Meeting Notes & Minutes
17th October 2023 Via Microsoft Teams
- 12.30pm to 1.30pm with Dr Karen Walker and Ellie Evans (Physicians Associate)
Apologies were received from:
- Shelagh, Paul R., Christopher, Roger, Alison, Trudy, and Lesley
Elaine welcomed everyone to the meeting and apologised for the long gap between meetings.
2. Matters Arising
Parking near the surgery - unfortunately no action was taken about speaking to parking authorities. It was not known if anyone has issues with parking near the surgery.
Kennington/Botley practice: This issue has now been resolved, much to many patient’s relief. Patients from the Kennington site have been allocated to Manor Health Centre, and those from the Botley site have been allocated to 19 Beaumont Street.
3. Practice & Health Related Issues
a) Autumn Covid/Flu Vaccination Arrangements
Dr Walker informed the group that this year covid boosters are available for those aged 65 and over, and for younger people who are immunocompromised. Last year people over 50 were eligible. Clinics have been held at the surgery on alternative Saturday mornings. There is one more clinic planned, but if there is the demand they may schedule and extra clinic.
Flu vaccines are also available at other times – for example they are running a clinic on Wednesday afternoon/evening.
Cicely asked about whether the practice is notified if you have a vaccination elsewhere. The answer is yes – but not always immediately. Covid vaccinations are recorded on a national system (Pinnacle) and come through quickly, but the records for flu vaccinations rely on the pharmacist uploading the information and this may take some time.
Paul asked if there had been an increase in cases of Covid. The answer was probably – there is generally less testing being done and recorded. Also, the current variant seems to take longer to show as positive on the tests – it may take several days after you feel unwell. There is also no national advice about staying at home or mask wearing.
Are anti-viral drugs still available for the immunosuppressed? They are for some patients. The restrictions are tighter than previously. The GPs no longer get automatically informed if an eligible patient tests positive. Patients have to let the practice know themselves – after 48 hours. The practice then has to refer to patient to the specialist team at Oxford University Hospitals.
b) Waiting times for appointments
Dr Walker noted that compared to other practices in the city their waiting times were not too bad. The waiting times for a routine appointment, with any doctor, are about 10 days. However they may be longer if you want to see a specific doctor.
For more urgent problems the on the day, duty doctor system is working well, and patients are contacted and triaged within a few hours.
c) Use of e-Consult
e-Consult is available if patients require an answer to a problem or have a medication question. You can enter your query/issue into the system and will get a response within 48 hours.
It was recognised that this is easy for those who find IT easy to use, but for those who are not able to use it there is always the option to telephone the practice.
4. Practice Update
Dr Walker announced that she will be retiring as a Partner from the end of November. However, she will continue to work at the practice on one day per week (Tuesday). Her patient list will be reallocated amongst some of the other doctors. These will include:
- Dr Donya Baban
- Dr Clare Coggins
- Dr Aya Kuwabara – new doctor who will be starting in late January 24.
The practice has not yet decided how to notify patients, but it is likely that they will receive a text or email from mid-November.
Registrars (doctors training to be GPs)
Dr Maryam Ali, Dr Lisa-Jane Edwards have recently started as registrars at the practice.
Pharmacy team at the practice
Amara (clinical pharmacist) will be returning from maternity leave soon. Along with Fenti (the pharmacy technician) they provide information on new medication, medication changes and chronic disease management such as diabetic reviews.
It was suggested that they be invited to talk at the next PPG meeting.
As there are going to be several changes in doctors, and the days that they work, the group asked if this information could be updated on the practice website. Elaine also agreed to circulate a list of which doctors work on which days and circulate to the group.
5. Ellie Evans: Physician Associate
Ellie works at the practice 4 days per week (not Wednesdays).
She has a dual role – (1) to support the duty doctor and (2) to support reviews of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Diabetes.
Duty Doctor Support
The duty doctor will review the list of patients and Ellie will contact some patients. She may ask them to come into the surgery and can also order blood tests and other tests such as an ECG.
Chronic Disease Management
Ellie will undertake the regular reviews for patients with COPD and diabetes. These appointments are face to face. Diabetes checks are in two parts – the first part is face to face (foot check, blood tests) and the second part to discuss the results and offer advice on lifestyle changes will usually be on the telephone.
Diabetic checks are done in liaison with Alex the Diabetic Nurse (works on Thursdays).
The Physician Associate training is a 2 year postgraduate course. They cannot prescribe or order x-rays. The training is different to doctors and nurses. Professional regulation is still to be sorted.
Can a patient make a direct appointment with you?
There are a few booked appointments (for the COPD/Diabetes reviews) but otherwise you cannot book directly to see Ellie.
For urgent issues the Duty Doctor will decide who Ellie should see.
Dr Walker mentioned the new Doctor Apprentice roles, which she felt very cautious about. No-one on the group had heard about them. The link to the official website about these roles is here:
6. Botley Road Closure
Although no-one at the meeting had issues with accessing health care, or the surgery, due to the Botley Road closure Dr Walker reported that there are a number of issues which are of concern to them.
- Local taxis have increased their costs and are charging £50 for a round trip to the practice.
- Patients are saying that the do not want a hospital referral because of the difficulties and expense of getting there.
- Travel time between Jericho and Botley, especially in the rush hour takes about an hour.
It was also noted that if the proposed bus gates are introduced once the Botley Road works have been completed the situation is unlikely to improve.
It was agreed that we should write a letter to our local City Councillor, Louise Upton, to say how concerned we are about the effects on access to health services.
7. Woodstock Road Pharmacy
It was agreed that the new owners of the Woodstock Road pharmacy have a hard act to follow. The group’s experience so far is that they are providing a good service. They are good at chasing down scarce medications (see below) and providing dosette boxes (which not all pharmacies will do). They are taking a more commercial approach to the business and will be providing additional services in their new consulting rooms.
Elaine reported that they will be installing a dispensing robot (Alfred) in the basement – it will cover the entire length of the building and will have 2 picking arms for medication. They will consider showing it to visitors – after the end of January 2024.
8. Any Other Business
Medication supply issues: The practice now asks patients to allow 3 days for repeat prescriptions rather than the previous 2 days. This is partially due to the national shortage of several common medications. The pharmacy may have to contact several suppliers or wait longer to receive their ‘quota’.
There are a number of medications which are in short, or fluctuating supply. These include:
- ADHD medication
- Diabetic medication – Ozempic which is unavailable until some time in mid-late 2024
Although inconvenient if you are trying to get hold of one of these medications that are in short supply you could try and phone around local pharmacies to find out who has a supply.
Words of praise: everyone offered their thanks to Dr Walker and best wishes for her partial retirement.
9. Date of next meeting
To be agreed.
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