PPG Minutes

PPG Minutes 2019



Minutes of previous meeting were reviewed and signed off as accurate by Dorothy. It was agreed that all matters arising from the last meeting had been addressed.

Alison is to check distribution list to ensure all emails are listed for participants of the group.

Survey Response

Discussed the success of the survey from the Practice’s point of view and how we are implementing it in practical terms. We discussed that we are encouraging patients to sign up for online booking of appointments and babblevoice. The group felt that we needed to have some form of help/tips for using babblevoice, what it is etc to support patients who may want to use it. It was agreed that a flowchart could be completed to place online and also it was thought a large banner type stand could be purchased to stand in reception to display help and top tips for patients to review whilst waiting to be seen.

Action for Alison to source prices for the banner and return to the group with this information for the next meeting.

Newsletter/Patient handbook

Can we include the information re babblevoice etc in the new patient handbook. Dr Gray said we will be doing a new practice leaflet however we are going to wait a couple of months as there are some changes that will happen which would mean if we did a leaflet now it would be out of date soon.

Text alerts

It was mentioned whether we could send text alerts to patients using free text when there are changes on the website to alert patients to those changes.

If we can give an update in the next meeting where we are with these changes and online uptake.

A5 leaflets

Previously the practice have given out “you said we did” leaflets to the patients on A5, we can going to action this again following an update on what we have completed from the survey requests findings.


Following on from the last meeting there was a request to try to get a radar key for the disabled toilet whereby all disabled people have a key where they can gain access to toilets that have this system fitted. Dr Gray has some prices for these which on average are approx. £250 for the lock and key and with fitting will be £400, so the plan is to see if we can gain some funding from maybe prescribing savings, to help fund this.

There will be an update in the next meeting.

Progress with Altogether Sunderland

There are 2 arms with SLA, care in residential home and patients in their own homes who need care or are lonely. There has been 2 meetings for patients with care homes and this project is paid for by the Alliance, this was a pilot originally and we are on board with it fully.

We have regular meetings whereby the community matrons and District nurses attend along with adult services re city council, social services and care co-ordinator. This was the vanguard project in Sunderland originally.

Mental health appointments in children/adolescents

Quarterly meeting with mental health team and Age UK involvement, the practice takes a holistic approach on working together to support children.

There are different levels of mental health support for children and young adults, at a low level we can refer to Sunderland MIND for counselling and support.

At the next level is CAMHS- Children Adoloscent mental health services where there is approx. a 6 month wait list for appointments.

Lastly for more complex needs we can refer to CYPS eg for child protection incidents.


There was a discussion re pharmacists and whether we had or could have one, Dr Gray mentioned that we used to have a pharmacist here however we don’t at present and we need to get the cost of funding and what they can do for the practice in terms of getting the balance right.


No any other business

Next Meeting – Monday 13th May

Minutes and agenda will be emailed out.

PPG Minutes 2018

June 2018



Minutes of the last meeting were reviewed, it was agreed they were accurate and they were signed off by Dorothy.

Matters arising from minutes of the last meeting

Dr Gray confirmed that the Practice were doing ongoing changes to the Babblevoice telephone system and would explore, as part of this, the opportunity to put information into the system for patients to listen to while they were waiting in the queue. Dr Gray confirmed that Dr Jo Corner had started with the Practice and we had employed Dr Michie to work at the Practice as a Career Start GP. In regard to the Patient Information leaflet produced by Sunderland GP Alliance, which we discussed at the last meeting, Dr Gray advised that she had written to the Alliance passing on feedback from our group. 

She had received a very positive email thanking the group for its comments which they felt were most useful and advised that the correspondence had been passed to the relevant team for producing patient information. In regards to the disabled toilet Dr Gray advised that this was being left open although it had led to more incidents where the toilet had been blocked, we believe by parents using it as a changing facility.  Dr Gray mentioned that she had explored the option of a RADAR key and asked the group for their experiences of this.  Mike felt that most patients with a genuine disability were likely to be aware of the scheme and that RADAR keys were being used widely in other facilities across the North East and were cheap to purchase.  A key could be left behind the Reception desk for other users.  Dr Gray agreed to look into the cost of putting a RADAR lock on the disabled toilet and discuss this further with the Practice Manager.

Local Survey

We discussed the format for this years’ local survey. Dorothy and Dr Gray had had the opportunity to review the emails sent by other members of the group which had been very helpful. It was agreed that the survey would be targeted to one specific area to allow us to aim for a more targeted survey which could be completed more frequently.  It was agreed initially we would aim for 2 short surveys a year. We agreed the first survey would concentrate on telephone access and online access to services in order we might get feedback of patient’s experience of the new Babblevoice telephone system and look at any factors discouraging patients from using online services. It was agreed in 6 months we would look at prescribing as our area of interest. The Practice is in the process of taking back the responsibility for processing repeat prescription orders. 

We agreed that we would keep the questions quite straight forward but also to leave a free text area to allow patients to leave their comments and suggestions. Dr Gray agreed that she would put a draft together and send it out for consultation as a first step to other members of the group. Once the questions were agreed Mike kindly volunteered to create a suitable document for printing. The survey would be brought to the next meeting on 3 September for comment by the rest of the group with a view to conducting the survey in the final week of September or the first week in October. It was agreed this would be a useful time. It was likely there would be increased footfall through the surgery for flu vaccination. It was agreed as previously we would attempt to send a number out to patients directly and members of the group would also come into the Practice during the survey period and help patients in the waiting room. This had previously had an excellent response rate.

Other Matters

Dr Gray explained that the Practice was taking back responsibility for patients repeat prescribing orders to try and prevent wastage. Experience across the city had been that many patients on a variable repeat had their repeat prescriptions ordered every month by the Pharmacist regardless of whether they were using it, causing wastage.  Dr Gray also mentioned that changes to the telephone system would mean that going forward it was likely that there would be one telephone number into the Practice with a pick list for services, compared with the 2 separate lines at present and details would need to go out in the patient leaflet once all staff changes had been finalised.

Next meeting is to take place on 3 September 2018

March 2018


Minutes of the last meeting were reviewed, it was agreed that they were accurate and they were signed off by Dorothy.

Matters arising from the last minutes

No further progress has been made on the Jayex screen. It was agreed that we should concentrate on volume  levels for the call in screen and Dr Gray agreed to investigate this further.

Practice Leaflet

Although the content of the leaflet had been agreed in a previous meeting, a reprint had been held off due to a short period of very significant changes in staffing. Dr Gray stated that there was a plan for a reprint once all the staffing changes had been made so that the leaflet would be up to date.

Telephone access

Positive comments were made regarding changes in the Babblevoice system, the ability to know where you were in the queue and the pleasant background music were mentioned. Rachel suggested that it might be possible to put some information on the system for patients to listen to while they were being held in the queue as happens with some banks and insurance companies. Dr Gray agreed that this was a good idea, she agreed to explore this with the Practice Manager to see whether it was technically possible.

Staff changes

Dr Gray outlined the recent staff changes in the Practice. We have employed 2 new receptionists, Tracy our Health Care Assistant left for a new job in Manchester and her role has been taken on by Amber and the group gave some very positive feedback about Amber’s approach with patients. The Practice will be saying goodbye to Dr Wallace who is retiring. Dr Gray said they had recruited a new GP to replace him who would hopefully be starting at the beginning of May.  We had employed a Career Start GP who at present would be with the Practice for 12 months.

Local survey

It was agreed that we would proceed this summer with a local survey. It was agreed  it would not be as extensive as the previous survey undertaken due to the large  commitment involved but we would try to target this to 1 or 2 areas where the maximum impact would be felt.  The group have a number of ideas about where those areas might be including patient’s experience of Babblevoice, experience of the waiting room environment and it was agreed that they would go away and think about the areas which might be best explored and forward them by email to Denise who would compile them and we would agree at the next meeting in June the areas to concentrate on.

Any other business

Mike brought along a Patient Information leaflet which had been produced by the Sunderland GP Alliance around the Sunderland GP Extended Access service. He felt that this leaflet was not clear and did not provide patient information to be useful and Dr Gray agreed on reviewing it that it did not appear to give clear information about the service. Once everybody had looked at it, turned it over to look on the other side where they expected to find more information , Dr Gray agreed that she would feed back there comments to the Alliance.

Mike mentioned that on a couple of occasions when he has attended the surgery, the disabled toilet had either been out of use or been locked with a mention to collect a key at reception. It was discussed that this was also used as a baby changing facility, it might explain the plumbing problems we had been having as patients were often discarding nappies and wipes into the plumbing system.  It was agreed to be fed back to the Practice Manager to see whether we could leave the toilet open and whether a workable solution might be found.

Next meeting is to take place on 11 June at 5pm. Confirmation of the date would be sent nearer the time.

September 2018



Minutes of previous meeting were reviewed and signed off as accurate by Dorothy.

Matters arising from minutes of last meeting

Dr Gray said that she had passed on the information about the RADAR key for the disabled toilets to Vanessa who was exploring the cost of installing this.

PPG Survey

We reviewed the survey form which Mike had produced and managed to condense to 2 sides of A4. It was agreed that a small change would be needed to provide standard for telephone answering time, although it was agreed by the group that there did not appear to be any clear signs available to us of what was acceptable.  However as a benchmark it was agreed we would ask patients whether their call had been answered within 3 minutes and Mike agreed to provide Dr Gray with an amended copy of the form. We agreed to begin the survey in September, hoping to coincide with increased footfall during the flu season. It was agreed that we would send out 200 surveys attached to normal correspondence to patients as a postal survey and that the PPG would come into the surgery waiting room and survey patients on the week beginning 24 September and the rota was agreed so that the entire week could be covered by different members of the group.

Deadline for collecting the completed surveys would be the 31st October and that would also be added to the form produced by Mike so it was clear for patients when the form had to be returned.  We would then collect them and Dorothy and Mike kindly agreed to analyse the data and input onto a spreadsheet to be discussed at the next meeting on 12 November.

Any other business

As a group we discussed our own experiences of attempting to register for online access. Ted stated that he had to make 2 trips to pick the form up and then to return it to the surgery with appropriate ID and wondered whether it would be helpful if the form were available to be printed off from the website to allow patients to do this first and we agreed it would also be helpful if patients were aware that they needed to bring ID with the form. Mike stated that he had some difficulty as the code that he had been using appeared to be incorrect and out of date. He informed Vanessa about this and she said unfortunately she had no control over it and would pass the information on to EMIS. However he is yet to hear from her and Dr Gray agreed that she would speak to Vanessa to resolve the issue.

Next meeting to review the results of the survey on November 12th at 6pm. All welcome.

PPG Minutes 2017

June 2017



Minutes of the last meeting were reviewed, it was agreed they were accurate and they were signed off by Dorothy.

Matters arising from the last minutes

Jayex TV Screen

Dr Gray and Vanessa have had a meeting with representatives of the CCG to discuss the difficulties with the Jayex screen. They conceded there were problems with some of the content particularly how easy it was to read.  However we were told that as the content was received from lots of different organisations there were inherent difficulties in making changes. We were advised that we would be given more space on the loop to use for the surgery’s own material and that training would be forthcoming. However no further progress has been made since then. Dorothy and Mike felt that having viewed the material on display while they were waiting to come into the meeting that they were still unhappy about the clarity of the content and agreed to draft a letter to the CCG.

New members

Dr Gray confirmed that Christmas cards had gone out to all existing members to thank them for their contribution to the PPG over 2016. Although the Practice were advertising for new members this did not seem to be effective as we had not recruited any new members recently. It was felt younger patients were underrepresented. Dr Gray agreed to investigate putting information on the sign in screen. It was considered on changing the position of posters advertising the PPG to a more prominent position in the Practice might be useful.

New arrangements for extended access

Dr Gray explained that the Practice were no longer involved in the extended access scheme to provide appointments in the evenings and Saturday mornings as they are working together with other Practices in the Coalfields to develop a new service to provide routine appointments out of hours which hope to provide a broader choice of appointments for patients and will come on line in due course.

Progress towards online appointments and prescription access

The Practice now has 9% of its patients actively using the online system although many more are signed up but not actively using it. It was agreed that numbers who are registered are gradually increasing so measures taken by the Practice to improve awareness seems to be effective. However it was agreed that not everyone will choose to use the system as they may prefer more traditional means of booking appointments and prescriptions if they are familiar with this system.

Reprinting of the updated surgery leaflet

Dr Gray provided a copy of the text of the new patient leaflet. The group felt that the section on the Patient Participation Group should be edited as they felt the content was very dry and unlikely to attract new members. Dr Gray agreed to rewrite this and send a draft out for consultation.

Any other business

Dr Gray reported that the national patient survey which was previously conducted twice a year had changed to an annual process. The next report for the Practice is due in July and it was agreed we would review this in our next meeting to look at themes we may wish to take forward in our own patient survey.

Date of next meeting – September 11 2017

September 2017


Minutes from the last meeting were reviewed and it was agreed that they were accurate and they were signed off by Dorothy.

Matters arising from the last minutes

A letter has been sent to the CCG jointly signed off by the Practice and the Patient Participation Group once again expressing concerns about the lack of progress in improving the clarity of the information on the Jayex screen in Reception. Rachel and Charlotte however felt that the information was easy to read and understand and we conceded that problems experienced by some of the Group might not reflect the views of all patients.

New members

Dr Gray has put information on the sign on screen and changed the position of posters advertising the PPG as previously agreed.

New arrangements for extended access

Dr Gray advised the Group that the new system was now up and running. There were appointments available to book through the Practice for extended access appointments in 5 different locations across the City. This system has been live now from the beginning of the month and the Practice were beginning to book patients in. It was advised that patients would be seen by a local GP who would have access to their medical records and it was hoped that this would be extended to further hours.

Printing the updated surgery leaflet

Dr Gray confirmed that the changes to the draft had been made and that the Practice was currently looking for quotes to print a batch of leaflets. Dr Gray agreed that the Practice would contact Arthur who had arranged the printing of the previous leaflet for a quote.

GP National Patient Survey

Dr Gray brought along the results of the most recent survey which was published in July 2017. It was agreed that the Practice had performed well against National benchmark standards across almost all the indicators. However there remained concerns about ease of getting through to the surgery by telephone and Dr Gray explained that the Practice were trying to mitigate these problems by adjustments to the algorithms on the telephone system to ensure that patients were put through to the right place. We were  also trying  to increase the number of patients accessing appointments and prescriptions online which would free up telephone lines during the day. It was generally agreed that as this was a recurrent issue that it might be an area that the Patient Participation Group could include in a local survey to try and glean more specific feedback about the problems which were being encountered by patients.

Local survey

It was agreed we would discuss this in some detail at the next meeting in December but Dorothy felt that local views regarding the Jayex screen and telephone access might be the most likely areas requiring further information and survey.

Path to Excellence

Mike and Dorothy have recently attended a Patient Consultation regarding proposed changes in the organisation of secondary care services across Sunderland and South Shields. Dr Gray briefly explained the rationale for these changes.  Mike and Dorothy explained that the consultations were at an early stage and there were a variety of Patient Consultation meetings which anyone could attend.  These are detailed on the Sunderland City Council website but can be easily accessed by Googling “Path to Excellence”. They also mentioned that there is a particular emphasis on looking at transport links as this will underpin the success of any new location of services.