PPG Newsletter - Spring 2024 edition





Welcome to our latest Newsletter

The PPG (Patient Participation Group) is working with the surgery to ensure your voice and views are heard. We ran a wellbeing day at the surgery last year which had a good attendance.
As it was so successful we have organised another day on the 9th of May between 10am and 2pm We look forward to seeing you there and enjoying a cup of tea or coffee and some nice nibbles. There will be several organisations in attendance to help with various health problems.

We have an email address where you can contact us with any surgery, hospital, or other health queries you may have, and we have been able to assist several patients or we have signposted them to the correct authority. priorvgardensppg@gmail.com

We look forward to hearing from you and assure you that all emails are confidential.

I hope you all have a healthy Summer,

Linda Grant
Chair PPG


Accessing surgery services

The Telephone, Anima and Reception Desk systems are provided to enable you to communicate with the surgery effectively, in a fair and orderly way. In this fast changing world, exactly how these systems work are continually being refined.

The fact that they change is a sign that the surgery is attentive to changing needs and capabilities. When using the systems, patients should take note of the guidance given at the point of use as this may have changed since they were last used.

Generally, the services are only operational during the open hours of the surgery. An exception would be the voicemail capability of the phone in option that lets you cancel an appointment at any time.
The principle is that all contact is potentially urgent until the situation has been determined to be otherwise. Outside of normal surgery hours therefore, patients are referred to 111 which is manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Earlier this year the telephone call centre was brought back in house and now maximum wait times are less then 15 minutes.


Repeat Dispensing

For some repeat prescriptions patients are now ablw=e to ask the pharmacy to dispense them directly without needing to contact the surgery. They should call the pharmacy directly by phone or in person and agree a collection time.

The applicable items are set up by the surgery and are indicated on the medication details of your online account.


Pharmacy First Advanced Service

This new national service is now slowly taking off.

More details

It details which conditions that can be treated and what patient age ranges are applicable.


Coffee Mornings

Monday 17th June 10am to 2pm

Following the success of our first Wellbeing coffee morning last December we are pleased to invite you to another.

More details



Healthwatch Central Bedfordshire's community engagement programme, 'Just Ask', was held in Dunstable on Friday, 19th April at Asda 9am to 1:30pm.

We were joined on the day by representatives from:

Bedfordshire & Luton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Central Bedfordshire Council


Wellbeing - Mental Health Support

The Lighthouse

This is part of NHS care available in our community for mental health and is based in Leighton Buzzard. This beacon of comfort shines a light to let you know support for your mental health is out there. If all you need is 'a kind word, reassurance and a cup of tea' then this is the place to visit but it is so much more if you need it.

A user commented, "You are not judged from that very first step through the door. People are friendly, welcoming and the kettle is always on. The mood is relaxed, activities are arranged and it has an atmosphere of support. The highly professional qualified mental health staff are there to advise and support. Their listening skills are exceptional. Their support was huge and enabled me to move forward and not feel alone."

You might be in crisis, lonely or need some advice for yourself or someone you love.

You don't need to be diagnosed with a mental health condition or need a referral. Just come along...

Everyone is welcome!

Find them at:

Whichello's Wharf
The Elms
Stoke Road
Leighton Buzzard



Missed Appointments

With increasing numbers of patients and appointments, the surgery is finding that the numbers of DNAs (Did not attend) continues to increase.

Please as a courtesy to others make every effort to cancel unwanted appointments. It is very easy to do by phone and no waiting is involved.

Missed appointments do not go unnoticed, and if you get a reminder about a future appointment (which costs time and money) it can mean you have been selected as a repeat offender.

You may also have been thankful to get an appointment as a result of a last minute cancellation by another patient.

Disruption in the corridors


The corridors outside the consulting rooms are seen by toddlers as being exciting play areas.

As you may appreciate it is disruptive to allow children to wander freely, sometimes entering occupied rooms.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding


Our 1st anniversary in the hub

Celebrating One Year in Our New Home

A Milestone for Priory Gardens Surgery

Our new premises have truly transformed the way we deliver care. Boasting 22 clinical rooms, three spacious waiting areas, and the co-location of 13 additional services, including crucial support for mental health and community nursing, we've expanded our capacity to serve you better than ever before.

We have also provided additional disabled parking spaces close to the building for our patient's convenience along with free parking for patients.

With the addition of six new clinicians, our dedicated team has grown to 22 strong, ensuring that we can meet your healthcare needs with expertise and compassion.




Over the past year, we've been tirelessly committed to improving accessibility, convenience, and the overall patient experience. Whether it's through streamlined appointment scheduling, innovative telehealth options, or collaborative care initiatives, our goal remains unwavering: to provide comprehensive, patient-centred healthcare that empowers you to live your healthiest life.

We're immensely proud of the progress we've made, but none of it would be possible without the ongoing support and trust of our patients and the dedication of our incredible staff. As we look ahead to the future, we're excited to continue evolving, adapting, and innovating to ensure that Priory Gardens Surgery remains a beacon of excellence in healthcare for our community.


Statistical Reports

This chart shows that in 2019 pre Covid there were an average of 4588 patient appointments available per month.

Moving forward to 2023 the figures show that there was an average of 7175 appointments per month available for our patients which is a 56.3% increase.

Missed Appointments

Unfortunately, the number of patients who failed to turn up for their appointments has also increased.

In 2019 there were 3130 appointments missed by patients and in 2023 this number has risen to 3880 which is a 23% increase in patients who have made an appointment and failed to attend.

This number of patients missing appointments puts a strain on the service that we are trying to provide. Of course we understand that there may be occasions when you cannot make the appointment that you have made but we do urge you to contact the surgery before you miss the appointment, we then may be able to offer that appointment to another patient who really needs it and it also means that we do not have clinician's waiting around with nothing to do.


Registered Patients

Since we have moved to the Hub building we have seen an increase in the number of patients registered us.

In 2019 we had 14379 patients registered with the surgery and by 2023 this number has risen to 18319 patients. The population is growing and our surgery has grown to meet this demand with the new building with more consulting rooms and an increased number of staff available to help our patients. You can see the breakdown of our staffing structure in another section of the newsletter.


Surgery Services - Latest Information about the Surgery

This page provides web links to standard information about the surgery provided by the PPG.

The information is updated on an ongoing basis.


Healthwatch Report

Part of the local Healthwatch programme is to carry out Enter & View visits. Local Healthwatch representatives carry out these visits to health and social care services to find out how they are being run and make recommendations where there are areas for improvement.

The Health and Social Care Act allows local Healthwatch authorised representatives to observe service delivery and talk to service users, their families and carers on premises such as hospitals, residential homes, GP practices, dental surgeries, optometrists and pharmacies.

Our surgery was visited in December and the resultant report was welcomed by the surgery. The report contains a formal response from the surgery.


Contact the PPG Team

You can contact the PPG Team using the link below.

Published: May 29, 2024