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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 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.

Surgery Staff News

We would like to warmly Zoe, the newest addition to St Katherine's Surgery.  Zoe is our Reception Supervisor and will be working in the Reception office with the team - so you will see her behind the front desk and speak to her on the telephone.  Zoe has experience of managing in a busy environment having previously worked on the switchboard at Hereford County Hospital.

We reported in our last Newsletter that Beverley Evans, our Lead Nurse, was moving to pastures new in a Practice much closer to her home town.  We are very pleased to report that she has stayed with us; she remains at our Practice in the role of Lead Nurse.  This was great news to begin the year and we are sure that you will as happy as we are that we still have Bev!

Introduction of our Rapid Access Clinic

We are now running a Rapid Access Clinic to ensure that those patients with urgent medical problems see the right person quickly.  The clinics are run by a Doctor and a Nurse.  If you request an urgent or same day appointment the Receptionist will need you to provide basic details about the nature of your problem so that you can be booked with the most appropriate clinician.  Please do not be offended by their questioning, this is at the request of the GPs and will help us to prioritise those patients who need medical care most urgently.

Requesting a Phone Call from the GP

It is Practice policy to triage calls to ensure that problems are dealt with in a timely fashion by the appropriate person.  On the instructions of the GP, the Receptionist will always ask you to provide basic details about why you need to speak to a doctor.  This is so that you can be directed to the right person to answer your query quickly. 

The GPs will prioritise phone calls based on the reason that has been given by the patient.  If you do not provide a reason for your call it will be graded as the lowest priority and you therefore may not receive a call back on the same day as your request.

We operate a Telephone Queue System

If you telephone the Practice and find that your call is not answered immediately please stay on the line, do not put the phone down to try again.  We now operate a call queuing system which means that your call will be answered by one of our Receptionists as soon as they become free.  If you put the phone down and try again you will be put back to the end of the queue - so will therefore wait even longer for your call to be answered.

We always try to answer calls to the Practice as quickly as we can but I am sure you will appreciate that at times the telehpone lines are very busy, particularly at 8am in the morning.  For this reason we ask that you call us only then if you have an urgent medical problem for which you need to make an appointment on the day.  If you require a routine appointment please telephone after 9am when our phone lines are much quieter.  Alternatively, you can sign up for our Online Services, Patient Access, where you can book appointment ahead and also order your repeat prescriptions.  To register for this service please visit Reception with a form of photographic identification.

Sustainability and Transformation Plans - How will these affect you?

Sustainability and Transformation Plans, or STPs, are five-year plans for NHS spending and budgets across England.   They are designed to help bridge the £30bn funding deficit.  

England has been divided into 44 areas and the NHS organisations and Local Authorities in each are to work together to re-organise NHS services to make efficiency savings and to find new ways of delivering care. 

Herefordshire and Worcestershire have collaborated to write the STP which will directly impact upon healthcare in Ledbury.  It covers 780,000 people in both counties over a large rural geographical area.  Each STP is to be tailored to meet the needs specific to the population; it will cover services from cancer care to community services and seek to overhaul the way that you interact with your GP by making the most of developing technologies.

The STPs also show a move away from the competitive model that NHS services have been based on for decades with a move towards a more collaborative effort from organisations to provide integrated care.  The Herefordshire and Worcestershire draft STP lays out the following vision for 2020: 'We will make care boundaries invisible to people using our services by removing operational boundaries between organisations and we will ensure that coproduction is embedded in everything we do.'  Performatnce will no longer be measured in each individual organisation but rather across the STP area as a whole, taking account both health and social care.

The STPs will aim to empower patients to take more control over their own healthcare.  They will focus more upon preventative medicine which will help to keep people healthy for longer.  NHS services will be redesigned so that they are no longer reactive and hospital-based but are focused upon local care from your GP and community services.

As far as is possible care will be provided close to people's homes and this will be carefully balanced with the need to consolidate services for 'quality, safety and cost effectiveness'.  The STP plans also suggests an increase in the variety of healthcare professionals contributing to patient care by introducing pharmacists, paramedics and physicians' assistants to the Primary Care teams.

At the moment the STPs have been published in draft form and the Clinical Commissioning Organisations (CCGs) have been seeking early feedback from patients and healthcare professionals to help them develop the final documents.  The development of the final STPs will take place over the summer and then formal consultations will be organised with the public prior to changes being made to services.

It is really important that you get your feedback heard regarding the changes proposed in the STP documents.  Please keep your eyes open for any consultation periods, engagement events, road shows or questionnaires that may give you an opportunity to tell the CCG what, as a patient in Herefordshire, you feel about the content of the STP.  As surgery staff we will keep you as up to date as we can and our PPG are making sure to get involved wherever possible to represent the St Katherine's Surgery patient viewpoint.  

Booking in to Taurus

Taurus Healthcare Ltd is a company set up by the GPs of Herefordshire to provide additional medical services.  One of these services is to offer routine GP and Practice Nurse appointments to all Herefordshire patients during the evenings and at weekends.  

This will improve access to healthcare across the county.  The Taurus 'Hubs' are staffed by local GPs and Nurses who, with your permission, are able to access your medical records, thereby offering continuity of care.  The hubs are:

Hereford Hub: open during the week, 6pm - 8pm; weekends 8am - 8pm 
Wargrave House Surgery, 23 St Owen Street, Hereford, HR1 2JB

Ross Hub: open weekends, 10am - 2pm
Pendeen Surgery, Kent Avenue, Ross-on-Wye, HR9 5AH

Booking via St Katherines Surgery

To make an appointment at one of the Taurus hubs please telephone St Katherine's Surgery and speak to the Receptionist.  Our Receptionists can immediately check the availability at each of the hubs and book an appointment for you as you wait.  You will be able to choose the hub you prefer and the time of appointment to suit you.  

Booking via NHS 111

Similarly NHS 11 can make an appointment directly with a hub on your behalf and confirm this as you wait.  Please note that the Hubs are an appointment only service.  They cannot be used as a 'walk-in' clinic - so please do not travel to the hubs without having first arranged an appointment.

Prescription Requests

Repeat prescriptions can be ordered online via the Patient Access website, for more information please ask at Reception about signing up for online services.  You can also complete the slip that you are given at the pharmacy when you collect your medication.  This slip can be brough into Reception, posted in the post box by our front door, or posted to us - although you must, please, include a stamped addressed envelope for us to return the issued prescription to you.  

Please note that we do not take prescription requests over the phone.  This is Practice policy and is under the instruction of the GPs for safety reasons.  We take all possible measures to reduce the risk of prescription errors and studies have proven that taking prescription requests over the phone is a common cause of mistakes.

Why it is important to check your medicines from the pharmacy...

The cost to the NHS of unused medications is vast and it is important for patients to realise that any medications returned to the pharmacy cannot be reused, even if the packet has not been opened.  As soon as the medication is dispensed to you it belongs to you and cannot be given to another patient.  Pharmacists advise that you should check your medication/s before leaving their premises.  If you discover that they are incorrect, they can immediately be handed back over the counter - and therefore do not become 'wasted medication'.  

So please check your drugs before leaving the pharmacy.  Remember that none can be re-used if they have left the premises and if you wait until you arrive home to check the contents of your pharmacy bag it is already too late!

N.B. If you have medicines at home which you no longer use, please return them to the pharmacy.  This is the only safe and secure way for you to dispose of them.  You should not put unused medications into the bin and you should never pass them on to anyone else to use.

Text Messaging Service

We will be introducing a text messaging service for our patients in the near future.  We kindly as that if you are interested in receiving information from the Practice via text, make sure that we have your up to date mobile telephone number.  When you contact the Practice you may find that you are asked to confirm your mobile telephone number for this reason.  If you do not wish to be sent information by text message you can opt out of this service by speaking to one of our Receptionists who will then update your record accordingly.

PPG Annual Report

We have just published the annual report for 2016/17 for our Patient Participation Group.  This includes information about the activities undertaken by the group in the last year and about their planned activities for the coming year.  

Download a copy of the report here.

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.

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:
  • 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! 

Health News from the BBC and the NHS

BBC Health
NHS Choices Behind the Headlines
Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergencyNHS ChoicesThis site is brought to you by My Surgery Website