Patient Participation Group Meeting Minutes




13th October 2021, 7:30 pm


Bob MacDonald, Andy Swindlehurst, Debbie Dean, Nima Stepney, Charlotte Brooks Jay Prior, Kim Tanner, Gerry Rumney, Barry Evans


Margaret Coleman, Nellie Kumaralingam, James Winter, Linda Pickard, Jane Jordan, Ellie Milsom

The meeting opened with introductions to and from new members, Jay and Charlotte.


Bob mentioned that a regular newsletter like the one he had done in July and that he is doing for the PCN monthly might be a good idea.

Andy Swindlehurst said that yes, a good idea, but perhaps only a quarterly one was needed for the WMGP.

Action: BM to set up a quarterly newsletter. BM

Practice update by Debbie

Debbie said that the last 18 months had been challenging and that staff recruitment in particular was a challenge.

Extra practitioners plus extra HCA’s and nursing staff had been employed. Training was ongoing but staff sickness was responsible for lowering numbers at times.

Andy Swindlehurst said that the Leybourne Surgery was now operating again Monday to Thursday and that, should the need arise with the building of more homes i.e. Broadwater Farm, that the CCG was on board with the expansion of the Kings Hill Surgery.

Andy said that the practice is trialling the balance between face to face and telephone consultations and seeing what the patients wanted and what works best for both Doctors and Patients. This was ongoing.

There was a discussion around maybe using a Patient Survey to test what patients feel about this.

Action: BM to initiate PPG thinking on this to take ideas to the surgery. BM

Triage telephone calls missed by patients

Nima brought up the problems with telephone call backs and stated that this system was not working as the number shows as withheld and if the call is not answered then no further calls are made and no follow up is made by the surgery. This was proving difficult for working patients who, although happy with a phone consultation, needed a time frame to enable them to be able to answer the call.

Debbie mentioned, perhaps a text message from the surgery informing the patient had missed a call, but it was decided that this was not the best option with regards to confidentiality as part of the message can be seen on the screen.

Andy suggested that perhaps a generic text message might solve the problem.

Action: DD to investigate. DD

Andy is to discuss this with the other GP’s to see what can be done to improve the situation.

Action: AS to investigate. AS


The eConsult app was discussed, and Andy said that although they work in practice, patients are expecting an immediate response and not allowing time for the process to work. They then phone. Patients need to know how the E Consult works and not phone to chase unless there has been no contact after 4/5 days. There should be a 48-hour contact text or email to give an appointment.

The E Consult app is now open from 8am to 6pm to lessen the load on the surgery and it was being discussed with other GP practices whether a central hub might be the way to lessen the load on practitioners  generally.

Receptionist behaviour

Bob raised the high number of complaints the PPG had received regarding the phone lines and patients’ frustration at not being able to get appointments or in some cases just being cut off after hanging on for a  long time.

Debbie said that phone lines across all surgeries were very busy and that WMGP was not alone with this problem. She said that the pandemic had definitely made matters a lot worse.

Andy agreed with this and said that the sheer volume of calls compared to a couple of years ago had significantly increased.

Debbie confirmed that extra receptionists had been employed and trained and that there were 6/8 receptionists answering calls from 8.15 a.m.

Bob said that there had been incidents where receptionists were reported as being rude to patients.

Nima said that it would be helpful to know the receptionists name but felt that they were reluctant to give names.

Andy said receptionists used to answer the practice phones by stating the surgery and their name, but standards have slipped, probably due to the sheer number of calls and the pressure the receptionists are  under.

Action: DD. Debbie said that she has set up a meeting with the receptionists to discuss the PPG feedback. DD

What can the PPG do to assist the practice?

Bob asked what could we be doing as a PPG to make things better for the WMGP? He asked AS and DD to let the PPG have their thoughts on this.

Action: DD to feedback to BM. DD


Barry told the meeting that after 5 years working with the PPG he felt it was time for him to bow out and that this was to be his last meeting.

Bob wished Barry well and said he had been a great help and support and had been able to make him aware of many things.

He thanked Barry from all the Committee for his time spent on the PPG.

Date of next meeting

Date of the next meeting to be arranged.

Action: Jay to arrange. JP


Minutes agreed – 24th February 2022

Bob MacDonald


Jay Prior