1. WELCOME AND APOLOGIES:
Patients: Gill Walt (Chair), Mimi Colahan (Vice Chair), Graham Lang, Tony Gardner-Medwin, Angela McRobbie, Ian Critchley, Isky Gordon, Patricia Langton, Kathy Graham-Harrison, Veronica Brinton, Gordon Meen.
Staff: Sarah Worboys;
Apologies: Judy Sands, Kirsten de Keyser, Judy Hildebrand
2. FEEDBACK ON PPG ACTIVITIES 2019 – 2021
The annual report was attached to the agenda, and is available on the James Wigg website, under Patient Participation Group. It provides an overview of the variety of activities and issues pursued by the PPG over the period.
3. OVERVIEW OF CONSTRAINTS ON GENERAL PRACTICE IN THE UK AND EFFECTS ON THE JAMES WIGG PRACTICE
Sarah Worboys gave a very clear Powerpoint presentation on the NHS England mandate for GP practices in the UK, covering remote triage, online consultation (i.e. e-consult) and telephone consultations. For all general practices there has been a significant increase in the number of contacts and in their complexity. At the James Wigg practice, for example, the number of e-consult forms submitted has more than doubled over the past year. While it was acknowledged that some patients found the e-consult forms difficult, repetitive and too long, others were satisfied with using them. This was also true in relation to telephone appointments, which some patients preferred to having to go into the practice. The practice is looking at the appointments system and is likely to be introducing changes. These include allowing some bookable appointments, and special considerations for those patients who are over 75. However, remote triage will continue, and face to face appointments will only take place where appropriate for the moment.
Other changes introduced in the NHS, such as no longer being able to offer walk-in phlebotomy or X-ray clinics, have added to general practice bureaucracy. Overall, patient demand outstrips supply, and the James Wigg practice, like others around the country, is looking for ways to cope with this, in the context of the ongoing pandemic and insufficient resources.
4.FEEDBACK FROM PPG EMAIL RESPONSES
The chair thanked the many PPG members who responded by email to questions and queries, and apologized that all responses were not answered individually. She reassured everyone that all responses are taken into account and followed up where possible.
PPG members had responded on a number of queries:
- Phlebotomy service: this service in Camden has changed. 18 people gave some feedback on their experience, which was passed on to the NCL CCG representative at CPPEG. While most James Wigg patients reported a positive service, some were confused about what had happened to the walk-in clinic, and were unsure of the process for getting blood taken. We are following up on this with NCL CCG and will report back.
- NAPP Newsletter: responses to our question about the value of receiving the NAPP newsletter showed that many are interested in receiving and reading it. We will continue to send it out to those on the email list.
- Letter to Matt Hancock, PPG members were asked whether they wanted to sign a letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, objecting to the takeover of AT Medics’ run practices in Camden and elsewhere in the UK, by Operose, a subsidiary of Centene, a US insurance company. A large number of patients expressed concern about the lack of transparency in the NCL CCG in agreeing the transfer, and the commercialization of primary care it introduced, among other issues. No reply has been forthcoming from Matt Hancock’s office, and a Judicial Review is being proposed, to consider whether this case should be taken to Court. There has been considerable media interest in the issue.
5. FUTURE ACTIVITIES
- July PPG meeting. We are hoping that the next PPG meeting will be a face to face one in the beautiful Kentish Town Health Centre garden. This will be a more social type of gathering, might involve FreeSpace. The date is to be confirmed.
- PPG meeting with reception staff. Two previous meetings have been held between PPG members and reception staff, as part of their training programme. With a new group of receptionists, it was thought this would be worth repeating. A date has yet to be confirmed.
- Meeting to raise awareness about dementia. Once it is clear that it would be safe, the PPG will arrange the meeting that had to be postponed because of the pandemic.
6. NEXT MEETING
This is on Thursday July 15th 2021.