PPG Meeting Minutes

Have you heard? We are helping to develop a stronger network of PPGs in Dorset

July 2023: Held via Zoom Video Conference


Present: Tracey Scorer (PPG Co-ordinator), Leanne Birch (Operations Manager), Dr Ella Costales (GP Partner), John Hewitt (Preston PPG Chair) & 11 PPG Members

Chair: John Hewitt


1. Welcome

John welcomed everyone to the 12th Practice PPG meeting held via zoom. John encouraged the PPG to ask questions and join in the discussions on topics raised.


2. Practice Updates – Leanne Birch

Leanne informed the PPG that the Practice were going to send a press release later this week and letters to patients stating that the GP partners of Royal Crescent and Preston Road Practice and Dorchester Road Practice are pleased to announce plans to merge the practices under one contract in April 2024. The practice has a long history of working collaboratively with other practices across Weymouth and Portland. With the current challenges within General Practice being a larger organisation is beneficial and supports resilience. For the practice it is important to maintain our ethos and feel of a family GP.

Joining forces offers many benefits to patients and practices alike. As a bigger organisation we will be able to offer the combined skills within our GP and nursing teams to the patients of both practices, and will be more attractive to recruiting new clinicians, making us more sustainable. Patients will be informed via SMS or Email with statements also on the TV presentations in the waiting rooms, the Practice Website and Facebook. Patients will be kept updated throughout the process.


3. Flu Season

The Practice are currently planning this year’s Flu Vaccination clinics. Large vaccination clinics will be held at Wey Valley School on Saturday 23rd September and Saturday 7th October. If any PPG members can give up their time to help at one of the clinics, please let Tracey know. You can get a free vaccination!


4. Asylum Barge Portland – Will this affect the Practice

Leanne said lots of meetings had been held within the locality, with concerns raised for Royal Manor Surgery in Portland along with concerns raised by the other Weymouth Practices. Leanne said there will be support across W&P. The latest update was that the migrants will register with a GP outside of W&P, and not at a local W&P GP practice.


5. Signposting

Signposting There are various other services within W&P that reception staff can appropriately signpost patients to other than their GP.

There are also ‘Enhanced Access’ appointments, which include GP, Advanced Nurse Practitioners, Nurses and Health Care Assistants. These Enhanced Access appointments are outside the Practice’s normal surgery hours, ie weekends and evenings and are held at different locations within W&P, giving more patient choice on when and where to attend.


6. Patient Feedback – leading to change

It’s always good to receive patient feedback, especially feedback that leads to change benefitting Patients and the Practice.

We were recently notified that when patients were booking blood test appointments via a SMS link sent from the surgery, the appointments were not very clear which site was being booked, patients can have a choice of which surgery to attend for a blood test. A patient had booked an appointment at RCS but thought it was at PRS. We have now made the site details clearer when a patient books their own appointment via SMS benefiting the patient and the practice.


7. MIU / UTC

A PPG member asked about the Minor Injuries Unit and the Urgent Treatment Centre, and whether you still had to call 111 first before being seen. Leanne said calling 111 would be the most direct route, as 111 can signpost to the most appropriate service and book an appointment if needed, but patients can now also walk in and use this service. Tracey to ensure this is reflected on the Practice website.


8. Obesity & Eating Well

John led a discussion on obesity, eating well and moving more, and John also shared an article from the Times newspaper on Ultra-processed foods.

Dr Costales said it would be good for the W&P locality to try and promote healthy eating in the locality and in schools, and it was also mentioned this should be tied in with the cost of living, to show it doesn’t have to cost more to eat healthily. John agreed to take this discussion to the next W&P PPG Chairs group. It’s all about getting the right balance, eating too much fruit at each sitting led to pre-diabetes for one PPG member. The PPG said it would be interesting for a Diabetes Dietician to talk about Pre-Diabetes at the next PPG. Action Tracey


8. Skin Lesions – When to see your GP

Dr Costales shared a very interesting presentation on skin lesions and when to see your GP. A PPG member asked why when a GP has referred a patient regarding a suspicious skin lesion does the hospital need a second opinion before treating it? – thereby prolonging the wait for removal.

Dr Costales said that (as of 2 years ago) for every patient referred with a suspicious lesion, only 33% actually go forward for removal, hence the need to see a Dermatologist first.

It was mentioned there is now new technology which can identify melanomas straight away, but this is not yet available in the UK.

The slides will also be put on the TV presentation in the surgery waiting rooms, on the campaign notice board and shared on the website.


10. Next meeting

The date for the next PPG Meeting held via Zoom will be Tuesday 3rd October 1pm start

John thanked all members for attending and brought the meeting to a close.