East Croydon Medical Centre Patient Participation Group - ECMC PPG - II

What is it?

A  PPG is a group of patients, carers and GP practice staff who meet to discuss practice issues and the patient experience to improve the service.


Our second meeting will be by Microsoft Teams Meetings video call (similar to Zoom) and will be the Thurs Jan 13th, 2022 @ 2pm.

How do I participate?

If you would like to be a part of the East Croydon Medical Centre PPG, then please email your interest to SWLCCG.ECMCADMINISTRATION@NHS.NET, under the heading ECMC PPG.  There will be a limited number of seats on the PPG as we hope to be able to host these events face to face again in the near future, but for now due to Covid resrictions, we must continue via videao calls.


Minutes from 2nd PPG Meeting - 13.1.22



Dr Danny McCrea (Senior GP Partner), Huw James (Patient Services Manager), Stacey Boyer (Practice secretary), John Matossian (ERCHC patient), Hetal Jobanputra (ECMC patient), Greg Abbott (ECMC patient), Ram Nair (ECMC patient) and Mira Armour (ECMC patient)


Huw James opened the meeting by thanking Hetal for chairing the meeting and organising the meeting agenda. He also thanked John for agreeing to represent ERCHC.


Covid Vaccination Clinic

The covid vaccination clinic is now on the NHS national booking site.

Dr McCrea stated that attendance at the clinic varies. He advised that the clinic also offers flu vaccinations for all eligible patients.


Croydon Commissioning Group (CCG)

Dr McCrea informed the meeting that the CCG is being disbanded soon and will be replaced with the Integrated Care Network (ICN).


ECMC Building Works

Huw presented photographs of the progress of the building works for the new ECMC surgery. Good progress is being made and the works are expected to be completed by the end of June 2022 and the new building should be open by the beginning of July 2022.

Hetal stated that she is a local resident to ECMC and has been impressed with the speed of the building works.


National Patient Survey Results

Huw presented the results to the meeting and these had also been sent to the group prior to this meeting. Hetal expressed disappointment at the red areas, which related to the reception team and availability of appointments.  Huw and Dr McCrea stated that changes had been with the introduction of a new telephone system, which has reduced the waiting time for calls to be answered. Huw did concede that the survey results were not good enough and efforts are being made to provide more GP appointments, which has resulted in recruitment of more staff. Huw stated that 800-1000 calls are received each day across both ECMC and ERCHC. Hetal said that she has noticed an improvement in the call waiting times.

Mira stated that she has been impressed with the new phone system, in particular calls she has had with the practice secretaries. Mira suggested that the options on the phone switchboard could be further explained so that patients are clear on what department they need to speak to.

Hetal stated that she has been received negative comments from other patients regarding the attitude and demeanour of some the receptionists. She enquired whether further training will be given to the team. Huw said that comments regarding the reception team are being taken seriously and regular reviews of telephone encounters are being conducted, with the aim of improving customer service. He said that the reception team do work in a very pressurised environment but recognised that this is not an excuse for poor customer service. He is conducting regular one to one meetings with the reception team.

John said that the customer service he has received from the ERCHC receptionists has been excellent and he believes that Charles is a very good ambassador for the surgery. He also mentioned that he has received good customer service from two ‘young ladies’.

Dr McCrea stated that patient feedback regarding the reception team is important and this is why regular call reviews are being done, as some receptionists are not aware of the tone of their voice and are learning from the call reviews.

Mira stated that the reception team should introduce themselves when answering the phones. Huw said that this should be standard procedure however he will raise this at the reception team meeting, which is taking place soon. ACTION 1 – HJ


The role of the PPG

Hetal said that she has been researching PPG forums and would like some clarification from the practice on what role the PPG should have and how it will be in-bedded into the governance of the practice. Greg asked for some clarification on the role of the PPG. Huw stated that the PPG should be a forum where patients can express their views regarding the practice and offer suggestions to improve patient care. Huw said that he would like use the PPG to gain insight into patient experiences. Dr McCrea said that all actions raised at PPG meetings will be followed up at the proceeding meeting.

Dr McCrea said that he would like the practice to benefit from any useful skills and experiences the PPG members may have.

There has been a lack of patient interest in attending PPG meetings and Huw has worked hard to find members. Dr McCrea stated that more imaginative ways to increase interest in the PPG must be thought of.  Mira is willing to approach other patients, who she knows, to ask if they would consider joining. She also suggested devising a leaflet to advertise the PPG. Huw agreed to produce a PPG leaflet. ACTION 2 - HJ

Hetal suggested hosting face to face meetings once covid restrictions are finished, as this may appeal to a wider group of patients. She also stated that the meetings must be advertised clearly on the practice website and in the practice.

Mira suggested that some meetings should be held in the evenings, after work hours. This would attract the younger, working population. Dr McCrea said that from past experiences, the older members of the PPG prefer earlier meetings and suggested that the meetings are alternated between afternoon and evenings. The next meeting will be held at 6pm.



Hetal suggested that a feedback box be placed in the reception areas. There used to be a suggestion box in reception before the pandemic and Huw will look into returning this. ACTION 3 – HJ

John suggested having photographs of clinicians and staff displayed so that faces can be attributed to names. Greg agreed and suggested that he would like to have photos of clinicians on the practice website. Dr McCrea said that he has been trying to implement this and he will discuss this further with the other GP partners. ACTION 4 – DM

Dr McCrea asked whether there are any needs that the group feel are not currently being met. Mira stated that she does not feel that mental health support for young people, especially young men, is inadequate and the surgery could provide more support. Dr McCrea informed her that a senior mental health nurse who works closely with the practice.

Mira also suggested that it would be helpful to have an onsite chiropodist.

Hetal raised a concern regarding a charge for a private referral letter. Stacey informed her that she was giving incorrect information by a locum GP and there is no cost for private referral letters. Huw informed Hetal that if she still required a private referral letter he would arrange this for her.



ACTION 1 – HJ to re-iterate to receptionists that they must introduce themselves when answering the phone

ACTION 2 – HJ to produce a PPG leaflet

ACTION 3 – HJ to look into returning the suggestion box to reception areas

ACTION 4 – DM to discuss staff photos in practice and on the website with the other GP partners





Minutes from 1st PPG Meeting - 26.8.21



Dr McCrea (Senior GP Partner for East Croydon Medical Centre & Edridge Road Community Health Centre)

Huw James (Patient Services Manager for East Croydon Medical Centre & Edridge Road Community Health Centre)

Dr McCrea’s Registrar - Matt Prestwich

Greg Abbott- Patient

Ramachandran Nair - Patient

Hetal Jobanputra - Patient

Mira Armour - Patient


  • No objections to recording the meeting


  • Introductions made


  • Photos of demolition shared + floor plans:

Hoping for this to be finished, up and running in a year’s time, aiming for June 2022

Photos shared of what the new build will look like including lift shaft – this is on the website. The top floors will be the administration rooms, 3 floors of clinical rooms.

Detailed floorplans shown – 7 consultation rooms on ground floor, reception area, toilets and entrance. More spacious and up to date rooms.

Dr McCrea explained the new stairway that was recently built as there was confusion as to why the building was being demolished after just having this built - We were given funding for just a new lift then 18 months later after starting, an ETTF scheme came in and wanted to double the size of surgery and a few different Companies came into play who refused to share the funding so we had to carry on spending what funding we had and wouldn’t allow us to merge the 2 together.

Huw explained as a result of the demolition we have decamped down to Edridge Road Community Health Centre. Tour of this Surgery was offered. A question was raised on why the reception for ECMC is different at ERCHC as feels disjointed as if 2 separate surgeries. Huw explained we have 2 separate patient groups, we use different computer and filing systems and different doctors although we’re in one building we are a brother and sister surgery. In effect we are 2 distinct surgeries. Once new build is finished ECMC will return and ERCHC will carry on as normal, it’s purely for technical reasons so when patients arrive we know what system to use for them. Dr McCrea added it’s also to divide the queue and avoid overcrowding in one area as limited on space. We offer face to face but don’t want to go back to the old days where everyone is piled into the surgery and standing shoulder to shoulder, coughing and spluttering over each other. Hopefully, these days are over. One patient expressed that the waiting room in the old building was not suitable. We are looking to amalgamate surgeries in the future but this will take a bit longer.

  • PCN’s

Just before Covid started, PCN’s came in. This is where groups of Practices join together to form a Primary Care Network based between 30,000-50,000 so we teamed up on a geography basis and amalgamated with St James’s Practice on Lower Addiscombe Road. We are now a PCN of 37,000 patients. We are given funding to employ a number of other skills so with that we have employed several pharmacists, social prescribers, physio’s and as of last week a Mental Health worker and care coordinator. In future we aim to employ a dietitian, a well-being coach, there’s a list of support people for general practice. We can book patients straight into these areas instead of seeing GP. If you have back problems you can book into our physio, if you have problems with benefits, negotiating, housing then a social prescriber can see you. Any medication questions can go to a pharmacist and also we have a paramedic who does a lot of home visits for us. Over the next 3 years, the size of that team will grow as each year the budget increases for this. We call these additional roles. As of next April, CCG (Croydon Commissioning Group who run all practices) will cease to exist.


East Croydon Medical Centre has got the biggest anticipated growth which is why we’re given the funding to expand. It’s expected another 10,000 patients in the Croydon Metropolis over the next 5 years and being the location of the Home Office, everyone gets sent here for passports, visa’s, etc. Croydon seems to accept all referrals from other London Boroughs; care homes, refugees and asylum seekers.

  • Covid Vaccinations

ERCHC to be a Covid vaccination site and will be start clinics around the second week of September which will coincide with flu vaccinations. We ran Fairfield Halls Vaccination Site for last 6 months which Huw played a large part in. We are working on the basis of 5 vaccinators and approx. 10mins for each patient so 24 per hour which should space patients out quite nicely to avoid overcrowding. This is all depending on vaccine deliveries. It’s expected to get through 1000 patients per week. We will approach all vulnerable groups first then the age groups but very similar set up as previous. We want to take more control of it this time round and manage our own patients.

A patient queried if we knew who had the vaccine. Dr McCrea explained there was a communication breakdown whereby we wouldn’t know if you had the vaccine booked but we would be notified once you had it. We will send out texts and invites and anticipate a vaccination option on the phone lines. We are going to try and run flu and Covid vaccine together but if clinically vulnerable, you would be pushed up the line. We are told we are only getting Pfizer Vaccine. At some stage we might be getting Maderna but unsure of when.

  • Telephone System

We have tried to make some improvements with our telephone systems and used to use a system called ‘Daisy’ at ECMC and a system called ‘Red Centric’ but being mid-contract we couldn’t get out of but now both have expired we now have a cloud telephony call ‘Xon’ and should be noticing a rapid improvement in call answering. We all see a display on the computer screens on how many patients ring and how many are queued and can transfer calls accordingly and efficiently. If we experience a high volume of calls we can ask other departments to answer to help eliminate the waiting time. Also because it’s cloud based, staff can access the system from their laptop at home to be able to still work as normal if there are childcare issues, etc. We hope this is going to be noticed by patients.

  • Chairperson

This appointed person will tell you what’s happening in the agenda and chair meetings and equally if there are any areas you want to raise and bring to our attention. Patients are happy to rotate this role between them. These meetings will be minuted and published on the website. This will hopefully encourage participation. It’s thought to be a great idea of communication with one another given the changes in the practice and in healthcare in general. Agenda to be sent to Stacey but must mark the email for her attention.

A patient queried how they would stay in contact with each other. Huw will add everyone’s email to the chat. Huw will be the contact point for these meetings.

Dr McCrea explained historically, it would be the participants who traditionally ran these meetings but the agenda was slightly different. It would be the younger patients who were busy during the day and the older patients didn’t want to go out in the evening or those who had work in the evening therefore we didn’t have a mix of generations, etc. We had PPG Meetings in the past and one person did the chair but it was an older generation that would turn up then Covid started and they were afraid to attend but unfortunately, were not computer literate. We had sent texts out to invite all patients.

These meetings will be quarterly. Aim all emails to Huw @ swlccg.ecmcadministration@nhs.net FAO Huw who will formulate an agenda to start off with. Any issues are welcome as well as praise. It is possible the CQC (Care Quality Commissioner) may want to contact participants but warning will be given for that.

A patient asked the opinion of Dr McCrea regarding ‘opting out’. It is felt useful for a hospital to be able to gain important information if you were to be admitted but overall, a mixed feeling regarding other aspects.

Next meeting date:   25th November 2021 @ 3pm.