West Malling Group Practice

Milverton, 116 High Street, West Malling, ME19 6NE
With surgeries at: West Malling, Leybourne & Kings Hill

WMGP Practice Update August 2018

Following on from our last update in June we want to continue to keep a regular update scheduled around every other month. Hopefully the regular updates will help patients to understand the many changes that we are doing to improve services and constantly review better ways of working.

Patient Access

The call queue has now just been extended to 45 to allow more patients to be in the queue as there is more staff answering the phones. Increasing the number from the original 25 waiting also makes it easier for you to stay on the line at peak times and not have to keep pressing 1 to get in the queue. As far as we are aware the maximum of 45 in the queue is not being reached although on Mondays when we sometimes get the busiest number of calls first thing it is close. We will continue to monitor best practice and consider increasing this before we go into the winter when volume of calls increases due to winter ailments. As previously reported we are continuing to also grow the number of staff that are trained on Patient Services to answer the phone and deal with booking appointments so the number of staff on the phones is also slowly increasing. We have not fully completed this phase of improvement to Patient Access but we are training and hiring constantly at the moment in order to reach our goals. Our maximum call wait at most times constantly reaches our plan of less than 15 minutes. As soon as we can hire and train more staff to answer phones and consistently cover all leave and sickness with cover and have up to 10 members of staff on the phones at peak times we hope to reach our target of less than 5 minutes wait. We have experienced random late afternoon peaks in calls and we are reviewing the best way to manage these as well as on our on going daily peak call time of 8.15am till 9am. We will be adding an additional staff member to the phones on Friday afternoons as well as this seems to be randomly peak quite high.

Clinical Recruitment

We also understand that we need to increase the number of clinical appointments that we have at present. We have a new Salaried GP Dr Usha Ramjeeawon confirmed now with a start date of Monday 5th November to join us for 2 days a week. Dr Thomas Reichhelm returns from Australia and starts back in September as Senior Partner and has increased number of days to 3 with the practice. We have also recruited Dr Nicola Swindlehurst to work as a locum over the winter and starts with us in September. We are still recruiting others and hope to include a start date of another GP very soon.

Blood Pressure Machine for Kings Hill waiting area 

There has been a delay in the blood pressure machine for the waiting area, it is on order but we wanted to make sure we got the most up to date machine and one that can also have a set of scales as part of set up for patients. The delivery is due this month and we set it up as soon as it arrives. More details about the benefits to patients and the practice of having a blood pressure machine in the waiting area are listed under the update in June that is still on the website and on posters in the waiting areas.


Next Half Day Closure for National Training Thursday 13th September 2018

The Practice will be closed from 1pm on Thursday 13th September for Protected Learning Time. This applies to all three sites.

As always these closures are set by the West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group not the Practice and are to ensure that all teams get the essential training and development needed. If you require emergency medical treatment while the surgery is closed which cannot wait until they reopen at the usual time on Friday 14th September then please call NHS 111.

The future of the West Malling surgery was in the press earlier this year. Here is recap of what we have said:

As published on our website in January 2018, the site has been up for sale since July 2017 and we have 3 serious buyers preparing to make offers. We intend to keep a presence for appointments on West Malling High Street after the sale until we have an ideal location for West Malling patients of all ages.

 The Background

 The Milverton site does not meet with the new NHS criteria for surgeries, which is to move all primary care services into commercially viable buildings. Further, the NHS plan for practices is to have services for around 30,000 patients in one location. This is relevant to us due to our size, 20,500 patients and growing.

 We are researching “IF” the reality of the NHS ‘super-practice’ plan is right for our patients. We are working with NHS England and local authorities to create infrastructure and services that are outstanding and enable all patients to easily access them. We are looking at all options and we will ensure any changes in sites, more sites or less sites will cater for the needs of our patients including the elderly and all vulnerable groups to ensure the range and quality of services we offer is suitable and accessible for all.

 Our vision is for a practice and facilities that we can all be proud of, that caters for everybody’s needs and is rated as outstanding by our patients.

 We hope that as we communicate and share our thoughts, then we can share the challenges we face together. We are on our way to making our vision a reality.

 In order to create the best primary care service we are happy to look into questions you have and any site options you may wish us to consider. Our Practice PPG are still looking for Committee members and and will be working with us to pass on patient questions and feedback that they have received.

 The Latest on the Sale of West Malling

We have this month finalised a buyer for the West Malling Site. As part of the condition of sale we have agreed to lease back the premises for the whole site. I can also announce that the West Malling Chiropractor Clinic that is located within the West Malling Surgery site will also stay at the same location.

Face to face appointments for patients will remain at the West Malling site for many years to come. We will continue to research the needs of patients living in West Malling to provide the most appropriate services for them at this location.

Many areas of the back office will move out from West Malling during 2019 into better commercial viable settings for staff to work in. The exact location/s is still to be confirmed but planning can now start in more detail.

We have had several suggestions for land available for a Super Practice, we continue to be open to suggestion on options from local organisations, developers and patients. If moving to one site is suitable then this will take around 5 years to plan and create.

We will continue to hold monthly meetings across the 3 practices so that Patients can sign up and meet with myself the Business Manager to discuss practice plans as we develop them. I look forward to hearing more patient questions and suggests. The next meeting is at West Malling on Thursday 30th August between 12-12.30. We have had some great meetings so far at all 3 sites and have some great suggestions from patients and some great feedback about the changes that are planned.

New Dates for Open Meetings

Kings Hill upstairs Waiting Area Monday 17th September 10-10.30AM  & Leybourne Surgery Tuesday 16th October 3pm-3.30pm.

As before all these updates and meetings have been added to our plasma screens in the waiting area and all the surgery windows so that all patients can read the updates.

We will continue to publish updates as we progress plans and secure clinical and non clinical staff to support in our growth and improved development.


Vicki Plummer

Business & Finance Manager

West Malling Group Practice