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PPG News from the 
Rural Alliance Primary Care Network

Minutes of PPG Chair meeting 15th December 2021 Virtual

Present: Julie Johnson, Caroline Stein, Paul Bujac, Denise Chilton, Anna Harrison, Neil Timperley

Apologies: None

Update from RA PCN Meeting 14th December 2021

Dr Alistair Adey reported on 2 major topics.

  • Covid. Countess of Chester Hospital (COCH) were already cancelling routine operations due to expected demand from omicron variant. RA Practices have been asked to administer booster vaccinations with a target of some 500/week across the PCN. Initially 4 out of the 6 RA practices agreed to opt back into the vaccination programme but once the rules changed that the 15 min wait time after vaccination has been removed the other 2 practices have also agreed to opt back in.

  • The lead practice will be Bunbury, the biggest building, they will receive the vaccines for the whole RA. The vaccines must be refrigerated according to the guidelines and used within 30 days. Individual practices will collect the vaccines from Bunbury. Once the vaccine has arrived patients will be contacted and communications circulated in the normal way, patient will then to book on to the practice clinics which will run from the medical centres. 

  • This additional demand on resources would result in postponing appointments for minor problems.

  • Care homes and house bound will be vaccinated by Remedy separately.

  • Tarporley War Memorial Hospital. The COCH will take responsibility for running Tarporley Hospital from 1st January. Although there will no longer be any inpatient facilities, several plans were in place to use the Hospital for a range of support services including providing office accommodation. Discussions were continuing with the PCN to continue and develop services, such as extended hours and out of hours clinics, wound dressings, minor surgery etc. The Hospital will become a rural hub for the Cheshire West Integrated Care Partnership Rapid Response and Hospital at Home teams (CWICP) and perhaps for the social prescribing teams. The changes to the Hospital were seen positively as an opportunity to develop local services.


PPG update

I reported briefly on the difficulties the PPGs had in collaborating with members, and in particular how PPGs felt even more isolated from the patients, due to the Covid restrictions. I also asked Dr Adey for his view on the recent patient survey of his Practice.

Denise reported that the Village practices are meeting virtually monthly and providing a regular newsletter containing education and information. They are hosting a “happy to chat bench” event with mulled wine and mince pies. It was acknowledged that outreach is difficult but they are hoping to use the practice notice boards in the new year.

Neil reported that Bunbury has a regular article in the Link local magazine and has requested new members to come forward.  They are discussing a canopy over the outside hatch to the pharmacy to protect patients from inclement weather. Align, part of the PPG,  which helps villagers with loneliness has been meeting up in the pub.


Healthwatch update

Grace Owen, a new recruit to Healthwatch, reported on major projects. These were:

  • A ‘health check’ on the 85 Practice websites within Cheshire. This would examine consistency and help Practices to reduce administrative work maintaining the sites. They will feedback to the practices with constructive comments and recommendations to improve the individual practice websites.

  • Promoting Healthwatch and ‘helping people make the right choice’ campaign across Cheshire. The promotions ‘van’ had visited 5 sites within the RA PCN area and interviewed some 50 people.

  • Caroline reported that through the care community with Grace they have been looking at the Healthwatch report on reasons for attendance at A&E departments in Cheshire.  The reading of the report was a revelation.  Some of the reasons given were ridiculous. The solution is education around choosing the right service for your problem.  I have enclosed a flyer which we could all use.


CWP update

Emma Lea reported that staff shortages and recruiting replacements, particularly suitably qualified and trained staff, were becoming an issue. The CWP were moving to new premises in January.  Recruitment across the whole patch is a problem at present.  Kelsall have asked CWP to help if they have any HCA CVs they are not pursuing.

Project update

Key points included:

  • With the exception of Malpas, all Practices now had a pharmacist with mentoring in place for the new staff.  They are advertising to fill this vacancy.

  • Social Prescribing resources are to be based within the RA PCN area.

  • First Contact Physiotherapy has a new additional physio, based in Bunbury for 1 day/week, and available for all Practices.

  • Progress with Cancer QI (quality improvement) was continuing. These are enhanced services including:

Early diagnosis

Safety net for 2-week cancer referrals

Shared learning around certain cancer types

Training for non-clinical cancer champions, this has be limited by funding changes.



This will be in February on a Tuesday afternoon. Julie will circulate the actual date.  Paul is standing down after several meetings.  Thanks to Paul for his excellent updates.  One of the Chairs will agree to represent us all once we know the date.

Care Community

The Chairs would prefer an update from Caroline and Julie rather than all the documents being sent out to all.  CS and JJ will feed this back to AW.

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