting room is currently working. However, messages calling patients to appointments have been adjusted and stay up for longer now. Patients often express their appreciation for the work of the volunteers.

9. Dates of next PPG meetings
Thursday 13th June, 2-3.30.
Thursday 11th July 6-7.30 in KTHC garden.

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