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Breaking News
The Practice have managed to secure funding from the PCT to start a renovation project in the Practice. The funding will be used to enhance the reception area for our patients and to make best use of the reception back office for our staff. Upstairs we aim to add an additional 2 consulting rooms by reconfiguring existing space. This will allow us to provide additional services in the Practice for the benefit of our patients e.g. physiotherapy sessions, ultrasound scanning etc. We will be putting a copy of the proposed plans on our website shortly and in our reception area for our patients to view.
(The renovation is almost complete now at the end of August)
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The following suggestion was received from “Mabel and Roy” on 24th October
We wish to make a suggestion – you go back to the old system of allowing patients to book appointments in advance and those that don’t turn up fine them at least £25 unless they have a genuine excuse such as “in hospital” or “death”.

When people telephone at 8.10 am and are told there are no appointments with anyone – it doesn’t seem right. I know you will be seen if it is an emergency and I am not exactly complaining and this is just a suggestion.

Patients with a long standing health problem would like to see the same doctor each time so they can get to know the doctor.

Practice Manager on November 6, 2012 at 11:40 am replied:
I totally agree that it is as frustrating for patients as it is for the staff here at the Practice when patients do not turn up for their appointments. I don’t know whether imposing a fine would work as we would have no jurisdiction to ensure the fine is paid and also appointments are missed for a variety of reasons not only pure forgetfulness. Implementation of text messaging should be helpful as a confirmation is sent as soon as an appointment is made then a reminder sent a few hours before the appointment and it will be interesting to audit the DNA’s (did not attend)patients in a few months. We do ring and write to patients who miss appointments and when any patient makes an appointment our system automatically flags up an alert if that particular patient DNA’d a previous appointment or indeed several appointments – at this point our receptionist would remind them of this fact! The practice is keen to receive feedback and ideas from patients, so thank you for your thoughts and suggestions on this subject

If anyone else who believes that the system does not allow appointments to be booked in advance, could please get in touch with the PPG we would like to look into this problem further because the system is supposed to allow appointments to be able to be booked in advance.
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Flu Clinics
As a direct result of input from the Patient Participation Group the Practice Manager arranged extra flu clinics last week on three afternoons (which were soon booked up by those who cancelled last week and rang to rebook), and the same for next week running flu clinics on Mon, Tues, Weds and Friday afternoons. There are also now small flu clinics (one nurse) on Sat 20th and Sat 27th October. As patients have been in the practice this week they have been being immunised opportunistically and nobody has been turned away when requesting a flu jab.
(Item posted: Friday 12th October 2012)

Speedy Survey
The next Speedy Survey is now well under way and finishes on 23rd November. Last year over 1000 patients completed the quick tick questionnaire and over 500 left detailed comments. As a direct result of this input the new Practice manger was able to put the case for appointing an extra doctor (starting soon), reinstating the childrens’ play area, improving the ability for patients knowing when they are being called by fitting a large information/display screen, bringing the Patient Information Booklet up to date, introducing system changes to reduce waiting time in surgery and improve continuity of Care with the same GP, gather patients mobile phone numbers in preparation for the introduction of a Text Messaging service to try to reduce the number of DNAs (Patients who Do Not Attend) and/or to be able to re-allocate rather than waste appointments no longer needed. For detailed Survey Results click HERE.
(Item posted: Friday 28th September 2012 – updated Friday 16th November)
[There is also a Blog entry for this News Item if you want to comment CLICK HERE]

Happy ……and Healthy Holidays!
Tickets, passport, currency… the usual quick mental check to make sure that you have remembered the essentials before locking the door and rushing off on your long awaited holiday.
Other than remembering to take the aspirin and sunscreen, thinking about keeping healthy on holiday is probably something you take for granted and not give it a second thought. However, to ensure that your two precious weeks in the sun are as relaxed and enjoyable as you anticipate, it is a good idea to set some time aside to think about your health and include some key things into your travel plan.
Travel Insurance
You might think that ‘it won’t happen to me’, but accidents can happen. So ensure that you buy travel insurance, which includes good medical cover and repatriation if you are unfortunate to need it. Hospitalization and the cost of a medical chartered plane can ‘break the bank.’ European Health Insurance Card If you are travelling to another European Economic Area country, the EHIC card will give you access to state provided health care. It does not cover all healthcare costs so you still need additional travel insurance as mentioned above. You can apply for this card online www.dh.gov.uk/travellers, collect an application form from the Post Office or phone the EHIC applications line on 0845 606 2030.
Vaccinations
If you are going to the Tropics, travelling on a gap year or even visiting some forests in the EEA, home to ticks, you should make an appointment with your surgery’s travel clinic to find out if you need Malaria tablets and vaccinations to protect you from Yellow Fever, Smallpox, Typhoid, Tetanus. As you may need a number of vaccinations, you should plan well ahead – at least a couple of months before you leave. Ideally, your consultation should also include a chat about the type of trip you are planning and if there are any additional concerns that need to be considered eg. if you are a diabetic, you are pregnant, have heart condition.
First-aid kit essentials
It is a good idea to pack a simple First-Aid kit, even if all you are planning to do is sit by the pool or some sightseeing. Having your own supplies of familiar medicines at hand will be reassuring and you won’t have the added stress of searching out a local pharmacy and asking for indigestion tablets in a foreign language. Key things to include are: Sunscreen and AfterSun Insect repellent, bite and sting cream Painkillers Indigestion tablets Travel sickness tablets Plasters, bandages Antiseptic Malaria tablets if required Oral rehydration salts and anti-diarrhoea tablets Condoms and other contraception Any prescription drugs you are taking.
Helping yourself to Health – when you are there
Sun: The dangers of too much exposure to the sun are much more widely known, partly because we travel far more to sunny climes such as Australia, which has a catchy slogan: “Slip, slap, slop – slip on a shirt, slap on a hat, slop on some suncream”.
Wearing good sunscreen, is essential almost everywhere, even in cold weather when skiing and being on the water. High factor sun protection cream is a must, thus helping to avoid sunburn and the future skin cancer. Children should always be coated in factor 25 or higher and wear hats. Too much sun can also cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If you suspect someone is suffering with these conditions, then you should cool them with a wet cloth and encourage them to drink water.
Stomach upsets: Most cases will resolve themselves within 48 hours with out the need for a doctor’s visit. The most important thing is to replace the fluids you are losing by drinking lots of bottled or boiled water. Avoid greasy foods and alcohol and re-introduce food that is bland such as salty biscuits, bananas and boiled potatoes. If your condition lasts more than three or four days, then you should seek medical help.

The good news is there is no reason why any of us should fall seriously ill on holiday if we spend a little time preparing and learning how to avoid the most common problems, so enjoy your trip!
Useful websites for further information:
www.fco.gov.uk/travel Foreign and Commonwealth Office www.nathnac.org National Travel Health Network and Centre