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Friends of Oaklands Health Centre

(Formerly Patient Participation Group)

Minutes of Public Meeting– Wednesday 18 March 2015




Brian Waterhouse, Chairman                                                 Bob Harding                           

Pauline Waterhouse, Treasurer/Social Secretary                  Thelma Harding

Sheila Gotham, Secretary                                               Doris Kingsford                      


Members                                Health Centre Representative

Jane Mathers                          Dr Rob Immelman

Gillian Weller                           Sarah Roseaman

David Weller                                                  


  1. Welcome and Safety Notice

The Chairman welcomed all members and pointed out the emergency exits.


  1. Apologies for Absence

Received from Vivien Holborow, Jean and Tony Butter, Molly Birch and Jenny Millns.


  1. Approval of Minutes (20 November 2013)

As it was well over a year since the last meeting, Brian just summarised what was covered.


  1. Chairman’s report

Brian said it was the first opportunity for the committee to record their appreciation for the excellent professionalism and dedication of the Health Centre Staff over what was a very difficult period. 

We could not hold meetings and coffee mornings during this time but we did give our full support to the Flu Clinic by providing teas, coffees and biscuits all day and we spoke to many patients. 

Our coffee mornings resumed on 2 February and the one in March was exceptionally well attended. The coffee morning in April will be held on Tuesday 7 April (Monday 6 is a Bank holiday) and the May one is cancelled because it falls on a Bank Holiday. 

Our cake sales will resume at June’s coffee morning – Monday 1 June. 

The next Group Meeting will be on Wednesday 20 May – our Annual General Meeting. We have discussed at length about not continuing with these talks because of poor attendance – over the last 8 years the average attendance has been 10 (most of which have been committee members). We don’t want to stop but this is embarrassing when we have speakers who have been working and then travel a distance to come. We have decided to give it another try this year and will then re-assess the situation. 

We need some new committee members who are willing to undertake two important roles: Programme Secretary and PRO (Publicity Officer). 

The Health Centre was recently inspected by the Care Quality Commission. The results are awaited. Three members of the PPG (Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary) were interviewed. This PPG has been operating now for 8 years - we showed him all our programmes since 2007 and he asked for copies. He thought we were doing too much by offering evening public talks every other month and said that it might be better to organise 2 per year on a specialist subject which would last perhaps half a day. We explained that this would not be possible because of the difficulty with accommodation and the fact that surgery staff would not be able to attend during the day. He suggested we hire alternative accommodation but we told him that this might be expensive and we don’t have the funds to do so. He was very interested in what we were doing and thanked us for our time. 

PPG information is in the Hythe Handbook, and also on the websites of ‘Hythe Guide’ and Street Life (a local social networking site). The Health Centre website has links to the PPG and information is given out in packs for new patients. All our events are also on the PPG noticeboard in the entrance to the surgery. 

We now have a more professional Suggestion Box across from our noticeboard. However, some patients still continue to put prescription requests in our box. (We regularly pass these to the surgery). Also the two umbrella stands we bought are still used for waste paper. 

  1. Activity Reports

Treasurer/Social Secretary – Pauline Waterhouse

           Petty Cash: £27.83                 Cash in bank: £918.83                                 Total: £946.66          

Pauline said coffee mornings continue to be successful, particularly the last one. At the Flu Clinic we received £103.27 in donations; expenses were £31.82, so we made a profit of £71.45. We are in a healthy financial position and have asked the surgery if there is anything they would like us to buy. 

Programme Secretary

Brian said our programme secretary, Jean Butter, has resigned due to ill health. He thanked her for all her hard work over the years. Jean had already planned last year’s programme which had to be cancelled due to the flood. She has passed all the contacts to Brian who will try to organise the talks for this year.


  1. Health Centre Update - Sarah Roseaman and Dr Immelman

Sarah thanked everyone for sticking with the surgery during a long, hard year - on the back of 2013 when we lost our senior partner Alison Wiltshire to cancer – she was a big part of the surgery and a sell-respected GP. This was a very sad time for the surgery, as many of our staff were touched by similar experiences that year. On the staffing front, we said goodbye to Dr Rosalind Powell who took up a partnership in a surgery in Lyminge and to Chris Whatmough, our Nurse Practitioner, who specialised in chronic disease, who moved to be nearer her family. 

  • Flood - Things start settling down again and In February 2014 we had the internal mains water flood. The surgery was 4 inches deep in water over 2/3rd of the surgery – but we all mucked in and got on with things. Over the spring last year many of you will remember coming into the surgery via various entrances, reception being moved round and waiting in corridors. Thanks to the PPG who were our help in our hour of need – standing around in cold corridors was not a joke. 

Work finally started on the refurbishment in July and continued to just before Christmas. However, there are still a few things still outstanding. This is alongside our roof concerns which relate back to when we took over the building and, although it was addressed under snagging issues, the full extent of the problem was not known. Now we are in dispute with the developers and the contractors who undertook the work – it is a real shame with such a lovely building. 

  • Staffing – lots of changes with 12 people leaving last year: 3 within nursing, 7 within admin and           2 GPs - Dr Kemi was moving out of the area (but is currently locuming) and Dr Robert Malcolm who joined as a partner at a GP practice in Folkestone in August 2014. 

We are pleased to report that all the admin staff have been recruited now, we are just in the process of employing another HCA to join the nursing team and we are currently advertising for a partner. 

In June 2014 we welcomed Dr Aravinth Balachandran as a partner. He worked here previously as a locum while he was based in a practice in Maidstone, so he knew the surgery. But we are very pleased that he has joined our practice. He works full-time - 8 sessions a week. 

  • Texting patients - We started texting patients in the summer of 2014. Patients with Chronic Illnesses are invited to attend an annual appointment with the Nurse. If patients do not respond to our letter we have to chase them up – now we send texts as second and third reminders to patients instead of printing out and posting the letters. Patients are also reminded of their appointments when they are booked to avoid DNA – do not attend.


  • Flu Clinic - In October 2014 we had our super flu Saturday and we managed to vaccinate over 2,500 patients in one day (then we had a follow-up catch-up clinic in December). It is vital for patients who want the flu jab to have the vaccination as soon as it is available.

We seem to have the super flu Saturday off pat now – but a lot of the feel-good factor is down to the PPG who provide the PR and refreshments to the patients during the long day that we are open. I think the patients see it more of a social event than an inconvenience.

Changes to appointment system - In January 2015 we changed our appointment system and did away with triage. This decision was based on the number of appointments we could offer our patients if a GP and a NP were not tied up on the phones and the number of DNAs. We are now just two months in and, although the system will need to be tweaked, it works well – which means more appointments are available and more appointments being used. 

  • CQC visit - We also had our Care Quality Commission (CQC) visit on 14 January 2014. There was a CQC inspector, a GP and a Practice Manager who spent the whole day with us. Their timetable was very full. They had asked to see representatives from the PPG and we thank Brian, Pauline and Sheila who took the time to come in and speak with the inspector. The CQC also spent a lot of time talking to patients during the day as well as lots of staff and they went through lots of our policies and procedures. Unfortunately, we don’t have the report yet – it should come to us before it is published on the CQC website, but, as yet, on one has got back to us. The inspector did say that the CQC process was quite involved and it would be some time before we heard. The indications from the team who assessed us that day was very positive – they had no issues, all would be happy to be registered here and they understood the ethos of the practice which was fantastic. So we are just waiting for the report to come.


  • On-line appointments - Last week we started online appointments so that patients can book an appointment with their GP remotely. Patients will be asked when they contact the surgery if they would like to use this service. If yes, a letter with their unique access number, together with a password, will be printed out and will be available to pick up from reception.


  • Phone problems - At the beginning of March we changed one of the options on our phone system and coincidentally the phones starting backing up and unfortunately on a couple of occasions patients who were speaking to staff were dropped. We have had the engineers in last week and they are addressing the problems by re-programming the system so that all patients are answered consecutively. Hopefully patients will not be left holding onto the phone for long periods of time.      We are currently monitoring the changes that have been made.

 Sarah then handed over to Dr Immelman for some more news ….

Dr Immelman announced that, although not leaving the practice, he is stepping down as a partner after 16 years.   He would now work 3 days (6 sessions) as a salaried GP instead of 4 days and will be working elsewhere to pursue his interest in neurology.

He felt that as a partner he was ‘management fatigued’ and wanted to take some time out. GPs are facing massive changes and lots of difficulties to maintain better services with ever-decreasing resources. In Shepway there is a problem to find highly-skilled doctors and nurses. His day-to-day work at the surgery would not change and he was looking forward to being able to focus on patient care because this is what he wanted to do.

IT access for patients

He said that surgeries had been asked by government to improve IT access for patients and went on to explain what had been done.

  • Patients are able to register with our clinical system EMIS which allows them to look at

repeat prescriptions and request them electronically.

  • Booking appointments online has just started at the practice. This is a separate system to EMIS and patients will need to register on this site as well. Patients will be asked if they would like to use this service when they contact the surgery. Then they will have to collect a letter from reception with all the relevant access codes they will need to be registered.

Over the coming months patients will be able to have greater access to their medical records. The government are keen that GP surgeries extend this access allowing the patients to view some aspects of their medical records and patient history including referrals letters and results. These will be able to be viewed online. Access will be via the clinical system EMIS which is the one used for online appointments.

Over the last couple of years there have been a number of concerns raised nationally about sharing health data with outside agencies and others. This initially started with Summary Care Records (SCR). The Department of Health launched a blanket opt-in for all registered patients (however, patients do have the choice to opt out). The SCR allows basic data to be accessed remotely by secondary care (hospitals and A&E) – and includes the identity of the patient, details of any allergies, medication and current problems. This can only be accessed with the consent of the patient. Should the patient be unable to consent, the GP can access this information if there is a medical reason to access this information. There is a full audit trail that policies these access arrangements.

Alongside there was another General Practice Extraction Service (GPES) which takes anonymous patient data which is used to audit the services available and uses this information to help shape and improve future patient services.

The Care Data sits alongside this and concerns were raised that the data extracted for this could be sold on by the government to other non-medical companies.

If patients prefer to opt out of this data sharing, they need to inform the surgery so that a code may be added to their medical records.

At the moment the first steps of Medical Interoperability Gateway (MIG) are being introduced. This is to allow better communication between the surgeries and the hospital. The initial part allows the hospital to access on a read only basis the information held on a patient’s medical record at the surgery. This will allow secondary care a more holistic approach. It is early days yet but eventually we at the surgery will be able to access the information held at the hospital as well. Full details about MIG will be displayed at the surgery soon and patient leaflets will be available.   Full details will also be made available on our website and Facebook page.

As with the other electronic access options, the whole system has a strict access criteria which is heavily policed. Again, if patients do not wish to be part of this, they will have to inform the surgery so they can be opted out.

There are going to be many changes within the NHS – most of which we haven’t heard about yet. But the whole way that primary care works will be working towards a more integrated service for patients.


Doris Kingsford asked Brian if the speaker from the Alzheimer’s Society at our last public talk in November 2013 was the same as the contact Jean had passed to him for future talks. Brian said he would check.


Mr Brian Wash, NHS South Kent Coast Clinical Commissioning Group’s lay member for public and  patient involvement gave an interesting and informative talk on the work of the CCG. He introduced Rochelle Saunders, chairman of Shepway PPG, who told us about the work of this group.


For more information, telephone 03000 424 700;


or visit their website


Date of next coffee morning

Tuesday 7 April 2015


Date of next group meeting

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Annual General Meeting/Speaker to be arranged




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