West Malling Group Practice

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

West Malling PPG (Patient Particpation Group)

Health Awareness Event

Most men who die of cancer will die of Prostate or Bladder Cancer

Men – are you missing out on finding out about YOUR risk of prostate or bladder cancer?   Come to our free workshop and find out more.

Two leading Men’s cancer care specialists will tell you all you need to know at a free workshop on Wednesday 5th June at Genesis Care, 17 Kings Hill Avenue, ME19 4UA.

Food and drink will be served from 6.30pm and the illustrated workshop will start at 7.00pm.

Please email Barry Evans at wmgpppg@gmail.con and put “Men’s Health” in the subject line to reserve  your place. Places are limited to 60 so please reserve your place quickly.

Patient Information


Protected Learning Dates 2019

Tuesday 15th January 2019 –   Time TBC

Wednesday 6th February 2019 – Time TBC

Thursday 7th March 2019 – Time TBC

Wednesday 15th May 2019 – Time TBC

Thursday 6th June 2019 – Time TBC

Tuesday 16th July 2019 – Time TBC

Thursday 12th September 2019 – Time TBC

Tuesday 29th October 2019 – Time TBC

Wednesday 13th November 2019 – Time TBC

Patient Registrations

With immediate effect, WMGP will be unable to register patients who reside outside of Kings Hill or West Malling. This will enable us to continue to manage our current patient list appropriately.




Catching breast cancer early is a big step towards successful treatment.

Women and men of all ages can help themselves by knowing what to look for.

Mrs Ritchie Chalmers, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, is giving an interactive talk about this important subject.

She will also use model breasts complete with lumps in them help her teach you how to self-examine.

Mrs Chalmers BA (Oxon), FRCS (Eng), PhD, is with the Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust and is part of the superb breast care team based there. She also has an extensive private practice and teaches trainee surgeons, GP trainees and on courses at the Royal College of Surgeons in London. She has special interests in diagnosis of Breast Disease, Breast Conservation, and Breast Reconstruction.



WMGP September 2018 Update

Flu Clinics There are two types of flu vaccine being offered to the over 18’s this year. There is a vaccine called “trivalent” offered to 65 years and over and a vaccine called “quadrivalent” for those aged between 18 – 64 years (in at risk groups & pregnant women). Don’t worry about which one you are as we will ensure as part of checking records that you get the right one. Due to late delivery of the trivalent vaccine nationally we will be holding the Saturday open flu clinics slightly later this year, and at the moment planning just 2 dates. These are strictly for adults only. We have 8 nurses who will be working all day on Saturday the 20th of October and 6 nurses  working the morning on Saturday the 27th of October. The nurses who are administering the flu vaccine will quickly check if you are due shingles or pneumonia vaccine and will send you after your flu vaccine to a “special room” to have this done. This should speed up things for those just needing flu vaccines. No need to book for these appointments they are walk in clinics.

Flu Clinics will be held on the following dates: Saturday the 20th of October:-  Morning clinic – 8:30am – 12:30pm. – Afternoon clinic will be 2pm – 5pm Saturday the 27th of October:-  Morning only 8:30am – 12:30pm More detail to follow on dates for children Flu clinics. Improved Access Update Over the last year there has been some media attention on plans to change Primary Care hours by NHS England, this has widely been marketed as a “8-8 service” slogan. This is likely to change nationally anytime from today (1st October 2018 -March 2019). We have been working hard to try and keep our Out of Hours Services available for WMGP patients on site, however we are having to increase the hours in which we do in order to keep the services on site for you. We are also needing to open up some of the appointments for local practices in our cluster. Our cluster is made up of (Thornhills, Snodland, Wateringbury, Phoenix and us). Until now we have had the “extended opening hours” covering an average of just over 10 hours a week. We have till now been offering a selection of early appointments 7.30am -8am Tue-Fri, Mon evening at Kings Hill 6.30pm-8pm and adhoc Sat’s 9am-1pm. NHS England are changing the way funding and these service’s are delivered. We have needed to now enter into a joint services with the above local practices in our cluster and increase our Out of Hours services to an average of 19 hours a week in order for the service not to go to a private provider. This new service is being called “Improved Access” and we have worked with Snodland and Thornhills to keep this service operating out of our practices by our clinical staff. Between the 3 practices you will shortly be able to access appointments every night of the week till 8pm and every Sat. However the IT software is still being finished in the next couple of days, but we hope that it will be available and set up by the end of this week. The IT problem is across West Kent not just with us. We are open tonight and tomorrow night (Monday 1st October 2018 and Tuesday 2nd October 2018) and have already today filled most of these appointments. As soon as the IT software is finished and useable I will send out more information and dates. As WMGP patients you will book all appointments through our Patient Service team. If we are not open then very soon we will start to book you appointments at “the practice” that is open “that evening” at either Snodland or Thornhills. We will give you all the information you need to get to the practice. There will also be facilities for you to access appointments on a Sunday in Central Maidstone. These are not being run by us and at the moment I have no information from West Kent CCG to if these will be available to go live this Sunday 7th October 2018. Again once these do go live you will book by calling us on the normal number during the week and we will have access to book you into for an appointment and give you information to which practice in Maidstone is hosting the Sunday service and how to get there. Text Service Update 70% patients are set up now for receiving texts from us. This is a great percentage rate to have active with less than a year of setting up the service. Now we have ironed out a set up of it for appointment reminders we will be developing the way we use the software to allow more information to be sent to patients by text. A reminder replies are coded so cancelling an appointment by text removes the appointment automatically from our diary system ready to be rebooked. At present this software is not available for the “new” Improved Access  and appointments if they are at neighbouring practices, it only works for the standard appointments available here at WMGP. Please make sure we have your up to date mobile number next time you call us so that you can get these texts. If you are get a text and then need to cancel an appointment you can use the text service to “cancel” without needing to call us.

This also helps to reduce pressure on phones of patients calling us.

My GP app service The My GP app is part of the text messaging software. We are going to start to use the appointment app to set up appointments for rheumatoid arthritis and Asthma annual reviews. Those without the ability to access the app will still get sent a letter or get a call from us to book an appointment, so don’t worry if you a part of our 30% that don’t have access to mobile phone or apps.

This also helps to reduce pressure on phones of patients calling us.

Don’t Call Us……….. We Will Call you We have been trialling projects where we call patients rather than sending a letter asking “please call us to book….” This has been really effective and we like the personally touch that it gives our patients.

This also helps to reduce pressure on phones of patients calling us.

In other News……… Dementia Friendly Accredited Practice Dementia Friends Training for Staff organised for Clinical and Non clinical staff in November. This is part of a process we are on to make WMGP a Dementia Practice which is an accredited award given out by Alzheimer’s Association, more information about this can be found here  Online Booking System

The present online system we use is used across West Kent and we having been promised a new and improved system to be available soon, but no date is confirmed. We have met and discussed with suppliers of a number of good software companies the options that are available but we have been told by one of the largest suppliers that an online solution for West Kent are likely to be funded for the update soon and to wait. There is staff training and time needed to implement a system so at present we hold and wait. From online shopping to searching for information, patients spend more time online than ever before, making it crucial that NHS services offer a first class digital experience nationally.  Many areas across the country have already had these improved online booking systems. We will continue to chase for updates and hope to launch a new improved service soon. Open Meeting Dates now published October-December Reminder we are still running monthly meetings so that any patients can drop in a catch up on the latest information and discuss face to face with our Business Manager any practice news and topics or to discuss the latest changes. The next meeting is being held on Tuesday 16th October at a new time of 12 noon -12.30pm at Leybourne Surgery. The November meeting will be at West Malling on Thursday 22nd November and will be held in the “Hollies” the smaller building situated behind the main West Malling practice between at 12-12.30pm. The December Open Meeting will be held at Kings Hill, upstairs on the first floor waiting area on Tuesday 18th December from 10-10:30am.


Next Half Day Closure for National Training is on Tuesday 30th October 2018

The Practice will be closed from 12.30pm on Tuesday 30th October 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 this cannot wait until they reopen at the usual time on Wednesday 31st October then please call NHS 111.

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




Bowel Cancer UK

Sent on behalf of Leanne Thorndyke, Head of Marketing and Communication – Bowel Cancer UK

Earlier this year Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer merged to become the UK’s leading bowel cancer charity. Today we are delighted to launch the name and brand of the new charity.

After extensive consultation, we have chosen Bowel Cancer UK as the name, underpinned with the strapline ‘Beating Bowel Cancer Together’. We believe this best enables us to continue to build on the fantastic work of the legacy charities.

Read more about the new brand and what we do here We’re also using this opportunity to raise awareness of bowel cancer screening

to improve early diagnosis of the disease. Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer however the disease is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early. Screening can detect bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat and there is a greater chance of survival.

We’ve contacted media across the country highlighting their local screening uptake rate and encouraging people to take part in the screening programme. In your CCG 62% of people are taking advantage of the screening test.

Our vision is a future where nobody dies of bowel cancer but we can’t achieve this alone. We’re asking the whole community – patients, families and friends, doctors and nurses, scientists and researchers, politicians and campaigners, to join us and take action.

Watch and share our new film featuring celebrities, supporters and healthcare professionals: check it out here.

We hope you will join us and help stop people dying of bowel cancer.

Healthwatch Kent newsletter

Distributed on behalf of Nicky Scott – Healthwatch Kent

Tell us your experience of using wheelchair services. #itstartswithyou

The Kent Physical Disability Forum has been working hard to gather feedback from people about wheelchair services. Together we have shared what we have heard so far and took the decision to escalate the feedback to the Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) which met to discuss the issue today. HOSC have given commissioners two weeks to explain why they haven’t ended the contract.

We would encourage anyone with an experience of wheelchair services (good or bad) to share their story with us. Call us anytime for FREE on 0808 801 0102 or email info@healthwatchkent.co.uk

Overview Update Of Parkrun

Kent GP Practice Parkrun Day: 9am Saturday 22nd September ref:PB4116

Sent on behalf of Jane Roome, West Kent Education Network

Many of you will be aware that the RCGP has launched an initiative with parkrun to encourage practices to develop closer links with their local parkrun and signpost patients to take part in parkruns.

Some of you heard the very motivated talks given by the Malling and Tonbridge parkrun event directors at the recent external PLT events.

For those who haven’t heard; parkruns are free timed 5 km events that run every Saturday morning at local parks up and down the country. They are hugely positive and inclusive events and have the power to help the physical and mental health and wellbeing of all of us as well as our patients.

We are lucky enough to have 4 in West Kent:


Castle Road (behind the swimming pool), Tonbridge, TN9 1HR


Royal Tunbridge Wells

Dunorlan Park, Pembury Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 3QA.



Leybourne Lakes Country Park, Malling Road, Larkfield, Kent ME6 5LB



Lock Lane, Sandling, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3AU


(All start at 9am Saturday every week)

West Kent Education Network, West Kent CCG and the West Kent parkrun Event directors are working together to make Saturday 22nd September 2018 West Kent GP practices parkrun taster day.


We’d love to see as many practices represented as possible on the day at their local West Kent parkrun. You can run, walk or jog it as an individual or even better gather together a whole bunch of staff and make it a practice event.

The events are totally run by volunteers so if someone can’t or doesn’t want to run, jog or walk they can still be part of the event by volunteering on the day.

Visit www.parkrun.org.uk/ for more information and to register for parkrun- its free and extremely easy to do.

Please put the date in your diary and start encouraging everyone in your practice to be part of the day.