About the Patient Participation Group




Our Patient Participation Group (PPG) was set up in 2015. We aim to meet 4 times a year (every 3 months)

Meetings have been held at the Ash Surgery, usually on a Wednesday evening.

We have recently agreed to trial some PPG meetings where we will combine with our colleagues in Sandwich. The meeting in March 2018 will be a joint meeting.

PPG Image

We felt a combined meeting would be a good idea as many of the local commissioning decisions are now based on so-called “Town Teams”. In the Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCCCG) we (at Ash) are combined with the Sandwich Practices. Hence there are an increasing number of meetings, projects and commissioning decisions that are made on this Town Team basis. We are looking forward to working together in this way, to develop more locally responsive services for our residents.

When these occasional meetings are based in Sandwich, there will be transport from the surgery at Ash, if this is required..


What you can do as a member of P.P.G

  • Help the practice to better understand the views of patients and service users regarding their healthcare needs and desires for future development.
  • Give feedback to the healthcare workers about the services offered
  • Encourage partnership working between the healthcare team and residents to improve health and well-being.
  • Contribute to discussions around access to health care and health issues, both general and specific.
  • Help build relationships between patients/ users and healthcare staff
  • Offer patients and users of the services more direct involvement in their healthcare.
  • Help the practice demonstrate their commitment to patient involvement.

All patients are welcome to join the PPG meetings. If attending the meetings is problematic, then we would be delighted to hear from this group in order to develop other options for contributing. This may well take the form of so-called “virtual” membership, where minutes of the meetings might be sent/ emailed to the member, and that member feedback by mail/ email any comments or suggestions.

Our aim is to develop a committee of members of the PPG who will take a leading role in working with the patients/ users of services and practice team and may act as a point of contact for those finding it hard to attend.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Ash PPG, then please fill out:


Aims and Guidelines of Ash PPG

The Patient Participation Group (PPG) has been set up in order to give a voice to the service users- the patients and their carers-of The Surgery, Ash. Working collaboratively with the healthcare workers at the surgery, it is hoped that this will ultimately ensure a better, more efficient service which is responsive to local needs.
The aim is that the group should comprise the following

  • Patients, their carers or representatives attending or contributing to meetings via mail or email
  • A PPG committee- a group of not more than 5 patients. Ideally this should represent a broad cross section of our local population.
  • Virtual PPG-we aim to work on a virtual group- for those who may find it difficult to access meetings for any reason. Communication could be maintained by mail/ email and feedback to the PPG committee
  • Feedback, in the form of published agendas and minutes to the meeting- to be prepared and available on our surgery website.


  1. To help patients / users feel more involved in their healthcare
  2. To demonstrate the Practice's commitment to patients
  3. To encourage patients & users to work in partnership with the primary healthcare team to improve health and well-being
  4. To help in building good working relationships between patients and staff with clear expectation of rights and responsibilities on both sides
  5. To provide feedback to healthcare professionals and members of staff on services and developments
  6. To assist in finding out  the views of patients & users about their healthcare needs and future developments
  7. Patient Surveys:-To agree with the Practice issues of priority to be included in the annual survey, and to discuss findings and agree any actions to be taken
  8. To contribute towards planning of primary healthcare services 
  9. To promote and encourage discussion about health issues
  10. To promote patient education

Guidelines for Meetings

What can be discussed at meetings?

  • Healthcare issues 
  • Constructive comments are welcomed
  • Ideas are encouraged
  • General problems can be aired

At meetings it is not OK to discuss:

  • Named persons (patients, doctors or any members of staff)
  • Individual personal complaints (these should always be directed through the complaints procedure to the Medical Practice)
  • Confidentiality – Issues discussed at a meeting and agreed as confidential are not for discussion outside the meeting. 
  • Written records of the meetings will be kept


Minutes of the PPG Meeting

Tuesday 6th December 2022 - 3:30 p.m.


SS opened the meeting by welcoming everyone followed by an introduction to the meeting from each member present. 

Sharing Contact Details - One of the PPG members has asked whether the rest of the members would be happy sharing their email addresses with each other.  One or two voiced concerns about this and it was generally seen as unnecessary.

SS took the opportunity to remind those present that the PPG is a group that should not be led by a representative from the surgery but should be just the PPG and they should appoint a Chair and Secretary.  The Surgery are happy to deal with the admin side of things.

There are concerns as meetings seem to take place every 6 months and general opinion was that this is too far apart as a lot can change within this time.

There was a query on how long the PPG had actually been running as it was running when Dr A was still here and are there any minutes anywhere (JLC has since found minutes on the computer dating back to 2015) Which led on to the article/newsletter Dr A used to do for the parish magazine and it would be nice to start to do something like that again.  Maybe not as long winded as Dr A used to do but perhaps brief bullet points keeping people up to date on news from the surgery.  Which could also be placed in Boots, Staple Parish Magazine and on notice boards etc.

Fix date Meetings It was suggested we have quarterly meetings and we diary the dates today so everyone knows when they are well ahead of time, the dates are:-

                Wednesday 25th January 2023

                Wednesday 26th April 2023

                Wednesday 26th July 2023

                Wednesday 25th October 2023

All the meetings to start at 3:30 p.m. and to take place in the meeting room at the Surgery

Minutes from Previous Meeting - There were no minutes from the previous meeting due to the fact it was more of a chance for Dr Fox to meet the PPG members

Telephone/Appointment Issues – SS took the opportunity to clear up any confusion about telephone issues and problems with booking appointments.

SS has dumped the telephone provider we have been using, she refused to pay the bill and has switched to a new provider with whom she is currently setting up a new telephone system.

On a Monday morning, there are around 400 calls that we are receiving so it is impossible to answer them all, we only have two receptionists answering calls, and the used to be able to deal with other things but now the phone calls are relentless and unfortunately, we do not have to capacity to increase reception staff space wise. 

Every morning when RS our Paramedic Practitioner is in patients can book online or via the telephone a triage slot, which RS will then work though allocating each patient to the appropriate type of appointment be it a Face to Face appointment, and appointment with the Nurse or a Telephone Consultation.  RS has up to 25/30 on his triage list alongside his normal a.m. and p.m. clinics.  A member of Reception or Admin will then call each patient and advise the patient of this.   Any face-to-face appointments have to go through triage first.  Anything that needs a visual consultation will be seen face to face, if photos are unavailable, although patients are not asked to send photos of genital areas.

Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays we now have locum GP’s which gives us more appointments. 

We are trying to formulate a plan to deal with our frequent attenders to book appointments for them in the future.

We can now book telephone consultations with a community pharmacist and some pharmacists can now prescribe, unfortunately this does not include Dario from Ash Boots, although sadly he is leaving shortly anyway.  This is very much a pilot system at the moment.

We are trying to encourage the receptionists to not say call again tomorrow and keep an overflow list that can then be triaged by RS or Duty Doctor when the receptionist gets a chance to speak to them, they may get booked into another available slot on another day.  We will ALWAYS see under 5’s on the day

Pre-bookable appointments are booking 6 weeks in advance at the moment

Reception is open from 8:00 each day for telephone calls but 7:30 each day for people to be able to walk in to book an appointment. 

If a call were to come through at 5:30 p.m. we would pre-book that caller on the triage list for the next day if it is urgent or advise them to submit an E-Consultant via our website from which the patient would get a call back within 48 hours. 

78% of our patients have online access so should be able to access our website to request an E-Consult

Any Elderly or frail patients or who have been shielding during Covid were given SS's direct line number for them to be able to contact her for anything they need.  And SS carries out weekly frailty/vulnerability checks on patients who fall into this category.  Although this system is not completely failsafe as one of the PPG members wasn’t contacted.

The Surgery has also employed a new Practice Nurse to work alongside CW our current Practice Nurse to help with the frailty safety netting. 

SS showed the group how to locate the E-Consults on the surgery website – log onto www.ashsurgery.nhs.uk – from the home page click on Contact Us


Click on contact us via E-Consult


Select the option relevant to you:-


Then follow the instructions from there

There was still some concern, as you don’t just have to be old/sick to be computer illiterate. 

SS – Friends and family can do an E-Consult for patients who can’t operate a computer. 

Perhaps a computer literacy question can be added to the repeat prescription request and the registration questionnaires.

From the information on the Friends and Family feedback form E-Consults are proving to be very popular and convenient for a lot of working age people – There is a monthly spreadsheet in the lobby of the Friends and Family results (good or bad)

NHS digital date shows that we are back to seeing 78% of people face to face each day

We are trying to find new ways of improving access and desperately trying to get back to the pre-pandemic system so people can prebook more appointments. 

No one wants to work in general practice any more numbers have dropped by 35%, it doesn’t help with the lack of support from NHS England and the fact the media are ripping us to shreds.  GP surgeries are standalone businesses who provide a service to the NHS and NHS England don’t appear to want that they want Super Surgeries.  The few surgeries that have been taken over by independent companies are now just run for profit. 

The rumours circulating round are not true – we are not shutting or merging with anyone.  And we are desperately looking for another GP

Strep-A – unfortunately it would appear that for the most part the news is telling people to look out for the symptoms without actually listing what the symptoms are!  Unfortunately the Surgery had to admit a child yesterday by ambulance with suspected symptoms.  Unfortunately, people’s immune systems are very low due to Covid.

Improving the Image of Ash Surgery – The newsletter has been approved today, which will be put on the surgery website, available as a flyer and on social media and in the parish magazine for Ash and Staple.

If the surgery has missed putting any news in the monthly newsletter, we will email the PPG members

Unfortunately, the demand from everyone is through the roof.  Patient care is at the centre of everything we do and the staff are dedicated and hard working.  It is not fair on them all the complaints and moans that are being published on social media                         

Ash Surgery Facebook page is not managed by the surgery itself, it is managed by Thanet CIC and is for information only.

We have a Lifestyle Advisor who advises patients on weight/smoking/diabetes and alcohol management and she would like to start a lifestyle group, a 12-week intervention, starting with one group at a time.  12% of our patients are on the obese register.  Hazel Lander is part of the village walking group which would like to get involved with this and the village vegetable patch/garden group.

Another service we offer is our own Physiotherapist, Asim Ishaque – he can also do steroid injections.  As a First Contact Physiotherapist he can assess patients and send them for investigations or refer them on for a course of physiotherapy.  He is also just completing his training to be able to administer ultrasound-guided injections.  Because he is employed by the PCN if we can’t book a patient in with him here at Ash Surgery, we can book them in to see him at one of the other surgeries in the PCN.  Patient can also self-refer to him, and reception staff can also triage to him. 

Any Other Business

A suggestion was made that the reception staff should have name badges so patients can see who they are, the name tags on the lanyards can’t be seen when the staff are sitting down. 

The weather boarding on the outside of the surgery needs a clean.

The garden is a huge improvement.

There is a problem referring people to the hospital vaccine clinic for their Covid vaccines if they have allergies, they have to be referred to the allergy clinic first which is based at Kings College Hospital or Guys Hospital, both of which are in London and there is a 360 day waiting list for this service.  The patients we have referred to this vaccine clinic will be written to and advised of this. 

There are now bi-monthly clinics for the Covid vaccine at Minster Surgery, these need to booked on the National Booking Site.

There are discussions being made within the Thanet PCN about the possibility of buying the Saga site and having it as a clinical hub and an acute appointment service.

There have been discussions between a member of the PPG and Dr Fox about a volunteer patient transport service.  Further research and discussion with Dr Fox needed about this, and it may be worth getting in touch with Lions in the volunteer service in Thanet and the Round Table for more information about DBS checks and car insurance etc. 

SS was able to clarify that we have not seen any funding from these new building sites.  Also 75% of the properties have to be sold before this scheme would take place.

We are still taking on new patients despite only having two doctors, there is no cap any more. 

It will be 7/8 years before we see any of the new GP’s from the new Canterbury Training School. 

We have just received our licence to employ overseas GP’s but even if they do come to the UK to work, they will still have to take their UK exams before they can work with us.

We have just employed a new Practice Nurse on a Thursday and Friday to do the frailty work, she is new to the practice pathway as a practice nurse but is looking to do advanced training to become a prescriber.  CW our Practice Nurse is also training to become a triage nurse.


Date and Time of Next Meeting  - Wednesday 25th January 2023 at 3:30 p.m.