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Len Valley Practice
Groom Way Lenham Maidstone Kent ME17 2QF
Tel: (01622) 858 341
Fax: (01622) 851 004
Out of Hours: 111
REPEAT PRESCRIPTIONS: Patient Access is now back online. You're now able to order repeat prescriptions.

Click HERE to view the PPG Annual Report 2015-16

What is the Len Valley PPG?

All GP practices set out to promote active engagement with their patients to ensure they are involved in ongoing planning and decision making about the practice.  
Len Valley Patient Participation Group is a group of registered patients, representative of the practice population, who meet regularly to discuss issues and ways of improving services for the benefit of patients.

What is it not?

It’s not an appreciation society…
A healthy and productive PPG is one which achieves a balance between due praise and constructive challenge. The role of the Len Valley PPG is therefore often described as that of a critical friend; a group which can both support and be ambassadorial for the practice but which is also comfortable questioning and potentially contesting plans and proposals.
It’s not an exclusive or elite group…
A PPG is not about a handful of self selected registered patients meeting up on a regular basis.  We are mindful that the Len Valley PPG is there to serve the full practice population. We are keen to identify members from the wide range of patients and their needs such as young, old, mental health service users, carers, travellers, people with learning disabilities etc. to join us.
It’s not about individual patient queries or complaints…
(Unless they are an example of a broader issue).  Individual patient queries or complaints should still be directed to the practice, as they are in the best position to resolve them.

What issues do we look at?

The PPG works with the practice to look at specific practice issues such as access to appointments etc, but also at the ‘bigger picture’ of local services and how they are commissioned and provided. 
The specific practice issues we look at are discussed and agreed between the PPG and the practice.
Once these priority areas are identified, the practice undertakes and collates any necessary surveys/proposals and then discusses the results or proposals with the PPG.  We agree the action plan or way forward and publicise those actions on the practice website.
When do we meet?
We meet four times a year at 6.30pm usually on a Monday evening.  The meeting has an agenda sent out in advance and all meetings are minuted.  The minutes of every meeting are available in the practice

OK, I'm interested, what do I do?
Fill in the form on the 'Join our Patient Participation Group' Tab at the top of this page.


FISH SCHEME - Harrietsham Helping Hands

This Scheme, which covers the Harrietsham area, has been in existence for well over forty years.  Among the services that we offer is assistance for those residents who require help in getting to the surgeries, collection and delivery of medication, and other essential tasks.  Do please contact me if you have a need with which we may assist or indeed if you would like to join our band of helpers.  Marjorie Darby  (01622) 850 657


LIFT Scheme (Lenham Is For Transport)

LIFT is the scheme where a volunteer driver can take a less able villager to the surgery and back, and/or collect prescriptions for them. All we ask is a small donation towards the cost of fuel.

Also we can now offer a hospital visit service where the driver will wait UP TO one hour and bring you home. There will be a cash donation of £13-50 for Maidstone Hospital required to be paid in cash on return. No voucher or cheques are acceptable.

If you would like to volunteer Please ring!


To enquire about the service or to volunteer, please get in touch: (07542) 625 277

Non-Emergency Patient Transport Services
For Leaflet click

View our PPG End of Year Report 2015 >


Meeting Date 27th November 2017

In attendance: 
Carol McKeough, Sadie Curtis, Margaret Phillimore, Gillian Watson, Margot Lawlor, Carol Burton, Diane Anderson, Dr Andrew Reed and Elaine Moles (part)
Welcome and Apologies:, Neil Pedlingham, Margaret Conan

Minutes and Matters arising:The minutes were agreed.

  • We reviewed and updated the terms of reference for the PPG and these were approved at the AGM.
  • We discussed the concerns raised about the confusing information provided at the first flu clinic. This related to the need for patients who had used the practices own repeat prescription service to register for the ‘Patient Access’ so that they would still be able to request repeat prescriptions through that system. Confusion on the day related to those who had already registered for ‘Patient Access’ queueing up unnecessarily. This is because the ‘Patient Access’ was being opened up to enable those who had previously used the system to book appointments with doctor and nurse practitioners, to be able to request repeat prescriptions.
  • A patient had reported that the new telephone system had not allowed an option to choose making an appointment. Diane agreed to check out the options available.
    • Post-meeting update:  Diane has checked and the message says ‘Press 1 to book or cancel an appointment.

Update on 106 monies:
A new lease between Harrietsham Parish Council and the practice has been drawn up. There are still some minor points to be sorted out. The next step is to work with Harrietsham Parish Council to plan for the extension to the building, then submit a business case to the West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group who procures the funding from Maidstone Borough Council.  This process is not straightforward as there are stipulations around funding for each development and how and when this is made available. 

Practice update:

  • The new telephone system has had some teething problems and the practice called in the providers of the new system to address the issues.  These are currently being worked on.
  • Elaine provided an update on how the repeat prescription system accessed via Patient Access was working. Where patients have expressed concerns about the system Elaine has been able to show them how it works.  If there are issues related to items already on the repeat system or ones used in the past, there is a space for patients to include messages when ordering and these will be following up by dispensary with the GP.   PPG members had found using ‘Patient Access’ to book appointments to be very helpful. However currently the system does not allow more than two appointment to be booked. This seems to include appointments for blood tests. Diane said that increasing the number of available appointments would be considered.
  • The revised appointments system within the practice will be reviewed and any outcomes for further improvements will be implemented.
  • The internal arrangements for repeat dispensing has been improved and It is now possible for the process to be managed electronically, meaning the doctors can approve the request and for dispensary to prepare medications.  However, the prescriptions will always be signed by the doctor before the patient is given the medication or prescription.  This improved system has reduced the turnaround time.

 CCG update:

  • We discussed the papers forwarded prior to the meeting. The CCG plan to restrict the issuing of prescriptions for medications that can be bought more cheaply at the chemists for short term conditions such as cough’s and colds. Still no list and how this will be managed.
  • We discussed the GP clusters and that the Maidstone Wide Cluster includes the Len Valley Practice. Carol McK explained that she and Jeanette from the Bearsted practice were attempting to arrange a meeting of the chairs of the PPG’s within the cluster to see if we can share ideas and support each other. Some hard copies of Dr Estall’s PowerPoint presentation were circulated.
  • We briefly mentioned the Sustainability and Transformation Plan and copies of the handouts from John Potts, the patient representative on the patient and public advisory group. Still the main focus has been on the issues with the East Kent hospital services and the revised Stroke services.

Walking for Health:
A brief update on the Len Valley Walking for Health was provided by Sadie who mentioned that many walks would be suspended until February due to the weather. The leaders of the walks had attended a refresher first aid course which they had paid for themselves at a cost of £25. We agreed that when the certificates were received by the leads, they could be shown to Diane who would arrange for the course fees to be reimbursed from the PPG’s funds held by the practice.
Frequency and Length of Meetings:
We agreed that in future the meetings will be bi monthly and may be extended by up to half an hour if we have a speaker.
Next Meeting:    6pm on 19th February 2018
This item from the July minutes was not mentioned during the meeting, but Carol McK mentioned at the end of the meeting the importance of trying to gain the views of young people about what they want from their GP practice, and maybe to encourage a couple to students to attend the PPG meetings.
Engagement with Young People.
We need to recruit one or two young people to the PPG. Diane to draft a letter to go out with the letter being sent to all 16 years olds asking them to confirm if they wish to change permissions on their records.). This will include an invitation for any of them to let us know if they would be willing to join the PPG to help us consider the perspective of young people. (This has not been done yet but will be actioned in the New Year. This could help us consider the event we would like to put on about young people’s mental health. If we do it, it needs to reflect the issues for young people and it may be better focussed away from a public event. This could be an issue we could discuss with the pastoral leads at Swadelands.
Carol McK will make contact with the head teacher at Swadelands School in the New Year to discuss with representatives of the teachers and senior students.


Meeting Date 24th April 2017

In attendance:  Carol McKeogh (Chair), Margaret Phillimore, Diane Anderson, Aneta Jerrett, Margaret Conan, Dr Reed, Jan Smith, Mairin Holland, Margot Lawlor, Sue Summers, Carol Burton, Diana Allwood, Neil Pedlingham, Teresa Denbow (minutes)
Apologies: Sadie Curtis, Gillian Watson

Welcome & Apologies

Minutes of last meeting and matters arising:  Minutes of the last meeting were unfortunately not available. The group discussed the main points that had arisen during the last meeting.  It was agreed that the PPG Facebook page should be reinvigorated and could be used as a platform to engage with young people regarding mental health issues – to act as a signpost to appropriate information and resources as opposed to offering any direct support.  The PPG Terms of Reference and minutes of meetings should also be added to this page.  Action – Diane to contact Frankie to obtain administrator password for the Facebook page.  Action – Diane to provide Sue with electronic version of the ToR for uploading.

Update re s106 monies and planning for future developments: Diane confirmed that there are sufficient monies available to pay for an extension to the Harrietsham building, and the Parish Council are on board with plans.  The CCG have a new manager leading on this aspect – Alison Burchell – and have asked for a copy of the lease so that they can satisfy themselves there is adequate security of tenure to justify releasing the funds.  The lease is actually overdue for renewal and this is being dealt with now.

PPG engagement activities – planning for 2017: The group discussed a possible health event around young people’s mental health.  A young person’s PPG rep had been agreed as a good idea in principle but so far we have failed to engage with anyone.  The practice routinely write out to all young people on their 16th birthday to confirm if they wish to change permissions on their records, something could be included in this letter about a PPG representative to see if that generates interest.

AGM planning: The group needs to consider the format for this year’s AGM i.e. will the public be invited to participate, will we have a speaker etc?  It was felt that public turn out at the previous AGMs had not been good, and all most are interested in is talking about appointments.  This will need to be determined at the next meeting. 

Practice Specific Issues:  Dr Lee Welsh is returning to the Practice.  Sarah Gardner will also be joining.  The new telephone system has been decided upon. It is cloud based so the security aspects need to be examined and Diane is following this up.  Diane is seeking advice on the DNA issues discussed previously.  As persistent non-attenders can’t be struck off it is questionable how much further this can be taken.

Date of Next Meeting:  The next meeting was scheduled for 24th July, however as neither Carol nor Teresa could chair this meeting a new date will be arranged and notified.

Join Our Patient Participation Group

When we have received your form, you will be contacted by a PPG member.

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Join Our Patient Participation Group

Join Our Patient Participation Group

Please fill in the form below to join our PPG.

Full Member: You will attend regular meetings, complete surveys, and give your opinion on matters, when canvassed.
Virtual Member: You will complete surveys, and give your opinion on matters, when canvassed.

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