Practice News (Winter, 2017/18)

1. Staff Hellos and Goodbyes

Regrettably we said goodbye to:
Anne Phillips resigned as Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Manager on 29th December, 2017, to take up an appointment in Stanley Health Centre. Anne made an invaluable contribution to the development of the nursing team having worked in the practice for over twelve years. We hope she is finding the challenges of her new post to be both exciting and rewarding. We will miss her but wish her all the very best for the future.

We are pleased to welcome the following staff to the practice team:
Yvette Lamb and Adele Panter joined the practice as Practice Nurses (part-time) on 5th and 28th February, 2018, respectively. Yvette brings previous experience of having worked in general practice as a practice nurse, and as a nurse in the private/independent sector. Adele joins the practice having been a Career Start Practice Nurse. She has previous experience in School Nursing and in secondary care. Both nurses are very keen to develop their skills in practice nursing and the practice is keen to support them in doing so.

2. Extended hours

The practice continues to provide additional appointments on a Saturday morning from
8.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m., at the University Health Centre. These appointments are with practice clinicians and are bookable in advance through reception. Please note that there is no telephone access to the practice on a Saturday morning.

3. GP Extended Access

In addition to the practice’s extended opening hours on a Saturday morning (see above), the Central Durham GP Federation provides “GP Extended Access” during weekday evenings and at weekends from the Meadowfield Surgery as follows:

  • Monday – Friday 6.30 p.m. – 9.00 p.m.
  • Saturday 8.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
  • Sunday 8.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.

These appointments are available to patients from all practices in the Durham locality. They are for non-emergency consultations and can be pre-booked by patients through their own practice’s reception team. They are provided by GPs and nurses in the local area who have expressed an interest in providing additional sessions. It is important to note that at these appointments the GP or nurse will only have access to basic patient information e.g. name, address, d.o.b., NHS number, current medication, allergies, etc. If you require a hospital referral this will be requested from your own practice and involve a repeat consultation with a GP at your own practice. This service is not, therefore, considered suitable for patients who require a referral.

3. Text messaging update

The practice recently introduced a patient text messaging system which allows two way communications between the practice and patients’ mobile phones. As well as sending appointment confirmations it also sends appointment reminders to patients giving them the opportunity to text back to cancel their appointment if unable to attend. To-date the system has helped to greatly reduce the practice’s DNA (did not attend) rate and freed up a lot of appointments for patients which previously would have been wasted if patients did not inform us they were unable to attend.

The practice is now starting to use the messaging system to remind patients to attend the practice for their flu vaccinations and diabetic/asthma/COPD reviews, etc.

Please let us know if your mobile phone number changes so we can contact you on the correct number. Please also let us know if you don’t want to be sent text reminders.

4. Home visits

In general, we ask that patients only request a home visit if they are genuinely housebound and/or too unwell to come to the surgery. Requests may be made by telephoning the surgery reception preferably before 10.00 a.m. Visits are usually undertaken by a doctor after morning surgery. You may, however, be contacted by the Duty Doctor following your request to gain more information regarding your request.

Please note that it is preferable for patients to attend the surgery if able as their computerised records and some pieces of medical equipment are only available at the surgery. In addition, the doctor can usually see several patients at the surgery in the time that it takes to make a single house-call.

5. Duty Doctor

Our GPs take turns in being “Duty Doctor” each week day. The Duty Doctor deals with urgent matters and problems which patients believe cannot wait until the next available routine appointment. If you feel your problem is urgent and cannot wait, please let the receptionist know who will liaise with a practice clinician. Depending on the nature of your problem the Duty Doctor may offer a telephone consultation, face to face consultation with a GP or nurse, or may offer a home visit. Please note, the practice will always see urgent cases on the same day but this could involve waiting.

6. Patient Participation Group

Members of the Patient Participation Group (PPG) are volunteers who work with the practice to represent patients, offering views on the services and facilities that are provided. The Patient Participation Group meets bi-monthly with every second meeting being held with the Practice Manager and other practice representatives.

No training is required to become a member of our PPG. The most important thing is that you are keen and focused on taking positive action to help the practice. If you are interested in getting involved, please ask for a Patient Participation Group leaflet from reception.