Meeting Notes & Minutes




31st March 2022 Via Microsoft Teams

  • 5pm – 6pm with Dr Helen Salisbury and Jon Frank (business manager)


  • Elaine
  • Barbara
  • Diedre
  • Joyce
  • Maggie
  • Kit
  • Shelagh
  • Kathy
  • Trudy
  • Mike

Welcome back!

Elaine welcomed everyone to our first meeting since May last year

Covid updates

Covid has not gone away. It is estimated that 4 million people currently have covid in the UK.

The definition of Clinically Extremely Vulnerable has also changed and now covers a smaller group of patients. These patients should have access to anti-viral treatments if they test positive. They should also have access to an at-home PCR kit to be used if symptomatic. Click here for NHS Guidance

Access to LFT Tests

Free testing and some reporting has now ceased. It looks as though NHS staff will be able to access some free testing, and some tests may be available for care home or social care staff.

Vaccination Clinics

People over 75 are now eligible for a 4th vaccine. The surgery will be running a couple of dedicated vaccine clinics – 6th April and a further one after Easter (date still to be confirmed). If you are eligible you can also go to other places – Boots in Oxford was praised by some at the meeting.

If you have recently had Covid it is recommended that you wait 4 weeks until you get a vaccine.

Waiting times and backlogs for hospital referrals

Appointments at the practice

Dr Salisbury reported that they were doing reasonably well at the moment – waiting times for routine appointments were between 5-10 days.

Hospital referrals

Waiting times for hospital appointments are not good. Dr Salisbury reported booking some first appointments for October (at least 6 months). The situation is awful but understandable – lots of staff absent with Covid and trying to catch up with 2 years of backlog.


Getting to the right balance of Face2Face and telephone consultations

Key points from the conversation:

  • During the pandemic all requests for an appointment have been triaged by telephone first. This was necessary but is inefficient as it is obvious that some patients will need to be seen and it therefore creates more work.
  • The practice has decided to stop this triage and now patients will be able to choose what sort of appointment they want.
  • The anticipation is that there will be more telephone appointments than before the pandemic.
  • If you think you have Covid do not make a face to face appointment.
  • The technology available to the practice is not good enough for video appointments.
  • Video consultations also use lots of data – so could be expensive to patients with data limits on their phones.
  • Photos are useful – the doctor can send a text to you from the medical record and you can send back a photo (for example of a rash). NB – you can’t reply with other messages.
  • There was a suggestion that Guidelines to help patients with choosing the right type of appointment – but Dr Salisbury felt that people would not read them.

eConsult – what is it, have you used it, did you like it?

No-one at the meeting had used eConsult.

  • eConsult is an ‘asynchronous electronic consulting system’ which all practices are required to have.
  • Patients fill in the questionnaires, then GPs review the responses and decide what kind of response/appointment is needed.
  • It favours those who are more technically adept.
  • It can create extra work – has to be looked at by doctors to be sure that nothing serious is missed.
  • For some practices it is used as the only way to contact the practice. It will not be used for this purpose at Observatory Medical Centre.

There was some discussion about how patients without access to smart-phones or computers could get information about appointment systems or vaccination clinics. It was agreed that this is difficult and that they could miss out, especially as the practice does not send out letters anymore (too expensive). They do have contact numbers for relatives/carers of some patients.

Alison mentioned a research project called ‘Remote by Default” which is looking at ways of consultation in general practice. Professor Aileen Clarke has forwarded me the link to this project along with a video about why GPs do not do video consultation.

Practice Update

Leavers – doctors

  • Dr Fiona Boyle and Dr Gerry Clancy have left the practice.

Joiners – doctors

  • Dr Tim Lancaster has returned.
  • Dr Alice Young is now back from maternity leave.
  • Dr Liam Healy has joined as a salaried doctor.
  • There are 2 young doctors at the surgery as part of their post qualification training – Dr Donya Baban and Dr Helen Ray.
  • Dr Heidi Luckhurst is only doing 2 sessions per week before retiring.

New Roles

  • Amara Aziz – Clinical Pharmacist
    • Does medicines reviews for people with long term conditions such as asthma and diabetes
    • Sorts out medicines for patients coming out of hospital on changed/new medications
  • Ellie Evans – Physicians Associate
    • This is a new role. She can examine patients, but not prescribe. She works along-side the duty doctor reviewing the list of patients.
  • Eva – physiotherapist – one day per week.
    • Reviews complex cases and sets up treatment plans.

Provisions for hearing for impaired Patients

The practice, along with the other 4 practices in the Primary Care Network has to undertake a project with a focus on health inequalities.

In the light of the increased number of telephone consultations they have decided to look at how they can improve services for patients with a hearing impairment.

ACTION: Elaine agreed to put the practice in touch with another local PPG Chair who is profoundly deaf who might be able to offer some suggestions about how to approach this project.

Extended Hours

Starting in October all Primary Care Networks (PCNs) will have to provide ‘Enhanced Access’ between 6.30pm & 8pm Monday to Friday and from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays. Our PCN consists of the 2 practices in the Jericho Health Centre, and 27 Beaumont Street, 28 Beaumont Street and King Edward Street. These 3 practices will all be relocating to the new building in Cornmarket Street (next to Boots).

We started a discussion on how, what, and where to do this, and how to get the views of patients.

Key points were:

  • Constrained by the number of doctors and clinical staff – might mean fewer services during daytime hours.
  • Lots of students in our area who have different needs (wants?)
  • Previous experience of late surgeries were that they were just ‘overspill’ patients rather than those who really needed a later appointment.
  • Would there be shared records if you had to be seen at another surgery? (Probably yes)
  • How could we get patient views – from a wider range of people than just those on the PPG?
  • Could PPG members use any community groups they were associated with?
  • The practices would need to be on-board as the PPG has no direct access to patients.
  • A common template questionnaire would need to be developed – and ask the right questions while not raising expectations.

Elaine offered to assist with a survey and data analysis if the practices in the PCN would be interested.

ACTION: Elaine to follow up

Any Other Business

Jon reported that the practice is due to upgrade the practice telephone system. They need to increase IT capacity first so it is likely to be in place by June 2022.

It should have automatic number recognition so that staff will automatically see who is calling.

6pm – 6.30pm with Elaine Cohen

Policy stuff

What’s happening in the health services locally and nationally – Integrated Care Networks, proposed changes to the GP contract

Elaine gave a short presentation on the changes to the organisation of the NHS. It is getting more remote with less patient engagement and more jargon.

There was some further discussion about how to get the views of patients for the extended hours – the points are reflected above.

Date of next meeting to be agreed.