PPG Minutes - July 2023




Attendance: Nick Christou (Acting Practice Manager), Malcolm Alexander (Chair), Batya Beverley-Wiles, Yitzchok Silkin, Hector Miller–Bakewell, Dorina Campbell, Peter Barker, plus four other members.


1. Retirement of Sue Shepherd

a) Sue has retired as Practice Manager.     

Agreed to place a card in the waiting room for patients to sign and send personal messages to Sue. Reception staff will be asked to tell patients about the card and ask them to sign. Also suggest that text messages are sent to patients informing them of Sue’s retirement and about the thankyou card. 

b) Noted that Nick Christou will take over as Acting Practice Manager. 


2. Improvements to the Practice 

a) Sheila Connellan from Hurley is leading on the development of the practice. 

A bid was put to NHS England for funding, and they have agreed to provide 2/3 of the funding. The remaining 1/3 will be paid by Hurley. The upgrading will provide more consulting rooms on the first floor, a lift to the first floor and upgrading of a consulting room on the ground floor. The next stage will be to hire a contractor to quote for the works and then to carry out the improvements.

b) PPG members asked if the changes would lead to more GPs and other staff being available for patients?

A request was also made for more detailed information about the changes, e.g. in a newsletter format.

c) Nick said the practice was struggling for space, and that there are a number of new staff in a range of specialities who provide patient care and treatment.

This includes physiotherapists, social prescribers, pharmacists and nurses. The practice is also looking to get more GPs.

d) At the next meeting of the PPG a more detailed update will be provided.


3. Access to Confidential Patient Information by PKB – Patients Know Best

a) Malcolm described receiving two messages from an organisation called PKB, which said they had access to his medical history and were working in collaboration with the Allerton Medical Centre. The actual statements used were: 

“Welcome Malcolm Alexander to the PKB portal for Allerton Road Medical Centre”.

“Dear Malcolm, Allerton Road Surgery has connected your Patients Know Best (PKB) record to a new team that is or has been working with you. The team’s name is Patient Records Team”. 

b) Malcolm explained that he had received two emails claiming that PKB has access to his medical records and is working in collaboration with the Allerton Road Medical Centre.

Nick Christou confirmed that the Allerton Road Practice were not working in collaboration with the PKB. 

c) Malcolm said he believes this is a scam, as he has never heard of PKB before and has never given consent for them to access his medical records.

He intends to complain to the CQC and to the NHS North East London. He confirmed that he had never given consent for PKB to access his medical records. Nobody else in the meeting had been contacted by PKB. 

d) Nick Christou has obtained information about PKB which is attached.

He said that the NHS in North East London has commissioned this service and that a five-year contract is in place with PKB. He also identified the managers running PKB, who are Martin Wallace and Dan Burningham. They are leading the roll out of PKB.


5. Meeting with Physiotherapist – Rebecca East

a) Rebecca said that her speciality is ‘locomotor’ which means that she specialises in assessing pain, supporting and advising patients with joint pain.

She said there are 38 physios in the Homerton Healthcare team, and some are working with GP practices. Patients are able to access this service without first seeing a GP. This results in quicker access and faster healing, which can be a great help for patients with back pain and other muscle and bones conditions. One of Rebecca’s main aims is to get the patient to adopt an active lifestyle. 

b) Access to Rebecca is through the reception team or online.

If Rebecca feels that the patient’s condition is not appropriate for her service, she can refer to a GP. She also works with the practice pharmacists and social prescribers, who can assist with non-medical problems that affect peoples’ health, and with local care homes. 


6. Patient Choice in effective communications from Allerton – opting in and out

Batya raised her concerns about the Choose and Book system for booking medical appointments. An appointment can be booked using NHS e-Referral if the patient has been referred to a specialist through the NHS e-Referral Service. The NHS claims that booking appointments online is easy, safe and secure. The on-line system requires the patient to have a booking reference number and a password or access code. She also raised concerns about the use of text messaging. 

Batya expressed concerns that people without smart phones find the Choose and Book system difficult to use. In some cases the practice may text a link to the patients to use if they have a smart phone or access to a computer. The links can be 26 characters long and therefore difficult to transfer or access. 

She also said that despite calling the system ‘Choose and Book’ that very often there is only one choice of service offered. She also asked why patients can’t use their basic phone to locate an appointment. 

Nick replied that reception staff can book appointments for patients, but not for blood tests if they are being carried out at John Scott HC or the Homerton. Regarding texting, Nick said that the practice uses texting to remind patients of medical appointments, vaccinations, need for blood tests, meetings of the PPG and access to medical records. 


7. Questions to Nick Christou, Acting Practice Manager

a)  Extended service in the Neighbourhood. What additional services are available to patients and how do we get access?

We have extended service every day through Woodberry Wetland PCN, which can be accessed by patients calling Allerton Road Surgery. 

The services that are available: 

  1. GP Face to Face & telephone 
  2. Nurse Face to Face & telephone 
  3. Dressings 
  4. Pharmacist by telephone 
  5. Physician Assistant 

 PCN = Primary Care Network – a combination of Allerton, Statham Grove Practices and two practices at the John Scott Health Centre. 

b) Weekend appointments – availability? 

Extended services available on Saturdays (9.00-13.00 or 13.00-17.00) are provided either by a nurse or HCA – Healthcare Assistant

  • Health checks 
  • Blood tests (forms must be collected by patients from their practice and taken with them to their appointment)  
  • New patient health checks  
  • Diabetic reviews (part one) - This is a new service that can be provided on a Saturday, to help to free up appointments during the week. 
  • Dressings 
  • Weight management 

c) Access to advocacy services for patients who wish to raise issues or concerns.

Independent Complaint Advocacy Service (ICAS)

Rethink Advocacy can help and advise Hackney residents who wish to make a complaint about any health and care services. Their aim is to support both people who are confident to speak up for themselves with support or to represent their views for them when they cannot.

In Hackney they provide the following services:

  • Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)
  • Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)
  • Independent Care Act Advocacy (ICAA)
  • Independent Health Complaints Advocacy Service (IHCAS)
  • Non-statutory Advocacy (including alternative types of advocacy such as peer advocacy, citizen advocacy, group advocacy and self-advocacy)
  • Tel: 0300 790 0559
  • Email: hackneyadvocacy@rethink.org
  • Visit the Rethink Mental Illness website

If you have difficulties in contacting any of the organisations above, or would like to share your experiences of any health and care services, please contact Healthwatch Hackney on 020 396 0754 or email info@healthwatchhackney.co.uk. Healthwatch Hackney 1st Floor, Block A, St Leonard's Hospital, Nuttall St, London N1 5LZ. Telephone : 020 3960 7454

Age UK – may have local advocates. Visit their website or call 0800 055 6112.

Hackney Council can give advice on local advocacy services.