West Malling Group Practice

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

Easter Closure

All three sites will be closed for Easter from Friday 30th March to Monday 2nd April. Normal Surgery resumes Tuesday 3rd April.

If you need medical assistance while the Practice is closed please call NHS 111


Vicki Plummer

Business & Finance Manager


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Improving Patient Access

Our number one project that we have been planning for in 2017 is to Improve Patient Access. This has been ramping up since the start of 2018 after many months of planning, recruitment and the last few weeks of training phase two of new recruits. This does not just include increase of staff on the phone lines but also changes to admin roles and job titles in some cases:

  • We realised we didn’t have enough staff able to cover when Patient Services staff are ill, sometimes we also short when staff were on holiday or combination of a number of staff on holiday and then one or more staff call in sick.
  • We knew with NHS cuts we had to be strategic and careful in how we covered the cost of solving patient access. This continues to be an issue as we implement our changes and plan for how we will solve the problem long term and gain consistence in that it is solved everyday no matter what happens.
  • We realised on the current staffing plan even when we had all staff in, the call wait times first thing in the morning and sometimes late afternoon were to long.
  • We identified Patient Services staff needed more training on how to book in with what clinician for what condition.
  • We have created a new admin role called  “Medical Assistant” to work along side clinical team to support GP workload and act much like a PA in many cases.
  • We identified the need to train more non clinical staff to answering the phone so that this can be done first thing when many other tasks are not time specific.
  • We identified that sometimes it will be better to call a patient to book an appointment and not send a letter asking patients to call us. This is an area that has started and will be increased!
  • We identified that we need to keep up with technical changes including text messages for appointments, but also as a general communication tool texts would be beneficial and cost effective.
  • We are also reviewing the messages that are on phone system and the type of music that is played. We are looking to add personal messages by the Partnership and are reviewing the options for music.
  • 3 more phone lines are being added to the system hopefully these will be in place this week or next. We hope that the snow disruption last week will not delay these going live, we will keep adjusting and adding lines till we get it right for you.


Vicki Plummer

Business and Finance Manager


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Patient Participation Group Committee (PPG)

The purpose of the Patient Participation Group Committee (PPG), who are all volunteer patients, is to support the practice by liaising between the patients and the practice, and to ensure that patients and carers are involved in decisions about the range, shape and quality of services provided by their practice. We meet 6 times a year with the practice and discuss with them the biggest issues and work hard to support the practice with the many NHS struggles and funding issues that exist for the practice.

We seek to be active in our support. For example: improving communication channels with people who may not otherwise be reached through the usual electronic channels (thus this Downs Mail article); assisting in surveys where required by the practice; suggesting and assisting in setting up a range of sources for volunteer help to patients and carers (for example: contacts and connections with charities in the area, assistance with transport, gardening, housework, health advice, befriending)

We have a number of vacancies on our committee and we are now looking for patients with a wide range of skills and the time available to join us.

Application forms are available at all surgeries or can be obtained by sending me a message at wmgpppg@gmail.com.


Our PPG AGM is set for Wednesday 21st March,  6.30pm – 8pm in the Barn Chapel at “Pilsdon at Malling Community”, 27 Water Lane, West Malling ME19 6HH. (5 Mins walk from the High Street). Please enter by the small green gate. The main entrance will be closed

The PPG committee and the Business and Finance Manager Vicki Plummer  will attend and will be happy to address questions under the “AOB” agenda item. After the AGM business a Health Adviser will introduce the “One You” programme for our area. We hope to see you there. However, space is limited so please let us know if you would like to come via email to wmgpppg@gmail.com or ask at any surgery reception for an attendance slip to complete and hand in.

Vicki Plummer is also organising several Open Meetings for patients to discuss directly with the the practice the plans for improving services and standards. This will include an opportunity for patients to ask questions about the sale of West Malling site and any other concerns. The dates will be released soon on the WMGP website and displayed in all reception areas.

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Be Clear on Cancer Campaign – Breast Cancer in the over 70’s

A further Public Health England Be Clear On Cancer Campaign – Breast Cancer in the Over
70’s is about to launch over the next six weeks. This is likely to increase enquires from
women over the age of seventy for breast assessment.
Any woman who is asymptomatic can self-refer for a mammogram to the NHS screening
programme by telephoning the Maidstone Screening Programme on 01622 710185 or the
Brighton Screening Programme 01273 696955 extn 4227.

More information to follow in the next few weeks.


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Spilling the T on T*

A friendship group for (and run by) people who identify as
transgender, non-binary or gender variant and are living in and
around the West/Mid Kent area.
We meet regularly with the aim of making friends and sharing
If you are interested in more details including dates please email
spillingthetont@gmail.com or alternatively check us out on
Spilling the Ton T @SpillingtheTonT @spillthetont

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Increase In Scarlet Fever Notification

We are writing to inform you of a national increase in notifications of scarlet fever to Public Health England, above seasonally expected levels.

What is scarlet fever?

Scarlet fever is a bacterial illness that causes a distinctive pink-red rash.

The characteristic symptom of scarlet fever is a widespread, fine pink-red rash that feels like sandpaper to touch. It may start in one area, but soon spreads to many parts of the body, such as the ears, neck and chest. The rash may be itchy.

Anybody can catch scarlet fever, but it usually affects children aged two to eight years old.

Scarlet fever is extremely contagious and can be caught by:

  • breathing in bacteria in airborne droplets from an infected person’s coughs and sneezes
  • touching the skin of a person with a streptococcal skin infection
  • sharing contaminated towels, baths, clothes or bed linen

It can also be caught from carriers – people who have the bacteria in their throat or on their skin but do not show any symptoms.

More information can be found here

Signs and symptoms of scarlet fever

Scarlet fever is a common childhood infection caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A streptococcus (GAS). The symptoms are non-specific in early illness and may include sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. After 12 to 48 hours the characteristic red, generalised pinhead rash develops, typically first appearing on the chest and stomach, rapidly spreading to other parts of the body, giving the skin a sandpaper-like texture. On more darkly-pigmented skin, the scarlet rash may be harder to spot, although the ‘sandpaper’ feel should be present.

Patients typically have flushed cheeks and pallor around the mouth. This may be accompanied by a ‘strawberry tongue’. During convalescence desquamation of the skin occurs at the tips of fingers and toes, less often over wide areas of the trunk and limbs.

The differential diagnosis will include measles, glandular fever and slapped cheek infections.

Complications of scarlet fever

Although scarlet fever is usually a mild illness, patients can develop complications such as an ear infection, throat abscess, pneumonia, sinusitis or meningitis in the early stages and acute glomerulonephritis and acute rheumatic fever at a later stage. Patients, or their parents, should keep an eye out for any symptoms which might suggest these complications and if concerned advised to seek medical help immediately.

Dr Rachel Pudney 
Consultant in Communicable Disease Control, NHS England
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Following on from information we gave before on this new support group I am pleased to announce we are holding a coffee morning on Friday 9th March at 10.30am at our Kings Hill Medical Centre.

A new support group for ME, this is also sometimes referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as well as severe exhaustion it affects people in various ways including pain, cognitive issues & even insomnia. So if you have ME, Fibromyalgia, Lymes, any other chronic illness that means you deal with exhaustion or even just undiagnosed fatigues please join the new Facebook Support Group called “Tired of Being Tired”. We are going to be working with the new support group and have offered them tea, coffee and biscuits and a chance to meet at our King Hill Medical Centre. As Sarah the inspirational lady, who has set up the group said to us “It’s a hard thing to come to terms with so if we can get people in our community dealing with a chronic condition together to support each other it would be lovely. My Facebook group only had 10 people yesterday morning, it’s now at 22 & I’ve woken up to more messages from people.”  

Any questions regarding the group please email sarah@snakebyte.co.uk

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Review and Re-design of NHS Falls Services in West Kent

NHS West Kent CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) is currently running a large review of falls services, including considering what a new falls prevention service would look like.

Involving patients, their families and carers in this decision making process is essential. The following provides a link to an online questionnaire which offers falls service users an opportunity to give their views.

The questionnaire can also be completed online here

Questionnaires need to be returned by Friday 16th March 2018

If you have any questions or queries regarding the falls service review then please don’t hesitate to r.pullen@nhs.net



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One You

We now know that it’s the small changes that can make a huge difference to your health so why not start today by taking the One You online quiz? One You aims to encourage adults, particularly those aged 40-74, to take control of their health to enjoy significant benefits now, and in later life. One You Kent offers fantastic local support and information to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.
The One You Kent website www.oneyoukent.org.uk also provides a comprehensive selection of health and fitness information as well as the opportunity to book a session with a One You advisor for help in setting achievable health goals. This includes information about stopping smoking and support reducing alcohol intake, advice for maintaining a healthy weight as well as advice on a range of lifestyle issues.

Background information

One You is the first campaign in England to target adults in midlife in a holistic way and it will encompass all our adult health brands from now on. It follows our other successful holistic campaign, Change4Life, which will continue to be aimed at children and families.
One You comes at an important time. In 2014 the NHS published its Five Year Forward View which set out a clear direction for change to secure the future of the nation’s healthcare system. Achieving a ‘step-change’ in prevention is at the core of the Forward View and we need to support people in taking steps to reducing their risk of developing avoidable conditions.
Currently 42% of adults in midlife are living with at least one long-term health condition and the NHS spends a minimum of £11bn a year on treating preventable illnesses caused by the effects of poor diet, inactivity, smoking and drinking alcohol.
One You Event
Please use the following link for further information and to reserve a place on the up and coming launch event on the 14th March. One You Launch and Stakeholder Event



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Stroke Consultation Services: Have your say!

People in West Kent are being urged to respond to a public consultation on the future of urgent stroke services in Kent and Medway, which runs until 13 April 2018.
The NHS is asking for people’s views on proposals to establish new 24/7 hyper acute stroke units which, where they have been introduced elsewhere, have been shown to save lives and reduce disability. The consultation is also asking for views on potential locations for the units. The proposals recommend creating three hyper acute stroke units in Kent and Medway, and give five different options for where these three new units could be located. If the proposals go ahead, urgent stroke services would not be provided in other

hospitals in Kent and Medway.
There are two events in west Kent where people can find out more and have their say. These are on:
• Tuesday 20 February from 10am to 12 noon at Maidstone Community Support Centre, 39-48 Marsham Street, Maidstone, ME14 1HH
• Thursday 15 March from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Angel Centre, Angel Lane, Tonbridge, TN9 1SF.
People are also asked to read the consultation document and complete the questionnaire which can be returned online or by post. A list of all events for the consultation across Kent, Medway, Bexley and the High Weald area of East Sussex is also available.
People can book their place at an event online, by calling 0300 790 6796 or by emailing km.stroke@nhs.net
Further information on the consultation can be found on: www.kentandmedway.nhs.uk/stroke

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