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Latest News

Your Practice Needs You!

In these difficult times for the NHS we have to be able to show the quality of care that we provide. Your opinions are vital in giving a complete picture.

We take your feedback seriously and use it to try and improve the service that we provide for our patients.

If you have had a good experience at the Surgery please use the following ways of giving feedback: 1. NHS Choices Website - visit www.nhs.uk and search St Katherines Surgery to leave a review. 2. GP Survey - these are posted twice a year to a random selection of patients. The survey can look like junk mail but it is important that as many people as possible complete these. 3. Friends and Family Test - this is a new initiative coming out soon and information will be available in reception. If you would recommend us to your friends and family please make sure you that you take part in this survey when asked by the Practice staff.

This is your surgery. Please help us maintain the services that we provide you by giving positive feedback when you have a good experience.  

We have written an article to try to explain how the Primary Care System functions and why there is such a demand on our resources at this time.  Please take the time to read it and click here.


Changes to the Partnership and to Surgery Staff

We should like to welcome Dr Gill Flewers to the Partnership at St Katherines Surgery.  Dr Flewers has been working at the Practice since 2014 as a Salaried GP but she now becomes one of a team of eight Partners.  Her medical interests are Women's Health, Gynaecology, Obstetrics, and Family Planning.  

Some of you may know that Dr Conway has reduced the hours that she works at St Katherines.  Dr Conway has taken a post at St Michael's Hospice but will be working with us at the Practice all day every Monday.  Those patients registered with her have been assigned a new registered GP and should have received a letter informing them of who this is.  Dr Flewers and Dr Wheeler have increased their working hours so that we can maintain the service for our patients.

Dr Carpenter is taking a leave of absence from the Practice but will be returning at the end of February next year.  Meanwhile Dr Hannah Wainman, Dr Sara Moran, Dr Sophie Rivett and the other GPs at the Practice will be looking after Dr Carpenter's patients during this time. 

We would like to warmly welcome the newest members of our Reception Team, Lottie and Phoebe.  We know they will try to get to know you all as quickly as possible.

We are sad to report that Beverley Evans, our Lead Practice Nurse, will be leaving us at Christmas.  Beverley has found an alternative nursing role in her home town which allows her to walk to work rather than have a long drive.  Beverley will be very much missed and has done a fantastic job leading the Nursing Team in the two years that she has been with us.  We wish her well in her new position.

We are also sad to say that Practice Nurse Ellianne Phillips has moved to pastures new.  To replace her, we are very happy to welcome Claire on her return to the St Katherines Surgery Nursing Team.  Claire used to work with us and has also acted as a Locum Nurse more recently.


Winter Bugs

The NHS offers plenty of good advice on how to beat the winter ailments from home without have to see your GP.  One of the simplest ways to avoid getting the 'winter lurgy' is to stay indoors in the warm, rest, drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and eat warm, healthy, wholesome foods.  If you are feeling ill make sure that you let a friend or neighbour know.  The local pharmacies are able to offer confidential help and advice on how to beat winter ailments, which medication to take, or even whether or not they consider that you should see a doctor.

Please remember....

No amount of antibiotics will cure you cold or flu symptoms.  These are caused by a virus and antibiotics are only effective against bacteria.

You do not need antibiotics to for common illness such as coughs and colds.  It is important to understand that to take antibiotics when they are no needed can lead to antibiotic resistance.  It can also lead to unpleasant side effects.  Funds would be saved which could be redirected to other areas.

All colds, and most coughs and sore throats are caused by viruses.  It is very common for children to catch coughs and colds, especially when they start school.  The best way to treat most colds, coughs or sore throats is to rest and to drink plenty of fluids.  There are also medicines available from pharmacies to ease the symptoms, such as paracetamol.  If symptoms persist, or worsen to include breathlessness or chest pains, or if you are very concerned, then arrange to see your doctor - but please do not assume  you will be prescribed antibiotics.  

Antibiotics are medicines used to resist infections caused by bacteria.
Resistance happens when bacteria 'adapt' and find a way to survive the effects of an antibiotics.

If antibiotics are used repeatedly they will no longer kill those bacteria.

But if we use antibiotics only when necessary, this will slot the development of resistance.  We would have more time to develop new antibiotics to which the bacteria (for a while) would have no resistance.  This is especially important because in recent years fewer new antibiotics have been discovered.  If you are prescribed antibiotics, be sure to take the full course.  If all the bacteria are not killed the ones that are left can develop resistance.  


Stay Well this Winter and Keep Warm

NHS England and Public Health England have launched a new campaign to encourage people most at risk from the cold weather, including those with long-term health conditions and the over 65, to prepare for the lower temperatures.  About 25,000 people die each winter compared with other times in the year.  80% of these deaths are of people suffering with circulatory diseases (such as heart disease, lung illnesses and stroke), dementia and respiratory diseases (such as asthma).  

Exposure to cold indoor or outdoor temperatures increases blood pressure, thereby increasing the risk of heart failure, kidney disease, stroke or dementia.  Cold temperatures can also make blood more likely to clot, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke.  Cold can also affect the respiratory system which then reduces the lung's ability to fight infections.  This explains why lower temperatures are often linked with bronchitis and pneumonia.

Professor Paul Cosford, Director for Health Protection and Medical Director at Public Health England writes:

'Throughout the cold weather, looking out for yourself and others is essential to keeping healthy.  With winter on the way, now is a good time to make sure you, and those yo know who may be particularly at risk from the cold, are as prepared as possible.  If you qualify for the free flu jab, get it now.  Also, remember that eating a healthy, balanced diet and that staying physically active can keep you healthy.  There are a variety of ways you can apply for help to keep your house warm such as Winter Fuel Payments, Warm Home Discounts and Cold Weather Payments.  If you meet the criteria, register for priority service with your energy and water suppliers.  Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18 degrees celsius (65 degrees fahrenheit), particularly if you find it hard to get around, have a long-term condition or are 65 or over.  You may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer.  Make sure your gas, solid fuel and oil burning appliances are serviced by a registered engineer so that they are working effectively and safely before the winter sets in.  If we all look out for each other this winter we can really make a difference.

These are important points to remember for keeping warm and staying well this winter:

  • Make sure, if you are eligible, that you have your flu vaccination
  • Keep your home warm - at least 18C (65F) is recommended
  • Use a hot water bottle or electric blanket - but not both at the same time!
  • Eat well - have nourishing meals regularly throughout the day and hot drinks
  • Stay active - try not to sit still for more than 1 hour, get up and move about
  • Wear warm clothes - several thin layers (cotton, wool or fleecy fibres) are better than one thick layer.
  • Wear shoes with good grip - these will help to prevent skips and falls on icy ground
  • Help your neighbours this winter - check on older friends and relatives
  • Check if you are eligible for cold weather benefits such as winter fuel payment and cold weather payment at www.gov.uk.
  • For more information please visit http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/winterhealth/pages/keepwarmkeepwell.aspx.

A Successful Flu Clinic and Still Counting!

We have now held all of our Saturday Influenza Vaccination clinics; again these were a great success.  So far, we have vaccinated nearly 2500 patients to protect them against contracting the most common strains of influenza.  

Flu vaccination remains the most effective way of protecting yourself and others in your community from the spread of the Influenza Virus.  This virus can cause complications in those who suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes, immunosuppression, neurological conditions and respiratory conditions like COPD and Asthma.  

If you have received an invitation but missed our Saturday clinics please telephone reception to arrange an appointment with one of our nurses for you to have this vaccination.

Please note - if you would normally not be eligible for a flu vaccination but are the main carer for a family member or friend you are eligible to receive it, free, at St Katherines.  Be sure to let us know that you are a carer so that we can update your medical record accordingly; this will ensure you are invited for vaccination next year.  It will also signpost you towards help and support which you may be interested in which is provided by Herefordshire Carers Support. 


Wellbeing Information and Signposting for Herefordshire (WISH)

WISH is a registered charity developed in partnership between Herefordshire Council and Services for Independent Living.  It is for the residents of Herefordshire to use as a signposting service to the varying activities, services and information available in the county.  It offers information and advice for both adults and children; these vary from accommodation, activities, advice and advocacy, carers, equipment, health and wellbeing, keeping safe, support at home, transport and understanding social care.

WISH is available as a website, to be found at www.wisherefordshire.org and has an office in St Peter's Street, Hereford.  Telephone 01432 383880.  Opening times 9.30 - 5pm on Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri; 9.30 - 6.30pm on Wed; 10 - 4pm on Sat.  A move is planned to the Library in Broad Street, Hereford, in February.  


A Five Year Plan for Health and Care Services in Herefordshire

Last December NHS England outlined a new approach to ensure that health and care services are built around the needs of local populations.  To do this, every health and care system in England must produce a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), showing how local services will work over the next five years - ultimately delivering better health, better patient care and improved NHS efficiency.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire (including all NHS health providers and commissioners and the two County Councils) have produced a joint plan which is now in draft form and ready for a three-month public consultation.  It is important that members of the public have their say about this plan because it will shape our health and social care over the next five years.  

You can read more about the STP, including a copy of the draft plan by going to http://www.hacw.nhs.uk/yourconversation or ask to see a copy at Ledbury Library.  The St Katherines Surgery Patient Group will be discussing the plan and asking patients for their views in order to submit a response to Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.  


Shingles and Pneumococcal Vaccinations

Are you eligible for either a Shingles Vaccination or a Pneumococcal Vaccination free on the NHS?  If you were either aged 70, 71, 72, 73 or 78 or 79 on the 1st September 2016 you are eligible to receive a vaccination to protect you against Shingles.  

If you are aged over 65 or suffer from a chronic condition such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, splenic dysfunction or a compromised immune system you are eligible to have a vaccination to protect you against Pneumonia.  For more information on either of these vaccinations you can speak to a receptionist, book in to see a Practice Nurse, or visit our website.  


Ear Syringing

Demand for this service has increased but it is not a first line treatment and as reported in previous St Katherines Surgery Newsletters, has never been a part of GP contracts with NHS England.  

The National Commissioning Framework for Hearing Loss Services is now in place.  Leaflets explaining self-care are available which give advice, guidance and support.  However, the Care Commissioning Group (CCG) for Herefordshire is working with the Audiology Department to see if a new service based in the market towns to provide accessible and tailored care would be possible.  The CCG will consult with Patient Groups on this and we will keep you informed.  

If you would like information about ear wax and products available over the counter please read our 'Ear Care Guidance' leaflet which is available to collect from Reception or by clicking Ear Care Guidance.  Advise on over the counter products can be sought from a pharmacist.  

Another option is to find a private provider.  (However, St Katherines Surgery cannot take any responsibility for the services given by a private provider).  

  • Worcester Hearing Centre (5 Cornmarket, Worcester, WR1 2DR, 01905 627803)
  • Scott Wroe Hearing (74 Barnards Green Road, Malvern, WR14 3LY, 01905 566449)

Practice Nurse Minor Illness Clinics

One of the ways that you can help us to make the most of the resources we have is to see an appropriate healthcare professional.  The Surgery is now running nurse-led minor illness clinics.  This service is known to be an efficient way of dealing with certain minor ailments which do not necessarily need to be seen by a doctor.  It can reduce the time you are waiting to be seen whilst allowing GPs to see patients with more complex needs.

When you request an urgent 'on the day' appointment the Receptionist will ask you the nature of your problem.  This is so that they can direct you to the most appropriate healthcare professional to deal with your ailment.  

The types of ailments our nurses can deal with are:

Cough      Ear Ache      Sore Throat     Hay Fever    Rashes     Bites (cat, dog, insect)     Skin infections     Exacerbation of asthma or COPD      Post-operative wound problems    Urine infection     Constipation

All children under 2 years old will be seen by a GP

Please be reassured that if you are directed to the nurse-led minor illness clinic and she considers that a second opinion is needed she will ask the doctor to come in and review you.


Invitations for Long Term Condition Reviews

If you are diagnosed with a long term condition such as asthma, diabetes, COPD, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, coronary heart disease or you have suffered a stroke in the past then you are entitled to an annual review with the Practice Nurse.

The system that we use for recall is changing - you will now be invited to make an appointment for your annual review in the month of your birth for a review of all of your long term conditions at the same time.  This will reduce the number of appointments that you need.  It might mean that you are called for your review a little earlier, or a little later, than you were expecting.  

Like any system there have been, and will continue to be, a few teething problems but please be patient with us while we hone the system to get it working efficiently.

If you ever have any concerns about your health you do not need to wait for an invitation - see a GP or Nurse about your long term condition whenever you need to.


PPG Membership From the Chairman

We have recently reviewed the PPG Constitution and brought it up-to-date.  You will find a copy on the Patient Participation Tab on this website.  We still wish to recruit new members onto the PPG Committee.  We welcome all, but are particularly keen to hear from people under the age of 60.  If you are interested and want to find out more, please pass your contact details to the Receptionist at the Surgery and/or ask for a copy of our information leaflet and application form and we will get in touch with you.


Online Services  

Did you know that you can register for ‘online’ Services through the Patient Access website? The Patient Access website allows you to:

  •          Order your repeat prescriptions online and check when they have been issued
  •          Book and/or cancel your appointments
  •          Update your contact details
  •          View a basic section of your medical record – medications and allergies and adverse reactions.

To register, please visit Reception with photographic ID (passport or driving licence). The receptionist will then provide you with a registration letter to complete the process.


Appointment System made easy

Yes – you can pre-book your appointments to fit round work and school. Please ask at Reception for the

book-ahead availability. Our appointments open on a rolling release system and our receptionists will always be happy to advise you of the best time to ring to secure an appointment with a particular GP.

Yes – you can organise evening or weekend appointments.  Extended GP Services are available through the Taurus Healthcare hubs.

Yes – we will always assist you with making the best of the appointment system. We understand that it can be frustrating for patients to make an appointment and our receptionists are always on hand to assist you.   

Yes – we will always make provision to see you if it is an urgent medical problem. If someone has an urgent medical problem which cannot wait we will always make provision for them to be seen by a GP. You can help us ensure that we always have provision to see these patients by booking any routine appointments in advance; this would allow the duty doctor to be available for urgent problems only. 

Yes – we will tell you the days each GP works.  This information is available on the St Katherine’s Surgery website and in our Practice Leaflet; copies of these can be found in any of the Surgery leaflet racks.


Want to see a GP at the weekend?.....Well now you can with Taurus Healthcare!

Taurus Healthcare Ltd is a company that has been set up by the GPs of Herefordshire to provide additional medical services to patients.   Taurus were successful with their bid for the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund and there are now 3 Primary Care Hubs open in the County that provide GP and Practice Nursing services to all Herefordshire patients during the evenings and weekends.

This means that all Herefordshire patients have access to a Primary Care Service offering both GP and Nurse appointments 7 days a week between 8am and 8pm!

The hubs are staffed by local GPs and Nurses who will, with your permission, be able to access your medical records , thereby offering you continuity of care.

To make an appointment to see either a GP or Nurse at one of the hubs you need to telephone reception here at St Katherines Surgery. The receptionists will then check the availability at the hubs and book your appointment for you.   This is not a walk-in-service, it is by appointment only so please do not travel to one of the hubs without making an appointment first.   For more information please ask our Receptionists.

The hub locations are in Ross-on-Wye, Leominster and Hereford.  The Hereford Hub is open between 6pm and 8pm weekday evenings and between 8am and 8pm at weekends.  The Ross and Leominster hubs are open between 10am and 2pm at weekends.   

We are very pleased to be able to offer our patients this service in Herefordshire as an addition to the current Out of Hours Services.


Accessing Other Out of Hours Services and Who to Contact in an Emergency

  • Hereford GP Access Centre - based beside the ASDA Store in Hereford. The GP Access Centre offers a walk in clinic between 8am and 8pm 365 days of the year. There is no need to make an appointment.   Tel: 0330 1239309 Web: www.herefordshiregpaccesscentre.nhs.uk
  • NHS 111 - if you need medical advice, but it is NOT a 999 emergency, phone dial 111 to contact NHS 111.   Calls are free and the telephone lines are available 24 hours a day 365 days a year.  
  • Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) - we have a MIU unit at Ledbury Community Health and Care Centre and there is now also one in Malvern Community Hospital.   The MIU unit in Ledbury is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year and can provide urgent treatment for cuts, sprains, burns and the like.
  • Accident and Emergency (A+E) - if you need urgent treatment for a problem that is not life threatening, such as a broken bone, visit your A+E Department at Hereford County Hospital or Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
  • 999 - only phone 999 for a life threatening medical problem such as loss of consciousness, bleeding that will not stop, persistent severe chest pain, breathing difficulties etc.  

Remember - Pharmacists are an important resource for advice You can visit a pharmacy without an appointment for advice and guidance on minor illness, injuries, allergies, bites, stings, medicinal advice, coughs, colds and much more!


 

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