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Dear Patient,

What is the PPG?

The Ryalls Park Patient Participation Group (PPG) is a partnership between us the patients, the medical practitioners, pharmacy management and practice management of the Ryalls Park Medical Centre.


What is the PPG for?

The PPG ensures the voice of the patient is heard when decisions are made about how the Practice is run, how current services are provided and what new or additional services should be provided in the future.

The PPG is concerned not just with medical treatments and the provision of medicines, essential though they are.  We are also concerned about the whole patient experience from making the appointment, arrival and check-in at reception, waiting times and receiving your treatment and medicine.


What can we, the patients, do? 

As patients, it’s obviously in our interests that Ryalls Park becomes the best medical centre it can be.  The PPG provides a route for patients to inform and advise the Practice on what matters most to patients and to help identify solutions to problems.  In short, we need to contribute to the continuous improvement of the practice. 

The medical staff and management of the Practice want to hear from us. We need to say what is most important to us, what problems there may be and to help identify solutions.

If you are interested in joining the PPG, wish to make a comment or suggestion or would simply like some more information please call the practice or email us on

Great ideas come when we all work together.

Yours sincerely

John Falconer

Chairman Ryalls Park PPG


Ryalls Park practice under pressure from patients - access to GP appointments becomes increasingly difficult

During the autumn and winter of 2017/18 many patients found the process of booking an appointment to see a GP almost impossible.  Call waiting times were far too long and even when patients got through to the reception staff the day's appointments were often fully booked.  The practice admitted it was unable to keep up with patient-demand and, encouraged by the PPG, issued a public statement on Facebook setting out the problems and requesting the understanding of patients.  

The response was very positive.  Most patients appreciated being told about the difficulties the practice was experiencing and did their best to seek an appointment only when absolutely necessary.  Whilst the PPG fully supports the practice being candid with patients it is clear that the underlying problems must be fixed.  Essentially this means making available more appointments.  The practice maintains it requires more funding to offer additional appointments.  NHS Somerset acknowledge that budgets are under pressure but believe that by being more efficient the practice can do better with existing funds. 

The PPG's view is that increased funding for Ryalls Park (and the other Yeovil practices) is necessary in order to bring about a balance between the supply of appointments and patient demand.  That said we strongly encourage the practice to continually seek to improve its processes under a general policy of continual improvement.  

Over many months the practice has considered how best to respond to these challenges.  Among those considerations was the possibility of joining other primary care organisations in the hope that improvements can be made through 'economies of scale'.  The PPG were not able to support such a move unless it was clear it would benefit patients.  The practice has now confirmed it will remain independent, and the PPG are delighted to support the decision.  

The issue of funding in the GP sector remains a key issue.  The PPG has held discussions with NHS Somerset in recent weeks and we hope to hear some positive news in the near future. 


See below the confirmation from the practice.


To all patients, their families and friends of Ryalls Park Medical Centre (RPMC)

You may have seen the recent statement we made via social media, followed up by press reports, regarding the difficulty to access GP appointments at RPMC. We are determined to improve the service we offer to our patients and have been considering how best we can achieve it. Various options have been considered including the proposal to seek a merger with other practices or to join a large-scale primary care provider. After careful consideration we are pleased to announce that we will remain an independent practice. We firmly believe this is in the best interests of both the practice and its patients. We are also pleased to announce that Dr Richard More has agreed to join us. Dr More has many years’ experience both as a GP and in Chairing and managing a wide range of businesses and will be the Chairman at RPMC. Daniel Vincent remains as Managing Partner focussing on strategic improvements to the practice. In conjunction with NHS commissioners Daniel has been examining how to improve working arrangements in order to best serve our patients. Funding, of course remains a crucial issue. Our PPG (Patient Participation Group) has been pressing Somerset NHS to increase funding for GP practices. We hope to say more about this in the coming months.

Our doctors, nurses and admin team are committed to improving access to the excellent patient-care at RPMC.

We will be setting out further changes and additions to our team in the near future to improve our performance. We know it has been a very difficult winter period for all and we wish to thank you for your understanding and forbearance during often challenging days.



PPG Meeting Dates:  PPG meetings are held approximately monthly.  If you wish to attend perhaps you could email the PPG at  See below the minutes of the three most recent meetings. 


Minutes of the Ryalls Park PPG Meeting held on Wednesday 27th June 2018 at 5.30pm in the Meeting Room at Ryalls Park Medical Centre


Present: Claire Mallinson (CM), Daniel Vincent (DV), Darryl Stimpson (DS), John Falconer (JF),  Brenda Axe (BA), Lesley Hudd (LH), Linda Bacon (LB), Diane Paris-Hunter (DPH), Steph Puddy (SP), Joanne Childs (JC)


Apologies:  Karina Parsons (KP), Jan Yates (JY), Jane Perry (JP), Mike Freestone (MF), Mike Norman (MN)


  1. Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 23/05/18 were approved as a correct record.


  1. Matters Arising from previous meeting

Volunteers – CM and DV updated that several meetings had been held with the three PPG volunteers.  A role description of duties was discussed and agreed and confidentiality declarations had been signed by all.  DV was awaiting DBS process completion before volunteers can begin.


Man Shed – JF updated that a potential location had been found for Man Shed.  He would liaise with MF to take this forward.


Sputum Sample - DV had missed the issue with the sputum sample from the last meeting but would now follow this up with relevant staff.


Updated Prescription Process – DS had sent updated prescription process to DV for approval but had not yet heard anything.  DV apologised that this had not yet been done but it was agreed that a meeting with DS and DV would take place to complete this.


  1. Managing Partners Report

DV presented his report on the following:


Leaflet – A new leaflet had been produced giving details of Medical staff at the Surgery, extended hours, waiting times, updates and signposting to other personnel such as Health Coaches, Pharmacy etc. for various medical issues.  This was tabled for review and would be made available in the waiting area and online.


NHS Choices – DV reported that RPMC was rated first, equal with Penn Hill, as best practice in the area.


Staffing/Capacity Issues – A new Nurse Practitioner (Leigh) would be joining the practice on 03/09/18 bringing the NP staff back up to two on most days.  A locum NP was also in place.  This means that there are currently 2 GP’s and 1 Nurse Practitioner working each day with the NPs offering on-the-day appointments meaning the GPs are released for pre-booked appointments, prescription signing and other necessary admin work.


From the HCA Team Holly has left to take up a position at YDH.  Anna is due to commence her Maternity Leave in November and Jay’s apprenticeship is coming to an end and he is leaving in September to pursue a nursing career.  In order to backfill this Emma will be joining the HCA team on 23/07/18 from Oaklands surgery where she is currently working.  Three candidates have been interviewed for the apprenticeship post and there is somebody interested in covering Anna’s maternity leave.


LB joined the meeting at this stage.


DV reported that this year’s patient survey results were due out on 09/08/18.


DS raised the issue of prescription backlogs and DV reported that all GPs now have half an hour per day allocated to sign these.  Discussion ensued regarding staff knowledge of the different processes for obtaining prescriptions and it was felt that staff needed to be reminded about the different types of prescriptions and the processes for obtaining them.  DV reported that Xytal were due to come in on 23/07/18 to implement programme to help with this.  DPH suggested that it may be prudent for a member of the PPG to attend this also to better understand the implementation process.  It was agreed this would be a good idea and DS agreed to be part of this process to walk through resource implementation.


Repeat dispensing has been discontinued as it was not working well from a patient perspective.


  1. PPG Objectives


  • Availability of appointments/GP capacity
  • Phone system appointments System
  • Potential diagnostic services at surgery
  • Online facilities/Skype appointments with doctor
  • Improvements to Reception Area.  Training standardised for all PLT members
  • Parking


  1. Any Other Business




Date of next meetings:

Wednesday 25 July at 5.30pm.

             No meeting in August

Wednesday 26th September 2018 – 5.30pm


JF thanked all for their attendance and closed the meeting.



Minutes of the Ryalls Park PPG Meeting held on Wednesday 23rd May 2018 at 5.30pm in the Meeting Room at Ryalls Park Medical Centre


Present : Claire Mallinson (CM),  Daniel Vincent (DV), Diane Paris-Hunter, Darryl Stimpson (DS),  John Falconer (JF), Karina Parsons (KP),  Linda Bacon (LB), Jo Childs (JC), Lesley Hudd (LH), Mike Freestone (MF), Steph Puddy (SP), Mike Norman (MN), Dr Richard More (RM)


Apologies :  Jan Yates (JY) Brenda Axe (BA)


  1. Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 25th April 2018 were approved as a correct record.


  1. Matters Arising from previous meeting


JF reiterated subject of Men’s Shed and explained benefits.  JF/MF to visit potential new premises.


  1. Practice Managers Report

DV presented his report on the following :


Staffing/Capacity Issues


  • Lesley Skinner, Nurse Practitioner has  started full time.  Sue, Nurse Practitioner leaves today.  Locum Nurse Practitioner booked with a new appointment hoped for soon.
  • Anna, the Assistant Practitioner is due to go on Maternity Leave in November
  • New patients list is growing with financial benefit for the Practice
  • DV reported meeting with CCG access lead, Adam Hann, regarding patient data access etc and was very impressed with how this is managed
  • Wait time on phones has improved by 10% since the last meeting
  • DV/CM to arrange meetings with PPG volunteers to agree duties, start dates etc
  • DS enquired whether DV had managed to update prescription process but DV reported this was still to be done


  1. Dr Richard More, introduction, background and next steps

Dr Richard More was introduced to the group as the new Chairman at RPMC.  RM gave some background of his company, Xytel, and how it was hoped they could work with the practice to address current issues.  Due to confidentiality the remaining content of this discussion will be minute as a separate document at this time.


  1. Any Other Business


LB reported that the prescription ordering system was still not running as smoothly as it could and DS reported problems with batch prescribing. 


Addition to Minutes of the Ryalls Park PPG Meeting held on Wednesday 23rd May 2018 at 5.30pm in the Meeting Room at Ryalls Park Medical Centre


Present : Claire Mallinson (CM),  Daniel Vincent (DV), Darryl Stimpson (DS),  John Falconer (JF), Karina Parsons (KP),  Steph Puddy (SP), Lesley Hudd (LH),  Linda Bacon (LB), Mike Freestone (MF), Mike Norman (MN), Joanne Childs (JC), Richard More (RM)


Presentation by Dr Richard More, Xytel


DV introduced Dr Richard More to the meeting and handed over to him for an overview and further explanation of what his company, Xytel, did and how they were hoping to work with Ryalls Park on addressing the current issues.  It was explained that this would be as an alternative to joining Symphony Healthcare as previously discussed.


Dr More gave an overview of his professional background and told us a little about his company and their aims. 


The main focus was on taking the current issues at Ryalls Park, looking at the processes needed and implementing them to find a solution.  He explained that his colleagues were all very well trained in this area and that all processes used by Xytel had been proven to work and he was confident that this would be the case at Ryalls Park.  One of the  factors would be around combining the need for many patient appointments and ensuring that one appointment gave patients the opportunity to see all the specialists required at the surgery rather than having to attend multiple times.


MN asked how this would be taken forward and it was explained that the next steps would be to put a master trainer from Xytel into the practice to implement the relevant processes.  A meeting would take place over the next three months with DV to put all of this in place.


The question was asked as to whether RM would be doing some GP sessions at the practice and it was advised that he would be carrying out some supernumerary sessions at first with a view to possibly increasing to some full sessions at a later date.


LB queried how RM saw the prescription process issues being worked round and he advised that there was a plan in place to address these and that he would ask all people involved to trust the process and let it run its course before requesting further changes, he was confident that it was a tried and tested formula that would work well for Ryalls Park and would ensure that we retained independent status.


There were no further questions from the floor so JF thanked RM for his informative insight into how the new processes would work and RM left the meeting.




Minutes of the Ryalls Park PPG Meeting held on Wednesday 25 April 2018 at 5.30pm in the Meeting Room at Ryalls Park Medical Centre


Present: Mike Freestone, Daniel Vincent, Mike Norman, Jan Yates, Lesley Hudd, Joanne Childs, Karina Parsons, Darryl Stimpson, Linda Bacon, John Falconer. 


Apologies:  Brenda Axe, Claire Mallinson, Jane Perry, Diane Paris-Hunter, Lauren Trotman, Stephanie Puddy.


  1. Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 14 March were approved as a correct record.   


  1. Matters Arising from previous meeting

There were no matters arising.


  1. Chair/Vice Chair report of CCG Meeting

Two meetings had been held with Somerset CCG recently.  John and Darryl reported that in both meetings the key issue was the increasing difficulty patients were experiencing when trying to access GP appointments.  The PPG’s position is that NHS funding has fallen short of the level needed to meet today’s increased demands from patients.

The CCG does not entirely reject that view but vigorously points out that many practices, including Ryalls Park may not be deploying the most efficient admin procedures. 

The CCG senior management confirmed that they were conducting a review of clinical services in Somerset and expected an important outcome would be additional investment in primary care in FY 2018/19.     




  1. Practice Manager’s Report

Daniel informed the meeting that the process of joining Symphony Healthcare Services Ltd was now on hold.  Discussions with SHS had not yet confirmed that the move would benefit patients, which is a key requirement.  It may be possible to remain an independent practice.

Daniel said he expected further news on this matter in the next few days.

Post meeting note:  The practice has now confirmed it will remain independent.  See announcement below.


The Nurse Practitioners are doing extra hours at the practice.  This is not intended to provide more appointments but rather to allow extended time for patients with complex issues. 


Some changes at reception:

Jenny is a new member of the team,

Two receptionists are tasked with providing admin support for patients who have recently left hospital,

Patients are encouraged to phone for appointments rather than turning up at reception.

Daniel said the team were working to reduce phone waiting time.


Mike Freestone pointed out that many patients had difficulty hearing what the receptionist was saying.  All receptionists should be made aware of the importance of this matter.     


Linda said the flow of prescriptions from the practice to the pharmacy varied greatly from day to day.  She wondered if a specific time-slot could be set aside daily for GPs to sign scrips. 

Daniel and Linda to discuss this issue before the next meeting.


  1. Men’s Shed

Mike Freestone explained to the meeting the background of the Men’s Shed, which is a nation-wide movement.  It provides a meeting place for men who are mostly retired to meet socially and also to take part in practical activities including gardening, choir singing, woodwork and other workshop processes. 

Mike pointed out that boredom, loneliness and a lack of purpose in life can lead to depression and other mental health conditions.  It has been shown that these problems are dramatically reduced among members of the Men’s Shed and accordingly the requirement for prescription drugs is much diminished. 

The meeting gave its support to establish a Men’s Shed if it was possible.  Mike emphasised that it was essential as a first step to find a suitable premises which must have long-term availability.   


  1. Objective for 2018

This item was deferred until future meetings as a result of the uncertainty regarding SHS Ltd. 


  1. AOB

The issue of the cleanliness of the site was discussed.  It was noted that litter was the main problem.  Daniel undertook to fix this.


It was suggested that during busy periods reception staff should be able to call other receptionists to the front desk.  A button for this purpose should be installed.  


Next Meeting:  Wednesday 23 May at 5.30.

John thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting. 




Planning Ahead – A guide for patients and carers.

Copy and paste the link below in your browser for a great deal of useful information.


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