Patient Participation Group Meeting 11/01/2021

Minutes of Pathfields Patient Group Zoom Meeting 11 January 2021


Present   Phil Hart, Bernice Lewin, Helen Baker, Anne and Jeff Morgan, Christine Lewis, Natalie Harrison.

Apologies   Dr Dave Attwood, Len Gaynor, Caroline Sozer, Annie Jenkin, Ursula Brown, Paul Russell. Jenny Thornton


Dr Attwood was unable to attend as he is busy vaccinating patients at our local Care Homes.

We are grateful to Helen who updates us on the Covid Vaccination progress in Pathfields.


At present Pathfields patients over 80 are invited to attend the Pavillions , Millbay Road for their vaccinations.  17 practices across the city ( not Beacon or Plymstock practices who have their own arrangements )  are working together to coordinate the rollout. The Pfizer vaccine is being used there and requires complicated mixing and drawing up into vials.  The staff working in shifts 8am-8pm are all vaccinated and parking is free. There is a requirement to stay for 15 minutes after vaccination.  When regular deliveries are received the centre will hopefully be open 7 days a week.

Patients in the relevant cohorts, at present over 80s, are invited by phone call from the practice. Helen reports that take up has been very high so far.  Further cohorts will be invited by phone call or possibly by text in due course. Currently phone calls are being made from Beaumont Villa to arrange appointments for vaccination.  Members of the group expressed concerns regarding contacting patients who are unwilling to answer telephone calls from private numbers and who may miss the chance to get their appointment.  Members asked Helen to confirm that all patients missing calls would be followed up.  For the elderly next of kin numbers could be contacted.

It was also suggested that the Pathfields website publishes a reminder of the need to ensure the practice number is saved on your phone if possible.

The Care Home Project continues, staff are visiting all care homes to vaccinate the residents. For those patients the practice is using the Astra Zeneca vaccine.  Pathfields hopes to complete the over 80s and care home residents by mid February.

Helen also shared with us the difficulties they face.   Government guidance changes on sometimes a daily basis. This prevents effective forward planning . It is better to wait for a delivery before making appointments. Typically patients get 4 days notice of their appointment and the best way even for those with poor mobility is to get to the Pavillions where wheelchairs are available and if necessary get someone to take you there, this is an essential journey).   Information is available on the Pathfields Website.

Social media informs users that patients should have their NHS number with them to speed up the process. Phone lines to surgeries have been clogged up with patients wanting to know their NHS number. This is available on repeat prescription forms and Practice and Hospital correspondence and on the NHS App when downloaded. Helen told us that she did not have her NHS number with her when vaccinated and it did not hold up the procedure. There is much information on social media which may or may not be correct.

Vaccinating the housebound patients is challenging with restrictions on transporting the vaccines. Pathfields is working on a solution to this problem.


Concerns were expressed about accessing the practice.  eg a patient was sent a text by the practice to get a blood test. Long waits on the telephone were experienced and the only alternative was eConsult. Patients are not able to queue at the surgery nor can any appointments be made online.  Helen reported that phone lines are busy with people asking when they can have their vaccine. It was felt that there is enough publicity on tv newspapers and online to discourage these calls.     HB said 5.30 at the end of the day was a generally a quiet time to access. She checked her system and reported that at 10.30 on 11 January there were currently 13 people holding on.

When listening to the options on the telephone message we are reminded that there is a cancellation option if you no longer need an appointment. Your appointment can be given to someone else .

CL said that her pharmacy enabled her to ring up and order repeat prescriptions though HB said some pharmacies have ceased this practice. There are facilities for online companies to order and deliver your NHS prescriptions to you.

Members were concerned that elderly and often younger patients may not have access to the internet to use eConsult or to order repeat prescriptions and other facilities.  For eConsult patients do not need to be registered for online services.  Patients can go to the website and start an enquiry.

A patient who was recommended a blood test from a Doctor via eConsult reports that she was told to make an appointment at the surgery or turn up at Future Inn Derriford without an appointment where phlebotomy services are now located. She then turned up when they opened at 8am and was dealt with promptly and efficiently as the GP had mailed the information to the phlebotomy service. ( note, you cannot attend unless the GP has contacted them .)

Practice stats for December;

Prescriptions issued  15697       Sick notes  290       Cervical smears 144

Bloods    1294       Medication reviews  2402     Telephone appointments 3529

Online consultations 1486        DNA  581


Members of the group thanked Helen for her time and the information she was able to share with us.  The job of the Patient Group is to ask questions, share ideas and support the Practice on behalf of the patients.

Date of next meeting tba