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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
APPOINTMENTS: You can Book or Cancel your appointments and Order Repeat Medication ONLINE: Ask at Reception to Register for 'Patient Access'.

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.

Meeting Date 28 November 2016

In attendance:  Teresa Denbow, Diana Allwood, Margaret Phillimore, Aneta Jerrett, Marin Holland, Diane Anderson, Sadie Curtis, Carol Mckeough, Dr A Taylor, Sue Southon, Margaret Conan, Margot Lawlor

Welcome and Apologies: Apologies from Jan Smith, Sue Summers. Gio Clements has retired and Jim Myers has resigned from the PPG.

Minutes of meeting held on 18 July 2016:Accuracy & matters arising not on the agenda: Both flu clinics were quieter than in previous years, however figures have been made up through the walk-in clinic at Lenham surgery. Minutes: action points updated, agreed and signed.

DNA’s: Text reminders are now sent to patients who have given permission for this service, however there are still high numbers of DNA’s. If a patient fails to attend for three appointments, they are written to and warned that they may be removed from the practice list. It was felt that this could be picked up earlier and it was suggested that a call could be made to the patient on the day of the missed appointment to establish why they did not attend, however there are no resources available. A suggestion was made to form a sub-group to discuss DNA’s and Diane is in favour of this and will investigate further.

Home Visits: These are usually one-off and for patients who are completely housebound. About 8-10 per day are carried out and there is no age criteria to receive a home visit. Dr Taylor advised that some surgeries will not do home visits at all. There was a discussion about the Lenham LIFT scheme but this is mainly for hospital visits. Patients are invited to make a donation of £5 to GP and £15 to Maidstone Hospital however there is Hatch money available.

CQC Inspection report: The visit took place on the 20 September 2016, 5 inspectors went through all aspects of the day to day functioning of the Len Valley Practice, Diane had an inspector with her all day! The inspectors also spoke to several members of the PPG and patients. The practice achieved a “Good” rating in the following areas: safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led. There were 'outstanding elements' in the CQC report, around the PPG and practice collaboration on health promotion events. Further information on the report can be found on the CQC website. The next inspection will be in about 5 years.

Future of the PPG: Teresa advised that she is not able to take on the role of Chairman due to personal circumstances but is happy to remain as vice. Carol has kindly come forward to take on the role of Chairman in April when she retires. The consensus of opinion was to move the start time of the PPG meetings back to 6pm and Dr Reed will be taking over from Dr Taylor.

Dates for future meetings: The following dates have been provisionally agreed for 2017: 24 April, 24 July, 16 October (AGM), 27 November.

AOB:- The S106 monies are now available to be drawn down by the CCG. These monies have a finite lifetime and Diane is pushing for them to be allocated and used so Harrietsham Parish Council have formed a sub-group to push for action. Since the resignation of Dr Codlin, there is enough female clinician cover and the practice are attempting to recruit a replacement.

Date of next meeting 30 January 2017.

Meeting Date 18th July 2016

In attendance:  Diana Allwood (Chair), Sue Southon, Margaret Phillimore, Diane Anderson, Aneta Jerrett, Margaret Conan, Dr A Taylor, Jan Smith, Megan Bensilum, Mairin Holland, Margot Lawlor, Sue Summers, Teresa Denbow (minutes)
Apologies: Jim Myers, Sadie Curtis, Gio Clements, Gillian Watson

Welcome & Apologies

Minutes of meeting held on 25th April and matters not arising:  Minutes of the last meeting were agreed.  Feedback was given that the new practice website (prescription section) is not intuitive or user friendly.  The online instructions to register are actually more complicated than the actual steps required.  Dispensary are inviting patients to come in for a walk through with the IT manager where difficulties are identified.  Feedback on the appointment booking system is far more positive.  Patients will soon have the ability to view test results and some consultations online, once this is available further consideration will be given to publicising the online system.

Lenham Family Festival Feedback: The event was a success and the PPG ‘Sugar Wars’ stall had plenty of visits and distributed a lot of leaflets on the day.  Diane asked if something similar could be offered at the forthcoming flu clinics – this will need to be tailored to the audience.  The flu clinics will be held 8.30-11am on Saturday 17th September at Lenham and the following Tuesday or Thursday afternoon at Harrietsham.  Action (i) Diana to send out email seeking views of all PPG members on how to take this forward, and requesting volunteers to assist with the clinic and run the event on the day.  Action (ii) Diana to enquire about booking the small hall at Harrietsham to provide a waiting area.

Wrinkly Roadshow: The further information promised after the presentation at the last PPG meeting has yet to be received.  Action (iii) Diana to follow up the outstanding information and ask for PPG to be kept informed so that further consideration can be given to supporting the roadshow in future.   

Practice Specific Issues: Dr Kendrew has become a partner from 1 July.  Following Dr Rao’s departure Dr Sarah Westerbeek will join the practice as a salaried GP working 2 days per week from 11 August.  Dr Alison Brandao has completed her year with the practice and left last week.  Dr Stephen Brown will complete his year’s training at the beginning of August and will be going to work at The Mote Medical Practice.  There will be no new GP Registrars at the present time.  A paramedic will be joining the practice on a 10 week secondment and will be able to see certain patients and conduct home visits.  All paramedics are offered the option of a secondment to a GP surgery as part of the advances training and feedback from other practices where this has taken place has been positive.  The current telephone system is obsolete and needs to be updated - 3 new systems are currently being considered and a presentation to the partners is being planned for 13th September.  Diana and Margaret Conan both expressed an interest in being involved to provide a patient perspective.  Action (iv) Diane to provide details to Diana who will liaise with Margaret.  Comments have been received concerning the radio in reception as a number of patients are unhappy with the choice of station.  The practice is obliged to make the reception area as confidential as possible and music from the radio helps with this.  Consideration will need to be given to white noise or another alternative – non-descript soothing background music like that used in beauty salons was suggested.

Any Other Business:  PPG is able to claim £100 for each piece of work it has undertaken for CCG – there is the potential to claim up to £300 for what we have undertaken so far to support our ongoing work.  It was agreed that these funds would be held by the practice to be released upon production of receipts.  Sue reported that the CCG are currently looking at integrated performance management of ambulance call outs.  Mairin raised concern about ambulances being sent out without paramedics.  Action (v) Sue Southon to ask for further information about this and obtain figures if available.

Date of Next Meeting:  AGM Monday 17th October 6.30pm.  Diana advised that she would not be standing as Chair for a further year.  Although currently Vice Chair, Teresa confirmed she would not be standing as Chair either due to a change in her circumstances, therefore nominations will be sought in advance of the AGM date.

Meeting Date 25th April 2016

In attendance:  Diana Allwood, Sue Southon, Margaret Phillimore, Gio Clements, Sadie Curtis,  Diane Anderson, Aneta Jerrett, Margaret Conan, Dr A Taylor, Teresa Denbow (minutes)
Apologies: Jim Myers, Mairin Holland, Gillian Watson
Welcome & Apologies

Minutes of meeting held on 15th February:  Minutes were agreed, subject to 1 amendment to correct the spelling of Mairin’s name. There were no matters arising not on the agenda. 

Wrinkly Roadshow presentation – Kelly Duke & Kevin Collier: The Wrinkly Roadshow was set up to come out to villages to facilitate access to services and build support networks across the community and is accredited by a number of different organisations.  Various agencies are on their books including dentists, plumbers, doctors and dating agencies.  They are working village by village together with local charities and community groups to learn and share good practice.  Kelly and Kevin are currently speaking to KCC and Maidstone BC to come up with an older person kitemark.  A roadshow was held in Lenham in March and was attended by 40-50 people.  Kelly agreed to send some information for further consideration at the next PPG meeting in July.
Medicines Management Survey: The survey end date is mid-May. It is hoped that we will receive funds into PPG to help expand our engagement database. 3 mechanisms are being used to maximise returns – the Parish Council Clerk, being handed out to patients in the surgery and circulation by PPG members. 
Lenham Festival: The plans for the PPG stall at the Festival were outlined.  Sue will bid for some CCG funding for the stall.  Volunteers were sought from PPG members to assist in running the stall on the day.  Teresa will be attending the Festival planning committee meetings and will liaise with any useful information in the run up to the event.
Practice Specific Issues: The practice’s new website will be launched on 1st May, patients will be able to cancel appointments, update contact details, join PPG and download a new patient registration form.  From September developments will receive 100% of s106 monies rather than the practice or landlord having to part fund.
Any Other Business: Walking for health now have over 70 people on their books, there are now short walks on Wednesdays aimed at those with mobility problems, 3 walks on Thursdays and a Saturday walk.  The Saturday walks are being advertised in the library and in local magazines.  Diane offered to put information on the practice television.
Date of Next Meeting:  Monday 18th July 2016.


Meeting Date 15 February 2016

In attendance:  Diana Allwood, Margaret Phillimore, Gio Clements, Aneta Jerrett, Elaine (Pharmacy) Jan Smith, Marin Holland, Diane Anderson, Sadie Curtis, Megan Bensilum, Carol Mckeough, Gillian Watson, Dr A Tayor, Sue Southon.

  1. Welcome and Apologies:- Teresa Denbow, Margaret Conan, Jim Myers, Margot Lawlor
  1. Minutes of meeting held on 26th November 2015.

Accuracy & matters arising not on the agenda:-  Minutes were agreed, and signed.

  1. Feedback from West Kent CCG:-  Sue.

Currently, NHS England does not provide support to GP practices to run a PPG, but insist, via their contract, that all practices have a PPG. The role of the PPG is twofold: to support the practice & to provide feedback to the CCG on its commissioning intentions. A proposal has been developed to support the PPGs, via the PPG Chairs network, in having a clearer brief for any project where we are asked to gather patients views and relay back to the CCG. There is an offer of reimbursement from the CCG to the PPG for each question asked and answered up to a maximum of 6 questions.  Question was asked who will manage any income received. Diane advised that the practice would be able to hold it. The first project is a patient questionnaire regarding wasted medicines.  Currently, the reply can only be done by post, questions asked about why it cannot be done online as well.

  1. Engagement:-

Sue, Diana and 2 others PPG Chairs met to discuss how PPG can be more engaged with patients.  The Facebook account seems to have been frozen and Twitter is not being used. Diana asked if any PPG members knew any of the young people from Swadelands School, is could they ask them for their thoughts about going to the surgery without a parent.  We would like to encourage a young person to join the PPG to build a better relationship with young people and gain their views. Jan is going to contact family /friends to ask if the local schools would like to send a representative along to the PPG meetings.

  1. DRUM (Dispensary Review of Use of Medicines) Questionnaire:-

Elaine from Pharmacy advised that this is an annual review carried out on 10% of the patients who are randomly chosen.

  1. Practice Specific Issues:-

How often are prescriptions reviewed?  Dr Taylor said it all depend on the patient but on the whole once a year, or as deemed necessary.

  1. Lenham Festival Stall – Saturday 11th June 2016 :-

A Healthy Living Stand, and Childhood Obesity. Volunteers required for manning the stall.  A leader is required to assist in the running of the day. Sue to contact Paul Clarke from Maidstone Borough Council regarding resources available. Elaine suggested a sugar guessing game competition.

  1. AOB:-

Diana said that on the 2nd Wednesday of each month the Friends of St John’s Church are hosting a Dementia Cafe in the Village Hall at 10am.
Jan said that there is a choir called the Holygans which practice every Friday at 7pm in St Mary’s Church.
Marin: has the practice been visited by the CQC yet? No not yet.
Gio: are the online prescriptions on the Patient access site yet? They are on the website not on Patient Access.

  1. Date of next meeting 25th April 2016

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