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November 2020 – Health and Care Services in Somerset

Open letter to the people of Somerset

October 2020 – Your GP surgery is here for you

GP surgeries are open as usual but we have brought in some changes to make sure that patients and staff are kept safe.

When you need to see a clinician at the practice, please phone us first. Do not attend the practice in person without an appointment as this would compromise the safety for everyone.

If you do think that you may have any of the COVID symptoms i.e. high temperature, new persistent cough and loss of taste and smell, then you must self –isolate immediately and ask for a test. If someone you live with (or someone in your support bubble) gets symptoms again, you must also self-isolate immediately. To arrange a test you should call NHS119 or visit: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

We have seen a big increase in demand for people who are contacting the practice for medical advice or treatment, alongside flu vaccinations and Covid-19, so it’s good to know that there is a range of ways to get help:

• Call us on 01373 830006 to discuss a virtual (telephone or video) appointment
• Use our Patient Access online services or the NHS app to order repeat prescriptions and check your symptoms (online booking of appointments is temporarily suspended)
• Call NHS 111 or go online 111.nhs.uk to seek advice
• Pharmacies can advise on a range of minor ailments or medication queries.

If you are choosing the phone, your GP surgery team are grateful for your patience and understanding. Dr Beaven explains:
“We are receiving a high volume of calls and enquiries at the moment. We know it can be frustrating waiting a long time on the phone, but please be reassured that every one of our patients is important to us and that you will get the help that you need. All of our contacts as doctors are by phone initially now, but if there is a clear need to see someone face to face then we will go on to arrange this. Doctors have always made 80% of their diagnoses from their patient’s history (story) and we can also now arrange to view photographs or have video consultations using your mobile phone, if needed.
If you need urgent healthcare advice or treatment, please don’t delay. Call or visit NHS 111 online, or in an emergency call 999.”

September 2020 – FLU CLINIC DATES SATURDAY MORNINGS & MID WEEK

Many patients are entitled to a free seasonal flu vaccination. This includes patients aged 65 or over, those who are pregnant and those with long-term health problems. Main carers of someone, who is disabled or elderly and whose welfare would be at risk in the event of their carer becoming ill, are also eligible for this free scheme. Children who were 2 or 3 years old on 31st August 2020 are eligible for a free nasal flu vaccine.

Please visit NHS Flu Vaccine for further information.

Please telephone us between 2pm and 5pm on 01373 830006 to make an appointment.

Whilst we’ve received information that all 50-64 year olds may be eligible for a free flu vaccination as part of plans to protect more people against seasonal flu, these free vaccinations will be subject to delivery later in the year.

This allows us to focus on those who are in an at risk group. They will be given priority and offered the vaccine first.

If the programme is extended this is likely to be November or December.

Of course if you wish to access a vaccine prior to this date you can pay to have this at your local pharmacy as in previous years, otherwise please wait for more information.

Living Well Somerset Week 21st – 25th September 2020

Living Well Somerset are running a series of free webinars. Sessions run daily from 21-25 September  from 1-2 pm.

To register, visit Living Well Somerset.

August 2020 – First Contact Physiotherapy

Bone, Joint or Muscle Pain?
See the physiotherapist here! We are now able to offer first contact physiotherapy appointments.
The physio will
• Assess you and diagnose what’s happening
• Give expert advice on how best to manage your condition
• Refer you on to specialist services if necessary
Please speak to reception for further information and to book an appointment.

August 2020 – Dr Loveless Retirement

Dr Richard Loveless is retiring in August. We wish him a long and happy retirement.

Dr Loveless says: Following my retirement from partnership in 2017 it has been a privilege to continue to work in the practice. It is now time for me to hang up my stethoscope and pick up my gardening gloves! I will be finishing during August. I wish you and your families health and happiness during these uncertain times.

July 2020 – ChatHealth

ChatHealth is a new service within the Public Health Nurse Team.

ChatHealth is a confidential text service where teenagers and parents can access advice on their phones. The service can be used for any health/development concern you would usually expect the health visitor or school nurse to support you with.

The ChatHealth line is not an emergency service. It is staffed Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm and is only available by using a UK mobile number.

Confidential help and advice for parents & carers of under 5s – text 07480 635 514
Confidential advice and support for parents of children aged 5-19 – text 07480 635 515
Confidential advice if you are 11-19 and have a concern (you don’t have to give your name if you don’t want to) – text 07480 635 516

Messages are stored on the ChatHealth secure system and can be seen by the School Nursing Team who run the service. Although this is a confidential service, in the event of a safeguarding issue the School Nurse has a duty of care to act on this and may escalate the concern.

June 2020

We are very happy to welcome back Dr Edwards after her maternity leave and pleased to welcome Dr Bailey and Dr Loh.

Dr Matthew Bailey is already a familiar face at the Beckington Family Practice, having worked here for the last 9 months as a locum. He enjoyed it so much, that he has now taken up a permanent post as a salaried doctor. He has recently moved to the area having worked in hospitals and GP practices in Wales, London and Australia. Outside of work, Dr Bailey is busy organising for his wedding and birth of his son. He also loves travelling, cooking, hiking and rugby – watching more than playing these days!

Dr Esther Hwei Loh was born and grew up in Malaysia and speaks English, Mandarin & Bahasa Malaysia fluently. She graduated from Trinity College, University of Dublin in 2006. Dr Loh worked in Ireland for 2 years before moving to England after she got married. She completed her GP training in Bath in 2015. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two school-aged children and likes travelling, dancing and cooking. She looks forward to being part of the Beckington Family Practice team.

April 2020 – Coronavirus

Changes to GP services
GP services have been given a mandate from the NHS to reorganise their services to ensure that patients continue to receive a service. You may already have noticed that we are no longer offering pre-bookable face to face appointments. Instead, a phone call or video consultation takes place first. If necessary you will then be asked to attend for a face to face appointment.
GP services are being reorganised so that patients, who may have COVID-19, are kept separate from patients, who don’t. For example, we are continuing to provide childhood immunisations and it is important this takes place in an environment as free from contamination as possible.
We recognise this may cause some inconvenience to patients and we are grateful for your patience as the NHS grapples with the challenge of COVID-19.

Medication
Please order medicines as normal. There is no need to stockpile medicines. Ordering extra prescriptions and buying more over-the-counter medicines than you need, will contribute to disruption to the medicines supply chain, which is otherwise robust.
Repeat medication can be requested online via Patient Access, over the phone 01373 867987 between 12:00 and 15:00 or repeat scripts posted into the box in the foyer at Beckington surgery.
Please allow 7 days for all repeat medication requests. This is due to the increased demand and physical contact restrictions to protect staff in our dispensary.
Collection of medication at Beckington Surgery – Only two patients are allowed to wait at any time in the waiting room. Please keep other patients and staff safe and keep at least 2m distance to others. The dispensary is open Monday to Friday 8:30-12:00 and 15:00-18:30.

Shielding at home
Some people will receive a letter from the NHS to say they should take extra steps to protect (or ‘shield’) themselves because of an underlying health condition. This is for people who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
If you think you or someone you care is likely to fall into this category please wait for a letter. Although the national guidance says that most people should receive their letters by Sunday 29 March 2020, please note that it is more than likely that it will take a few days longer for letters to arrive at people’s homes.
So please wait until Friday 03 April 2020. If you have not received a letter by then or been contacted by your GP, please call us for advice.

Rescue packs
We have been made aware of some inaccurate information circulating regarding special ‘rescue packs’ for patients with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Please do not contact us for a rescue pack unless this is something you usually have and require one. You should continue to manage your condition in the usual way and if you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19, go to https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 before doing anything else.

Changes to examination practice
The latest guidance advises that throats should not be examined and they should be treated on symptoms only. Please note that our GPs and nurses will no longer be examining anyone’s throat.

March 2020 – Coronavirus – Advice for Patients

If you are a member of the general public concerned about coronavirus, you can read the latest NHS advice by clicking here.

NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.
NHS 111 Online Service

Do not go to a GP surgery or hospital. Follow NHS 111 advice, stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people.

Tell 111 about any recent travel and any symptoms you have.

There are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading.

To protect yourself and others:
• Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Doctor Face to Face Appointments
Please note that we are changing all our doctor face to face appointments to telephone appointments in the first instance. The doctor will ring you and advise.

Online Bookable Appointments
Please note this service is temporarily unavailable.

Medication Supplies
Current national advice is to continue with usual routine amounts of medication to avoid unnecessary sudden shortages. If this changes, escalation plans may include the issue of longer duration prescriptions and increased or total use of electronic prescriptions. WE HAVE NOT yet reached that point and in the meantime have been asked NOT to change this.

 

July 2019 – Dr Alice Edwards Maternity Leave

Many congratulations to Dr Edwards, who has recently delivered twin baby girls. We wish her and her family all the best with the new arrivals!

We welcome Dr Matthew Bailey, who will be covering her maternity leave.

 

July 2019 – Dementia Awareness Alliance and Dementia Friends

Pam Brewster, who is a member of the Patient Participation Group, has recently attended a course and says:

61% of people with dementia think that their community has little or no understanding of how to help them live well. (Stats. from Alzheimer’s Society)

We can change that and help all people to live well!

I am a Dementia Friends Champion – a trained volunteer, who encourages family, friends and the local community to learn a little bit more about dementia and inspire them to help people with dementia live well.

You can be part of the change and help us create a dementia friendly community.

For more information and approximately an hour long session to learn more, please contact: Pam Brewster on 01373 465225

 

June 2019 – Text Messaging

We are now using text messaging to send appointment reminders. The sender will show as ‘NHS-NoReply.

At your next visit to the surgery, please check with the receptionist that we have your correct mobile number.

Soon we will also contact patients with an individual message if appropriate. Text messages will give clear instructions for any actions, we would like you to take.

Should you prefer not to receive text messages, please tell the receptionist.

 

February 2019 – Chronic Disease and Medication Reviews

We are changing our recall system. All patients with one or several of the following chronic conditions are being recalled on a yearly basis, for one (combined) annual review. The recall system covers patients with: Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension (high blood pressure), Atrial Fibrillation, Chronic Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Stroke/TIA, Chronic Kidney Disease, Mental Health, Asthma or COPD.

Patients due for review will receive an appointment invitation letter by post. Please do let us know if you cannot make this appointment so that we can re-schedule it.

At the appointment the health care assistant will carry out different checks (e.g. weight, blood pressure, etc.) and in most cases take blood.

Once this appointment has been attended, a doctor will review the test results and decide if a routine review appointment with the doctor or nurse to discuss the management of the chronic condition should be scheduled.
Please note that repeat prescriptions can only be issued if the doctor is happy that all these important checks have been carried out.

 

October 2018 – Somerset Road Safety Events for the Senior Driver

‘Route 60+’ is a presentation by Somerset Road Safety aimed at senior drivers, with the aim of addressing not only how vehicles have changed over the years, but also how our own driving skills and habits may have changed and how we can go about updating those skills. Driving provides independence and is a skill that should be nurtured for as long as possible. If a driver stops driving for a period of time it is, inevitably, much more difficult to try and start again at a later date and this workshop is designed to help you keep your licence for as long as safely possible. The presentation itself lasts approximately 60 minutes and is designed primarily to help drivers continue their driving career for as long as possible. There are opportunities to talk to members of the road safety team about any driving or road safety concerns you may have. Refreshments are always available and the atmosphere is very relaxed. You don’t even have to be over 60 to come along!
Those attending will receive a free bag including a hi-vis jacket and a copy of the highway code and details of accredited driving instructors will be available should any attendees require further support with their individual driving issues. No need to book. For dates call Somerset Road Safety on 01823 423430 or visit Somerset Road Safety for further information.

September 2018 – Dr Penny North and Dr Rachel Lewis

We are very pleased to welcome Dr Penny North and Dr Rachel Lewis to the practice. Dr North will be working Wednesdays and Fridays and Dr Lewis will be working Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Dr North has lived in the area for over 20 years and has worked as a GP and Community Paediatrician in rural and inner city practices and has helped run the local community hospital in Paulton. She is an honorary teacher for the medical students at Bristol Medical School. Dr North is looking forward to getting involved in all aspects of general practice. When she is not working, Dr North spends her time with her family keeping active, especially walking and sailing, and loves to travel using her foreign language skills.

Dr Lewis grew up in Bath and returned to the area after medical school to complete her GP training. She is looking forward to joining the team at Beckington Family Practice and getting to know the local community. Outside of work Dr Lewis enjoys spending time with her husband and three daughters. When she finds spare time, she likes cycling and painting, and has just started open water swimming.

 

May 2018 – My Diabetes My Way Somerset

There is a new service available for people with diabetes that is available across Somerset.

My Diabetes My Way Somerset is a website for people with diabetes and their carers. It contains information resources that can help you understand more about your diabetes and explains how you can more effectively manage the condition.

In addition to this information, you can also access your diabetes records. Data are collected from your GP notes, hospital diabetes clinic records, eye screening service and laboratory blood tests.

People who use the service say that it improves their knowledge to help them meet goals, improves motivation to make improvements and acts as a reminder for discussions during appointments. The service is not a replacement for your normal care, but helps you to monitor your results before, during and after contacts with your healthcare team.

If you are interested in accessing your diabetes records online, please go to the website and click the ‘Register’ button to securely enrol: My Diabetes My Way

This leaflet shows the types of information you will be able to view. If you wish to find out more about the service before registering, please email the My Diabetes My Way team for more information: somerset@mwdh.co.uk

We hope you find this service useful and the My Diabetes My Way team look forward to hearing from you.

December 2017 – Dr Alice Edwards

We are very happy to welcome Dr Alice Edwards as a permanent doctor. Dr Edwards worked in Oxford, Kenya and the RUH prior to joining the practice. She will be working Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and seeing patients in Beckington and Fromefield surgeries.

Dr Edwards says: “After a very enjoyable Registrar year at Beckington I am delighted to be staying on as a salaried GP. As a Registrar, I really valued the warm and friendly atmosphere at the surgery and look forward to continuing to meet new patients and working alongside a group of very dedicated colleagues.”

 

National Self Care Week 13 – 19 November 2017

‘Embracing self care for life’

With all of us leading busy lives we often neglect things we can do for ourselves or our family. But finding out whom we can ask for advice, or finding some simple information to improve our wellbeing can give us back more control of our lives. This has many benefits for short and long term health and is important as we are living longer.

It might be helpful to consider:

  • Asking and using your pharmacist for advice and managing medicines.
  • Ask your pharmacist for advice to help you self-care for life.
  • Remembering to keep active and healthy eating (see NHS Choices, Live Well) which is key to good physical and mental health.
  • Antibiotics don’t usually work for coughs and colds or a sore throat

There are lots of resources and support that can help you look after yourself and others around you. Health Connections Mendip has a website with details of organisations that can help signpost to relevant local services: Health Connections Mendip

NHS Choices is an online resource that has advice & information on a number of different ailments.
NHS Choices

June 2017 – Frome Community Cars

Providing Transport for those in need

Do you find it difficult to get to medical appointments, visit loved ones or get access to the things you need?

If so Frome Community Cars may be able to help. They have a network of local volunteer drivers who provide lifts within Frome and beyond. A contribution to cover the driver’s expenses is requested, however 50% discounts are available if you have a bus pass. For more information visit Frome Community Cars or give them a ring.

To join for free or to volunteer as a driver, please contact: fromecommunitycars@gmail.com or call 07596 591391

May 2017 – Dr Judith Brooks Retirement

Dr Brooks retired from being a partner at the surgery at the end of April.

Dr Brooks was a doctor at Beckington Family Practice for 30 years and senior partner for 20 years. She has guided the practice successfully through many changes over the years, from moving premises to adjusting to increasing demands on the NHS. Her many years of service have been marked by enthusiasm, dedication and patience.

Dr Brooks loved caring for all her patients over the years and building trusting relationships. She sends best wishes to all her patients in the knowledge that they will be well looked after by the other doctors and staff at the practice.

We will miss her and wish her all the best for the future!

April 2017 – End Loneliness in Mendip

Help reduce loneliness for older people in Mendip.
Help spread the word about support that is available.
Find out about volunteering opportunities.
Pledge an action as an individual or an organisation.
We may not have the answer but together we can make a difference.
For more information visit End Loneliness in Mendip

March 2017 – Dr Vicki Nunn

We are very pleased to welcome Dr Nunn to the practice as a permanent doctor. Dr Nunn will be working Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and seeing patients in Beckington and Fromefield surgeries.

Dr Nunn has previously worked in the RUH and Shepton Mallet and Bath GP practices. She looks forward to getting to know the patients here and becoming part of the friendly team at Beckington. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, music, yoga, water sports and hiking around the local countryside.

 

December 2016 – Health Connections Mendip

Do you want to speak to someone about improving your health and wellbeing? Would you like support in setting goals that are important to you?

Would you like to meet people who are in a similar situation to you?

Would  you like to join support groups or find out about support that can be given by organisations in your community?

Are you interested in volunteering and sharing your knowledge and experience?

All patients registered with Beckington Family Practice have access to Health Connections Mendip.

Ann Collins is the Health Connector based at Beckington Family Practice – you can leave a message for her with reception staff and Ann will contact you.

Find out more about Health Connections Mendip: here