1. WELCOME AND APOLOGIES:
Patients: Gill Walt (Chair), Mimi Colahan (Vice Chair), Judy Hildebrand, Kirsten de Keyser, Nori Graham, Isky Gordon, Veronica Brinton, Adrian Davis, Jonny Bucknell, Ian Critchley, Kathy Graham-Harrison, Gordon Meen
Staff: Sarah Worboys.
FreeSpace: Elizabeth Goodburn
2. MATTERS ARISING:
- A senior Clinical Pharmacist who prescribes and has worked in a GP practice before has been interviewed and will start on 14thDecember.
- A Physician’s Associate was recruited at the end of the summer and a second one started at the start of November
3. FEEDBACK FROM CPPEG
- There will be a Camden Patient and Public Engagement Forum on 19th January 2021 on Zoom. Details will be sent to the PPG mailing list
- HealthWatch Camden undertook a survey of people’s experience during the first lockdown. Results are available on the Camden HealthWatch website. Main findings included the following:
- people found much government information confusing
- although many reported satisfaction with telephone consultations, not all appreciated on-line contacts with primary care services
- the under 65s seem to be more concerned about catching Covid than people over 65.
The full report can be found at: https://healthwatchcamden.co.uk/resources/life-lockdown
Another report on health from the Camden Health and Care Assembly is available from: https://camdenhealthandcareassembly.commonplace.is/
4. KENTISH TOWN HEALTH CENTRE VOLUNTEERING
Three people are volunteering regularly in the Kentish Town Health Centre garden, coordinated by Ian Critchley. Ian is working with FreeSpace, to develop and sustain the garden. He and Elizabeth Goodburn presented their plans for the garden, including approaching the Camden Garden Centre (another charity), for basic garden maintenance (leaf clearing, weeding) over the year. Other work planned includes activities around:
- The fish pond
- Bird feeders
- Waste bin
- Pebbles for flower beds
- Decorations for Christmas tree
- Clean covers for tables
- Organising chairs and tables to be regularly cleaned
- Encouraging people to use the garden
- Antonia to make a short video of the garden
- Arranging a party for dementia and long term Covid patients when the pandemic is over
Anyone interested in volunteering in the garden contact Ian, or the PPG.
5. CORONAVIRUS AND FLU VACCINATIONS
- FLU: Vaccination for the over 65s and at risk under 65s is ongoing, and is being expanded to include the 50-65 age group from 1st December. There was a huge uptake at the beginning, but it is falling off now. There will be a mix of walk-in and bookable appointments for flu vaccination from 1st December. Appointments will be available every day, Monday to Fridays, in the mornings and afternoons from 0830 – 10.30 and 14:00 – 16:00. Patients should check the website.
- CORONAVIRUS: It is not currently clear when vaccination will begin, or which of the three current potential vaccines will be available. There will be mass vaccination sites and primary care sites. Three of which will be in Camden. The logistics of vaccinating the population with the new vaccine are challenging and much remains to be decided about how and where it will be delivered.
- A short discussion regarding transmission of Coronavirus underlined that it is airborne, and people should continue to wear masks (even double masks when in conversation with others), as well as employ regular handwashing, sanitising and keeping a social distance of 2 metres.
6. FEEDBACK FROM PRACTICE
Staff wellbeing: Patients have been concerned about how staff have been coping given the failure of test and tracing systems, resulting in absences, among other challenges for staff.
Sarah assured members that they are coping, some admin members voluntarily working from home, others isolating because of symptoms or contacts. But that nevertheless morale was up and down.
There have been considerable cases of sickness and absence among reception staff, who have to deal face to face with patients’ anxieties. For example, the practice has had to deal with 5000 more telephone calls than over the summer. However more reception staff are being recruited.
Practice Management: In answer to a question regarding the turnover of practice managers (three in the last two years), Sarah noted that it appears to be a nationwide issue that office managers stay in post for increasingly shorter periods of time. They were also, before the pandemic, being recruited to work in the private sector for new on-line health services, which may change as more GP practices go on-line.
It was suggested that perhaps the practice manager should be a job share post. The practice recently (just before the pandemic) reorganized its administration team, and the practice manager role has been devolved to other roles: some of these fall on the Operations Manager, who links with the PPG (Jamil Ahmed).
One patient raised the concern that patients with possible cancer symptoms or other physical or mental concerns, are not coming in to the practice because they are scared of catching Covid. The website has a large and striking sign saying ‘PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND THE PRACTICE’, and several PPG members felt it would be off-putting to patients who had symptoms other than Coronavirus. It was agreed that patients need to be encouraged to get in touch with the practice, and Sarah promised to look into ways of making this clearer on the website.
It was noted that reception staff are very welcoming to patients who come into the practice.
Concerns about the length of the practice’s telephone message have been heard, and are about to be addressed. One of the reasons for the length of the message was because of statutory regulations.
8. 2021 MEETINGS
Feb 18, May 13, July 15, September 23, November 23.