Patients:  Nori Graham, Jonny Bucknell, Maria Constantinidou, Isky Gordon, Kirsten de Keyser, Gordon Meen, Kathy Graham-Harrison, Veronica Brinton, Ian Critchley, Dobrila Nincic,  Adriana Santos- Davila, Gill Walt (James Wigg PPG Chair), Mimi Colahan (James Wigg PPG Vice Chair);  from Queen’s Crescent:  Susanne Kord, Jill Fraser (Queen’s Crescent PPG Chair), Patricia Langton (Queen’s Crescent PPG Vice Chair),

Staff: Sarah Worboys (link GP), Sammy Benfares (communications and digital manager)

Jacqueline Davis (Dignity and Dying)


Dr Davis, radiologist at the Whittington Hospital, member of the board of Dignity and Dying and Chair of Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying, gave a short introduction to the Assisted Dying Bill which passed its second reading in the House of Lords in October.  She emphasised that the current situation in the UK is untenable:

  • To get an assisted death, UK citizens have to go to Dignitas in Switzerland, which is costly, and those assisting the patient are at risk of prosecution
  • Many suicides are linked to terminal illness
  • People die bad deaths in the UK, even in palliative care

Although 80% of people in this country want a change in the law, successive governments have been reluctant to give time for the issue to be debated.

The discussion following the talk was wide-ranging, and there was general recognition and support for a change in the law. Dr Worboys talked about the difficult position GPs are in currently, and felt legislative change would also provide more security for them. Much of the discussion ranged around the chances of having a good death, and it was emphasized that patients, families and professionals talking about death and the dying process was crucial in achieving this.  To that end, the practice now offers a session run by a volunteer (Dr Isky Gordon) once a week to those (patients or health professionals) who want to talk about end of life issues (eg writing a living will (advance decision), setting up power of attorney, etc). They need to be referred by their GP.

Action: Individual support for a change in the law can make a difference to the attention the government gives the issue.  PPG members could write to their MP, or any other member of Parliament or members of the  House of Lords expressing their views. For advice contact [email protected] for more information or support Dignity in Dying (www.dignityindying.org.uk).


Given the huge strains on general practice throughout the country, and the negative press blaming GPs (rather than limited resources, a diminishing workforce and the pandemic) it was decided it would be useful to understand what was happening in the James Wigg practice.  The presentation given by Dr Worboys is attached to these minutes, and will be available on the website, on the PPG page.

The presentation pointed out that what most patients and the media see of general practice (phones, appointments) is just the tip of the iceberg.  Reviews, administration, prescriptions among many other things, go on behind reception.  Dr Worboys also provided evidence on a number of different themes, and challenged a few myths.  For example, the number of people attending A&E in 2021 is similar to those attending in 2019 (before the pandemic), but the numbers of people seeking GP appointments has increased considerably.   A significant loss of work force in the NHS (reflected in difficulties with recruitment, absence through sickness or isolation, low morale, burnout) has further strained services.  The message was a sombre one: the NHS is haemorrhaging and GPs are working harder than they ever have before. See https:// jameswigg.co.uk, go to participation page.


See report on the website, and disseminated with the agenda.  One of the suggestions arising from these meetings was to re-instate the volunteer system of helping manage the queue in reception.  Action: chair to approach volunteers and the reception manager to set up a system.


Given that the PPG is largely made up of older people, we would like to try to engage with people who are younger, with different views on the activities of the PPG.   This meeting ran out of time, but at the next meeting Ian Critchley will introduce a way of trying to do that.  Action: item for next agenda

  • Sammy Benfares, the newly appointed Communications and Digital Manager) is in charge of the website and social media, and communications within and without the practice.
  • There is to be a weekly paediatric clinic run by a consultant paediatrician and a GP trainee from the practice.
  • Isky Gordon is running an ‘End of Life Clinic’
  • There will be a Consultant Psychiatrist in the practice once a month.

Thursday 27 January 2022, 2-3.30

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