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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 14th March 2018 at 5.30pm in the Meeting Room at Ryalls Park Medical Centre


Present : Claire Mallinson (CM),  Daniel Vincent (DV), Darryl Stimpson (DS), Jan Yates (JY), John Falconer (JF), Karina Parsons (KP), Brenda Axe (BA), Lesley Hudd (LH), Linda Bacon (LB), Lauren Trotman (LT)


Apologies :  Joanne Childs (JC), Jane Perry (JP), Diane Paris-Hunter (DPH), Mike Norman (MN)


  1. Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 14/02/17 were approved as a correct record with a missed apology from JP noted.

  1. Matters Arising from previous meeting

Volunteers – It was agreed to pilot this programme with the PPG volunteers and it was noted that a training programme for this would need to be developed.  DV and CM to put date in diary to discuss this and take it forward.

  1. Practice Managers Report

DV presented his report on the following :

Symphony – JF updated LH and the discussion held at the previous meeting and minuted confidentially as a separate item.  DV comments/update regarding this will again be minutes separately for confidentiality purposes.

Staffing/Capacity Issues – Cheryl Mead, Health Coach would be working her last day at the practice on Tuesday 27th March 2018.

Appointments System – DV had put out an additional Facebook post regarding the current capacity issues for appointments asking for patient suggestions as to how this could be improved and the following suggestions were made :

  • No appointments left today message on answerphone to avoid patients holding the queue unnecessarily
  • Some appointments to be held back until 12.30pm each day to make it easier for patients who find it difficult to call at 8.30am due to dropping children off at school etc

Non urgent appointments are also now available to be booked using the online system.

DV also reported that Jayne, Holly and Hannah (Apprentice HCA) would be running asthma clinics, COPD clinics etc

  1. Update of meeting with Marcus Fysh, MP

JF updated on a recent meeting held between members of the PPG, practice personnel and Marcus Fysh regarding the current constraints being experienced with funding etc.  These were minuted separately by JF and are available on request.

  1. Objectives for 2018
  • Prescription Process
  • Appointments process needs reviewing to make allocation fairer
  • Improvements to Reception Area
  1. Any Other Business

LB reported that the prescription ordering system was once again chaotic with duplicate prescriptions being generated.  The waiting time for prescriptions was increasing again and LT would look into providing a written protocol for how each prescription is ordered etc.

A question was raised as to whether patients needing regular medications could be issued a 3-month supply at a time and it was confirmed that t

JF updated that the chairs of local PPGs were due to meet in two weeks time to discuss the ongoing issues and it as hoped that an update would be available at the next meeting.

Date of next meetings

Future meeting dates were discussed and the following agreed :

Wednesday 14th March 2018 – 5.30pm

JF thanked all for their attendance and closed the meeting.


Minutes of the Ryalls Park PPG Meeting held on Wednesday 14th February 2018 at 5.30pm in the Meeting Room at Ryalls Park Medical Centre

Present: Claire Mallinson (CM), Daniel Vincent (DV), Darryl Stimpson (DS), Jan Yates (JY), John Falconer (JF), Karina Parsons (KP), Mike Freestone (MF), Jane Perry (JP), Brenda Axe (BA), Steph Puddy (SP)

Apologies : Linda Bacon (LB), Joanne Childs (JC), Lesley Hudd (LH),Mike Norman (MN), Lauren Trotman (LT), Diane Paris-Hunter (DPH)

Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 17/01/18 were approved as a correct record.

Matters Arising from previous meeting

Appointments System – DS confirmed that he and DV had a meeting scheduled on 20/02/18 to discuss this further.

Volunteers – CM reported that she had not yet received a volunteer role description from DV who confirmed that it had only just been sent prior to the meeting so CM would review. The main roles and responsibilities identified for a Ryalls Park volunteer would be:

Meet & Greet

On the day appointment requests

Supporting patients making prescription requests

Keeping waiting room tidy and accepting deliveries

Non patient visitor sign in and directional assistance

Encouraging/supporting patient feedback

Supporting baby clinics

Assisting patients completing forms

Printing online access requests with appropriate ID

Updating contact details

Compiling a patient FAQ guide

MF left the meeting at this stage as he had forgotten his hearing aid and could not participate due to not hearing what was being discussed.

Potential timings for volunteer requirements were discussed and the main period identified seems to be between 8.15am and 10.15am.

CM agreed to liaise with the hospital to see if volunteers could be added to their in-house training programme if they had one and it was agreed to trial the volunteer system with PPG volunteers in the first instance and DV would arrange the relevant DBS checks for those interested.

Chairs of Somerset PPG Meeting with Nick Robinson

JF updated the group on the recent meeting with the CCG Chair, Nick Robinson and unfortunately the outcome was that the questions posed were not answered and they were seemingly never received by the relevant people. JF did however as a direct question regarding the funding and GP shortage currently being experienced in Somerset but no satisfactory answer was received. JF to attend the next meeting of PPG Chairs on 27/02/18 to discuss next steps and will update accordingly at the next meeting.

Practice Managers Report

DV requested that main content of his report should remain confidential at this stage. The meeting agreed and therefore this part of DV’s report has been minuted separately and will be available as hard copy at the next meeting.

DV also reported that, following the media coverage last month regarding the social media posting, a meeting had been arranged with the local MP, Marcus Fysh on Friday 23/02/18 at 9.30am and it was hoped that a couple of PPG members were also available to attend. JF, KP and JS confirmed that they would be happy to attend this meeting along with DV. A pre-meet was scheduled for 8.30am on the same date in the meeting room at Ryalls Park ahead of the main meeting to discuss strategy.

It was felt that the main response from the Facebook posting from the Surgery was of overwhelming support for the staff and all that they are trying to do to make a difficult situation easier for patients.

Organisational Chart – DV confirmed that this had been updated and a final draft would be sent to DS prior to publication. DS also reminded DV to include the updated prescription policy in light if the fact that patients were being encouraged to have their prescription requests send direct to their chosen pharmacy.

Staffing/Capacity Issues – DV reported that the Nurse Practitioner had now returned to work following a spell of absence and that a second one had been recruited and was due to start in April which would mean more NP slots available to patients.

Reaction to Facebook posting

As previously covered in the PM report the response was felt to be mainly positive with many patients thanking the practice for their transparency with regards to the current capacity pressures etc. JF thanked DV on behalf of the PPG for taking this forward and that other GP practices in the area had commented to say how well they felt this had been received by patients.

Objectives for 2018

A few objectives were discussed for the coming year and the following were agreed upon as an initial list:

Improvements to reception area

Appointment Process – fairer allocation

JF asked members to consider potential objectives for discussion at future meetings.

Any Other Business

SP reported that Health Coach Cheryl Mead was leaving the practice to retire/family reasons. It was agreed that she would be much missed as she was instrumental in leading many services at the practice over the years and is a valued member of the Team. She was asked to pass on Best wishes to Cheryl from the PPG. DV said that he was hoping to put a book on reception so patients and staff etc could write farewell messages to Cheryl.

BA confirmed that she was monitoring the hand hygiene provision in the patient toilet and continues to replenish stock of hand soaps as and when they were needed. KP also confirmed that she was ensuring that litter did not gather at the front of the Surgery and both were thanked for their efforts with this.

KP enquired regarding ongoing PPG recruitment and JF confirmed that an email had been received from an interested party but at the present time he was wondering whether the PPG was up to capacity with membership. Discussion ensued and it was suggested that we invite the interested party to a future meeting and go from there.

Date of next meeting

Future meeting dates were discussed and the following agreed :

Wednesday 14th March 2018 – 5.30pm

JF thanked all for their attendance and closed the meeting.



Minutes of the Ryalls Park PPG Meeting held on Wednesday 17th January 2018 at 5.30pm in the Meeting Room at Ryalls Park Medical Centre

Present : Claire Mallinson (CM),  Daniel Vincent (DV), Darryl Stimpson (DS), Jan Yates (JY), John Falconer (JF), Karina Parsons (KP), Mike Freestone (MF), Diane Paris-Hunter (DPH), Jame Perry (JP)

Apologies : Linda Bacon (LB), Joanne Childs (JC), Lesley Hudd (LH),), Mike Norman (MN), Lauren Trotman (LT), Steph Puddy (SP)

  1. Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 13/12/17 were approved as a correct record.

  1. Matters Arising from previous meeting

Appointments System – DS confirmed that he would be taking over this project from JC as previously agreed but was yet to arrange a meeting with DV to further discuss this.

Ticket System – This will be discussed later in the meeting.

Volunteers – CM reported that she had made contact with the volunteer co-ordinated at YDH to see if she could assist with this. DV was asked to provide a role description to better understand what the volunteers at RPMC would be expected to assist with.  DV agreed to do this and then CM can follow this up.

Patient Survey – This Agenda item is now closed for the present time and may be revisited in the future once the capacity issues have been resolved.

JF reported that all the Chairs from the Somerset PPGs would be meeting with Nick Robinson, Chair of CCG on 22/01/18 and two questions had been submitted.

Practice Managers Report

DV presented his report on the following :

Organisational Chart – DV reported that a temporary organisational chart had been produced by LT listing the different team/roles of the staff at RPMC.  LT will be adding photos to this over the next few weeks.  It was discussed that as well as defining the different teams that a role description for each member of staff be added so patients could further understand what they do and the services they offer.  DV agreed to do this and would email a copy of the final version to DS for checking before final submission.

Staffing/Capacity Issues – DV reported that the new models of care funding had been approved for next year and has been approved until April 2019.  DV went on to explain that this had eased a few pressures but that they would need to refine the model over the next year in order to prove compliance and effectiveness.

Sue, the Nurse Practitioner was still off sick but was expected to return in 22/01/18 which will mean the clinical staff are back up to full capacity.

Winter demand and resources update  – Although the winter pressures had eased slightly, capacity was still a major issue with patient requests still exceeding capacity available. DV reported that staff including the GPs were staying on until 9pm in order to ensure that all callbacks to patients are completed however, they were also in a position where some of these calls were simply asking patients to call back the following day, as the GPs were unable to provide safe practice after working such long hours.

JF enquirer whether the discussion regarding a letter being sent out to patients or out on the RPMC website/social media page has been implemented yet.  DV confirmed that this was still being drawn up and DV agreed to email the draft to JF tomorrow for final agreement prior to it being circulated.

Currently there was no online booking service available for routine appointments and it was agreed that this needed to be communicated to patients via the electronic ticker tape system in the waiting area and DV agreed to update this.

DV reported that we were currently operating 1/3rd in excess of the capacity available which was providing difficulties in offering services.  The Symphony Hub are providing additional services to assist GPs so that was an option for RPMC to consider if pressures do not ease.

JF confirmed that the questions being submitted to the CCG were regarding practices struggling and forming super practices or joining Symphony and whether he supports this and also a question regarding the 25% decline in the County of GP availability.  JF will provide feed back from this at the February meeting.

Reception Improvements

These continue to be ongoing and will be discussed and added to at each meeting.

MF raised concerns about the ticketing system being removed as it was ideal for patients who were unable to stand for long periods of time.  A need for better signposting of systems needed to be looked at and discussion ensued as to whether this is something that could be helped by the recruitment of volunteers.  DV confirmed that there were no plans in place to reintroduce the ticketing system at this time.

DV also reported that patients were being encouraged to have their repeat prescriptions send direct to the pharmacy of their choice for collection which would massively ease the number of patients waiting to pick prescriptions up although  it necessarily the queries still coming through reception.

It was agreed that once the final reception improvement plan had been finalised this would need to be discussed and shared with staff before a final decision was made.

  1. Any Other Business

DPH raised an issue whereby an incorrect prescription (dosage) had been provided for her mother which resulted in a long conversation with the reception team trying to sort this out.  It was agreed that this was potentially a training issue and this would be relooked at.  DPH also stated she was not aware of the new prescription process document that had previously been circulated and JS agreed to forward this to DPH.  Discussion ensued regarding whether this process needed to be changed in light of the new prescription to nominated pharmacy option now available.  DV to discuss this further with DS.

KP, JY and DPH offered their services as volunteers as it was felt that these could greatly benefit the Surgery.  This would be looked at further once the final volunteer role description had been agreed and circulated.

Date of next meetings

Future meeting dates were discussed and the following agreed :

Wednesday 14th February 2018 – 5.30pm

Wednesday 14th March 2018 – 5.30pm

JF thanked all for their attendance and closed the meeting.



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