Patient Participation Group

Glebe House Patient Group is a forum for patients to discuss the services provided at Glebe House Surgery and to offer suggestions to the Partners and management at the surgery on how the services can be improved.

The group welcome new members, particularly those under 40 and/or who have a connection to patients living in one of the nursing homes or residential homes served by the practice as these groups are currently under represented. If you would like further details on how to join or contact the group, please contact the surgery on 01677 422616 and ask to speak to the Practice Manager, Diane Buckingham.

In 2014/15 the group identified a number of issues for consideration which, after discussion with the partners, were prioritised into three action points. The final report and action plan can be viewed on the following links:

Previous years survey results can be viewed by clicking on the following links:

The report and Action Plan follow:

Patient Group Report and Action Plan, 2014

The Glebe House Patient Group was instigated as a response to the practice signing up to the Patient Participation Group Direct Enhanced Service (DES) in the autumn of 2011.

The group was recruited by several methods including notices in the surgery, an invitation message on the Jayex board, direct invitation or recommendation by staff and partners at Glebe House, a short piece in the Darlington and Stockton Times, by written request for a representative from local town and parish councils, an advertisement in a Bedale newsagents and via NHS Choices and the practice websites.

Patients were invited to either put themselves forward for the group or, for those not wishing to attend meetings, to add their email addresses to a list of interested patients who would then get copies of notes and reports from meetings as a sort of “virtual” Patient Group. The only stipulation for joining the group was that the member should be a patient at the surgery.

The group met regularly throughout 2011, 2012 and 2013 conducting an annual patient survey and publishing an Action Plan for improvements each year. By February 2014, following the withdrawal of some original members and the recruitment of some new members, the group had 24 members with a further four who had expressed an interest in receiving emails but not attending meetings. The group remain aware of the need to be representative of the patient list as a whole and are actively pursuing recruitment of younger members and a representative of the nursing/residential homes served by the practice.

In the Autumn of 2013 the group decided to hold a third patient survey using the exact same survey questions as previously in order to draw comparisons with the 2011/12 and 2012/13 surveys. As in 2012, due to increased postage costs it was agreed that a reduced number of surveys would be posted out to randomly selected patients and that stamped addressed reply envelopes would not be included. This resulted in a similar response to the 2011/12 survey.  

As per the previous years the group agreed to the GPAQ survey questions and added 8 practice specific questions that resulted from a brain storming session on issues relevant to the practice. The brainstorming session was initiated by a review of patient suggestions and complaints received over the past four years to identify patterns of concern.

The survey was conducted in October, November and December 2013, with a closing date for replies of 20th December 2013. 200 surveys were distributed by post to randomly selected patients (utilising the records recorded on the practice clinical system), and 200 were distributed to patients attending the surgery. As per previous years a member of the practice staff who is also a PPG member prepared the questionnaires and placed them in envelopes in order to conform to patient confidentiality issues.

Group members attended the surgery in early January 2014 to mark and collate the survey responses. A further meeting took place on 6thFebruary to collate all the written comments that had been made on the survey.

Survey results and comments were then presented to the whole group at a meeting on Monday 10th February 2014 for discussion. A draft Action Plan was then compiled for further discussion at the next meeting on Thursday 27th February 2014. This draft Action Plan was amended and approved at the February meeting and was presented to the Glebe House Partners at a Partnership meeting on Monday 10th March 2014. The partners added comments to the draft plan and these were forwarded to all group members by email for final comments before publication.

The results of the survey and comparisons with the previous surveys can be found in the Action Plan and Report published on the practice website at

The Issues Identified for Inclusion in the 2013/14 Action Plan are as Follows:

  • Disabled Car Parking: In 2013/14 61% rated the disabled car parking as Good or better with 12% rating it as poor or very poor. No respondent specifically mentioned the disable parking in the comments section but it is well known from the previous year’s surveys that additional disabled spaces would be welcomed. In 2012 it was noted that consideration should be given to increasing the size of the disabled car park to allow for an additional third space and that the spaces should be the regulation width for a disabled car parking space. This has subsequently not proved possible due to concerns relating to possible future flooding if the current disabled parking bays are extended. In 2013,following further investigations regarding the possibility of improving the soakaways to allow for further hard standing to be installed on the grass areas adjacent to the disabled car parking, the opinion of the groundworks contractor was that the costs of increasing the capacity of the soakaways would be prohibitive and this work may not indeed improve the situation to a great degree. It is therefore proposed that the disabled car parking will remain as is for the immediate future.
  • Localised Flooding: It was suggested that if improvements to the soakaways was not possible, the surgery should consider purchasing a small petrol driven pump to be used to clear the flooding that occurs when the gullies cannot cope during heavy rainfall.
  • Patient Car Park: In 2012 only 25% of responses rated the car parking as adequate with 75% rating too few places to park. In 2013 37% rated the car parking as Good or better with a further 38% rating it as Fair. 25% rated it as Poor or Very Poor.  

As a Result of the Recommendations Made in the 2012 Survey the Following Initiatives Were Taken:

  •   Signs requesting parents not to use the patient car parking for dropping-off or collecting children from school were erected in both patient car parks. These signs would appear to have improved the situation as complaints about parents using the doctors car park at school times have almost disappeared in 2013.
  • A letter was sent from the Chair to the school requesting that they inform parents that the surgery car park is for patients and staff at the surgery. The school did action this request.

As it was Unlikely That Major Funding Would be Found to Develop the car Parking the Following Proposal was Made:

  •   Increasing staff car parking by laying protection mesh on the area adjacent to the ambulance bay. This work was completed in the summer of 2013 and up to four members of staff can now park on this area increasing the availability of spaces for patients in the patient car park. 
  • Egress onto Firby Road: A comment in 2012 about the tree on Firby Road blocking vision when exiting the surgery had highlighted a possible Health & Safety issue. A similar comment was included in the responses of the 2013 survey. The Chair contacted Bedale Council over this matter in 2012 and despite several follow-up emails regarding this topic in 2013 the tree, and the hazard that it presents, remains. A suggestion was made that a sign should be erected at the exit onto Firby Road warning of the hazard.
  • Waiting Room: The 2012 survey had highlighted that the waiting room can be quite unwelcoming when large numbers of patients are either sat in silence or if some patients are engaged in loud conversation. A TV showing a news channel with subtitles was considered in the waiting area along with the possibility of installing a radio. The partners rejected the idea of a TV but installed a radio once all relevant licences had been obtained. The licences have been renewed as at first there was mixed reaction to the radio, but after a year it would appear that most patients have now accepted it as part of the waiting room experience. Consideration to be given to reviewing the information on the waiting room walls and removing material. Consideration to be given to installing fans in the waiting room.

  • Online Appointment Booking/Online Prescription Ordering: The 2012 survey had suggested that more use of this service could help to free up telephone lines. The 2014 survey showed that although more respondents were using online services, this is still only used by a small percentage of patients. It was agreed to continue to promote these services via the patient leaflet, in surgery, via the practice website and by word of mouth.
  • Consultation Waiting Times: Can anything be done to reduce the length of time people have to wait when attending an appointment? In 2012 94% rated the time they had to wait as being fair to excellent. In 2013 this had dropped to 90%, still a significantly high percentage. In 2014 this rose to 92%. The Partners are happy with the satisfaction score for waiting times.
  • Opening Times: In 2012 93% of respondents said that the current opening times are convenient for them. In 2013 this rose to 95.5% and dropped back to 93% in 2014. In 2014, of the 7% who were not happy with current opening times, 18% would like the surgery to offer appointments after 6.30pm (we already do this for 3 sessions per week) and 31% would like the surgery to be open on a Saturday, with 14% preferring Sunday opening. As per previous year, there are no plans to alter the extended hours sessions to include weekend openings. We will continue with the evening sessions for the next year if the enhanced service funding is maintained.
  • Practice Website: Although 89% of the 2012 responses indicated that the website was good, very good or excellent, and the remainder felt that it was fair, only 58 out of 256 had looked at it. In 2013, 25 of the 87 respondents had looked at the site and 92% rated it as good or better. In 2014, 38 of the 132 respondents had looked at the site, and of these 85% thought the site good or better, with 12 % fair. The slight rise in percentages of respondents looking at the site is encouraging but the 3% who rated the site as very poor (one respondent) is disappointing. 

  • Appointment Booking by Telephone: The 2013 survey included 5 comments from respondents about the difficulty of booking appointments by telephone, especially when the surgery lines open at 8.30am. The Practice is aware that it can be very frustrating for patients who have to try several times to get through on the telephone at busy times. For this reason patients are encouraged to use the online appointment booking system and to not call the surgery for routine matters such as prescription ordering and test results until after 10am. In 2013 it was agreed that Dr Mezas and the Deputy Practice Manager were to undertake a review of the appointment system and to make recommendations for improvements to the Partners. This did not take place as the surgery changed the clinical computer system and it was felt that it would take time to get used to the new system. The system was installed in December 2013 and the potential of the new system for offering changes to the appointment system are still not fully known. The review will therefore take place once the staff are fully familiar with the system.
  • Removal of traffic island: In the 2013 survey three respondents suggested that consideration should be given to the removal of the traffic island near to the front entrance. The traffic island was deliberately installed where it is in order to ensure that cars driving near the surgery entrance slow down to a walking pace. However, the tree in the centre of the island has grown substantially since it was first planted and in the Autumn of 2013 the lower branches were heavily pruned to increase visibility as per the recommendations of the PPG in early 2013. 

The Action Plan was published on the practice website on Wednesday 19th March 2014.

The practice continues to be open to patients on weekdays from 8.00 – 18.30 (the emergency line is open at 8am) with one or two doctors offering extended hours two evenings per week from 18.30 – 20.00, normally Mondays and Thursdays (a total of 4.5 hours per week extended time). On occasions the extended hours take place on other weekday evenings or on a Saturday. Full details of exact opening times are advertised on the surgery website.

Appointments can be made in person, by using the telephone on 01677 422616, or by using the online booking service. For more details of the different ways of accessing the services provided by the practice, ask at reception. The Patient Group has also published an information leaflet including how to book an appointment and how to order repeat prescriptions. This is available free from the surgery.

Outside of our core surgery hours, patients are advised to ring the NHS 111 Service for medical advice.

Glebe House Patient Group

March 2014.

Patient Group Action Plan, 2014

(Incorporating a review of the 2013 Action Plan)

Download Copies of the Report

To download copies of the report and action plan, please click here: