Frequently Asked Questions ... 19 October 2015 ___________________________________________________________________________
The following Questions were raised at the last Patients' Open Meeting at the Practice on 19 October 2015 You can find the Minutes of the Meeting byclicking here ...
There were a number of questions regarding the responsibility of developers (of which there continue to be many in the local area) to provide money for local services, like the SHC, as required by the Community Infrastructure Levy and the Section 106 agreement.
John Hirsh from LOSRA (Lower Sunbury Residents’ Association) provided clarity on this matter: The Community Infrastructure Levy does not need to be used for providing infrastructure in the site from which it is collected; rather it can be used to support any infrastructure project which would otherwise be provided by the council.
The Section 106 agreement must relate to the site itself e.g. the provision of education services, affordable housing or other services for which the Council is responsible. However this does not apply to the provision of health care services which are the responsibility of the NHS not the Council. 4 DG added that this does not however prevent the Council from using the money they receive from these two sources to support developments in SHC and this has been the case by other councils. DG has raised this matter with the Council and is awaiting an answer.
Is the 6.30 am queue going to continue? • DH stated that no one wanted patients to queue at this time and whilst the centre can’t prevent anyone queuing, there are alternatives. • The alternatives available include: - Booking in advance, either on line or when leaving the surgery (if appropriate). - Telephoning for an appointment - the automated telephone service is checked every morning to ensure that it is fully functional. • There are 180/200 slots available everyday – but this is a finite number since there is no space to locate another doctor. Unfortunately approximately 150 of these appointments are ‘wasted’ each week by patients who fail to attend their appointment. • A Duty Doctor is available every week day and s/he will see everyone who needs to be seen that day. • RF noted the concerns and agreed to consider the proportion of appointments that are released on the day versus those bookable in advance. • Not everyone needs to see a doctor and the development of the HCA and changes to the role of some nurses will help increase capacity. • The number of patients registering at SHC continues to increase and unfortunately frequently when patients leave the area they don’t change their doctor and this only adds to the pressure on the Practice. • SHC is not allowed to refuse to register patients; there can be no ‘capping’ of patient numbers. • It is hoped that the proposed portacabin development will provide additional consultancy rooms and, therefore, increase the number of GP/nurse/HCA appointments available each day. • NH reassured the meeting that no one wanted a queue and the ultimate goal for the PPG and SHC was no queue.
Why is the ex-Council property in Vicarage Road not being considered as a possible new site for SHC? DG replied that he is aware of this property and its potential, as is the local MP; however it is NHS England who don’t consider this to be the way forward.
In addition to outsourcing secretarial services have you looked into using email and text messaging? Yes, it is an excellent idea and the financial costs of several systems are being reviewed.
Are you confident that outsourcing is secure? Yes. The company complies with NHS requirements and receives very little information about the patient and they have no access to patient files. Letter writing will remain ‘in-house’ and the Practice is striving to meet a five day turn around, therefore outsourcing will only used when there is a need for additional capacity. Ashford and St Peter’s hospitals also use a similar system. DH added it is the letters for referrals that are the most time consuming and these have ‘exploded’ in number in recent years. NH noted that this new system is in direct response to a query that was raised at the previous Open Meeting (15 June 2015).
Is it possible to fine patients who fail to attend their appointments? No, however certain sanctions can be applied. It is important to consider the patient’s individual circumstances that may have led to them failing to attend their appointment.
Car parking is an issue at SHC; will the proposed new portacabins increase the pressure on the car park? Is it possible to introduce an ‘in/out’ system? The portacabins will not infringe on the space available for car parking since they will be placed on the side of the building. It was agreed that in the long term there does need to be better flow through the car park, unfortunately this is not currently possible. RF added that twice a day a significant number of the car parking spaces are taken up by parents dropping off/ collecting their children from school. This practice has been challenged by members of SHC and they will continue to do so! At the end of this session it was announced that at the next three flu clinics cakes will be sold in aid of the premature and sick baby unit at St George’s Hospital. The following questions were left at the end of the meeting:
Why do our doctors only work part-time? There is a mix of full-time and part-time GPs who sessions are balanced across each week to meet the demands for appointments. An in-depth study was undertaken with the Primary Health Care Foundation in conjunction with the CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) to review the requirement for GP/nursing/HCA appointments.
This highlighted that the nursing and HCA provision should be increased, this has now taken place with the recruitment of additional nurses and developing an HCA internally. Further developments will depend on securing additional room space.
Are those doctors (referred to in the above) paid for part-time hours or are they being paid at the full-time rate? Part-time.
A patient also wished it to be known that he felt the meeting had been well advertised – a notice even being placed in the St Mary’s Church parish newsletter!