Dr Stephen Yaxley (SY, GP Partner), Jill Fraser (JF, Chair), Patricia Langton (PL, Vice Chair), Adriana Santos (AS), Susanne Kord (SK)
- The group introduced themselves, brief background of their interests and reasons for being on the PPG. PPG was informed that David Grainger would likely not be joining any further PPG meetings.
- The group reviewed previous process of the PPG meetings – practice provided minute taker.
The proposed merger of both James Wigg (JWP) and Queen’s Crescent Practices (QCP), and the merger of the PPGs was discussed.
SY updated the PPG that since his discussion with PL at previous meeting, partnership thinking had moved on to be in favour of a merger of both practices (merging the contract, IT and management systems), while keeping both sites fully operating, with separate GP teams based at each site to maintain and enhance named doctor system and continuity of care, while improving access for QCP patients to the wider range of services offered at JWP, such as women’s health/menopause, dermatology, contraception, smoking cessation and the arts and wellbeing services provided via our charity, the Free Space Project.
As the two practices are already operating under one partnership, one senior management team and one reception team, it would enable us to streamline the IT and management systems, and improve access by freeing up reception time switching computer systems, and enhance resilience for covering sick leave/annual leave/self-isolation as a result of Track and Trace contact.
Process of consultation was explained. NHS England would consult with ALL patients (via text, or letter), with link to website for feedback. JF raised the issue of ensuring patients engage with the consultation, as there is a history locally of low levels of engagement with these kind of processes. It was proposed that a stall on QC market to help improve engagement. SK helpfully raised the issue that many local residents (due to experience of school mergers – Carlton and Rhyl Primary, and threats to the library) fear that merger is a shorthand for closure, and this fear will need to be clearly addressed.
SY stressed that there is absolutely no plan to close services or the QCP site – on the contrary, the partnership is committed to it, and the merger is to make the organisation more effective, improve access (via phone, online, to wider range of services) and improve choice. PL thought that a merger was inevitable and perhaps beneficial. AS and PL both highlighted the differences between the communities around JWP and QCP, which needed to be recognised and respected so services meet the local needs.
AS worried about the minority status of QCP with respect to JWP, and worried there could be a negative effect on services. SY updated on the timeline for the consultation – through September into October, with aim for proposed merger to be submitted to the NHS England committee in mid/late October. All in favour of merger of the JWP and QCP PPGs, with a part 1 and a part 2 to the meetings – part 1 covering issues common to both practices, and part 2 if there were agenda items specific to one practice or the other.
- ACTION: NHS England will send out consultation information shortly. PPG to consider if stall could be set up on the QC market for direct consultation.
- SY to contact JWP PPG to inform of view and ask to be included in the next PPG meeting: date 9th Sept 2pm.
SK is keen for communication between the practices and between practices and the hospitals to improve and highlighted personal example of the difficulty getting through on the phone, difficulty in getting results.
AS stressed the importance of improving access in all senses of the word – the physical location of the practice, access via the phone, and access to a named GP who considered patients holistically and followed that patient up. SK highlighted that approximately 25% of QC local residents do not have access to WiFi, so online access and online consultations are more difficult. The QC library used to provide walk-in access to computer terminals to help address this, but since the pandemic this has been accessible only via a booked slot, and so as a result usage has dropped significantly.
SK also highlighted that she felt, once you are in the system, care is generally very good – but getting in the system can be very hard. Various members expressed concerns about how patients who were less IT savvy or eloquent could fight their way into healthcare systems.
Various members raised concerns about long waits on the phones, and phones disconnecting. SY apologised for difficulty in getting through in recent weeks, due to so many staff off on annual leave combined with self-isolation due to being “pinged” by Track and Trace. Explained situation is improving, we are recruiting more receptionists. Reminded that eConsult access is there for those who are happy to use online. SK reported that she really likes eConsult and wants to keep it.
All would like to see some data around phone traffic and times.
- SY to bring back data on phone traffic and call waiting times to next meeting
NHS DATA SHARING
This is currently on hold. Patricia helpfully shared the National Association of Patient Participation NAPP bulletin this week by email, with further information about this programme, and also radio 4 programme link about pros and cons of health data sharing. Will find out further information on this including deadline to opt-out for those who wish to. SY informed the PPG that Dr Zuhaib Keekeebhai, the newest partner of JWP and QCP, is also Digital lead for North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group (NCL CCG), and is particularly well informed in this area and should be able to provide more information to the PPG. This is an example of a topic where it makes lots of sense to discuss as one PPG, to avoid duplication.
- To add to agenda for next PPG meeting.