Health Connections Out of Hours News

Priory Medical Centre, Wells, Somerset, BA5 1XJ

Tel: 01749 601 333

Contact Details

SURGERY NEWS

Flu Clinics 2022-23

Our first flu clinic has been arranged to take place on the 1st of October 2022. As with previous years we will be contacting all eligible patients with instructions on how to book your appointment. Please do not call us before you have received your letter as we will not be able to book anything in. If you are not able to attend on the 1st please do not worry, we will be arranging a second clinic in the following weeks. 

For morning information on the flu vaccine please visit Flu vaccine - NHS

 

Recruitment

We're recruiting! Please see our recruitment page for more details. 

 

Appointment availability  

As many of you will have seen we have been publishing data over the last year which shows the volume of work we are dealing with each quarter. We do this not only to keep you informed but also to try and explain why we sometimes cannot meet patient expectations, despite our best efforts.

Most recently we are struggling to provide enough routine appointments to meet patient demand and despite recruiting another GP we currently have a 4 week wait for a non-urgent appointment with a GP. This wait will likely be longer if you prefer to see a specific GP.

Please be assured that it is not just Wells City Practice that is having this issue, many other practices in the area, and around the country are also in the same position. This is not only due to a national shortage of GPs but also to do with patients having to wait longer for hospital appointments. If you have to wait longer for treatment for a condition or injury, you are more likely to feel the need to see a GP in the interim.

If you feel you have an urgent need to see a GP, then you will be put on our duty triage board and a duty GP will telephone you the same day. If during that call the GP feels that you need to be seen that day, then they will organise that for you. Our Duty team had over 90 patient contacts on Monday alone.

We are doing the very best we can for you and our receptionists are dealing with a massive amount of telephone calls, every day, from patients wanting an appointment. Our reception team are extremely resourceful and if they can’t find a suitable appointment for you, within your preferred timescale, they may be able to offer alternative suggestions, such as a pharmacy referral or using the online consultation system or even the possibility of ringing later in the week as there may have been a cancellation.

In recent weeks our reception team have been experiencing more unpleasant treatment from patients during telephone calls. Please can we ask that you treat them in a way you would want to be treated and if you are dissatisfied with their response to a request, please ask to be put through to one of the practice management team.

 

You can now check-in for you appointment using your smartphone!

On arrival to your appointment, simply scan the QR code on display in reception and follow the link for instructions. The benefits of self check-in are that you don't need to queue at the reception desk or check in screen, you have more privacy and its more hygienic as you dont have to interact with public property.

Watch this short video for more information

 

Mindline and Crisis Safe Space

Mindline supports patients with mental health problems, there is a confidential local helpline for everyone in Somerset open 24 hours a day every day. Crisis offers one-to-one appointments for residents in Somerset who are really struggling with their mental health, all sessions are run locally in Somerset.

If you need support call Mindline Somerset locally on 01823 276892, freephone 0800 138 1692 or email support@openmentalhealth.org.uk.

Somerset's Mental Health Alliance

 

General Practice Access Routes

There are three ways to get in touch with us at this GP practice.

 It’s no secret that our surgeries have been busier than ever. That’s why there are now more ways to get in touch with us. You can:

  • Use our online form on this website at Wells City Practice - Online Services . It’s convenient and secure and can save you time. Our team will endeavour to get back to you by the end of that day.  
  • Call us during surgery hours Monday to Friday, 8am-6.30pm on 01749 601333
  • Come into the surgery at Priory Medical Centre, Wells, Somerset, BA5 1XJ, Monday to Friday, 8am-6.30pm

Pick the option that suits you best. No matter how you choose to get in touch with us, whether it’s using an online form, calling or visiting, you’ll get the help that’s right for you.        

Please remember, when visiting the surgery, you still need to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing to protect vulnerable patients from Coronavirus infection.  

 

Help Us, Help You - Heart Attack

This February, NHS England and NHS Improvement is raising awareness of heart attack symptoms as part of the latest 'Help Us Help You' campaign.

The NHS is encouraging everybody to recognise the potential signs of heart attack, so if you or somebody you're with experiences any symptoms, you know how to access help as quickly as possible.

The early signs of a heart attack can vary, the most common include squeezing across the chest and a feeling of unease.

It can be easy to dismiss the early signs of a heart attack but it's never to late to to call 999 and describe your symptoms. The faster you act, the better the chance of a positive outcome. 

 

Have your say on the way your local GP services are working

Around 2.4 million people, aged 16 and over, who are registered with a GP practice in England will receive an invitation to take part in Europe’s biggest patient experience survey in early January. GP practices have had to make changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is more important than ever that we hear about the experiences of using local GP and primary healthcare services.

The invitations go out mostly by letter to a sample of people from each of the more than 6,500 GP practices in England.  The survey team at NHS England and NHS Improvement will follow this up with a text message reminder (where a mobile number is recorded) alongside further paper questionnaires to encourage as high a response rate as possible.

Please do take the time to take part in the survey.  It provides vital information to the NHS to identify what’s working well and what can be improved. It helps to identify inequalities in experience too, as the results can be analysed across different protected characteristics.

If you want to check out how your practice fared in last year’s survey, take a look at the survey website GP Patient Survey

 

Important Information

As we move into the New Year and look to recover from a very busy pre-Christmas period we just wanted to share our quarter 4 figures with you. Things were much busier than the previous quarter with almost 1000 more incoming telephone calls to Reception. From the 1st of October to the 31st of December we also replaced 500 routine telephone appointments with 500 routine face to face appointments.

We wish to thank our patients for their ongoing support and patience during an extremely busy time. As always if you have any issues with, or questions about the way the practice is working then please contact our Practice Manager, Nicky Billington, who is always happy to help. nickybillington@nhs.net

 

New Year New You!

On Tuesday 4th January, the Department of Health and Social Care launched the latest instalment of the Better Health campaign to encourage adults across the nation to lose any excess weight, eat more healthily and get active as we begin the new year.

Better Health is working in partnership with 15 weight management and physical activity partners who are providing both free and discounted offers and the website will also signpost to local weight management support.

From reducing the risk of serious diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and up to 12 types of cancer, to lowering the chances of being hospitalised with COVID-19, the multimedia campaign highlights the serious health conditions which could be prevented by losing excess weight and offers free support and guidance to achieve this goal.

The new campaign offers free evidence-based support and guidance on the Better Health website to those working towards a healthier weight.

Better Health has lots of free tips and tools to help people get started if they want to lose weight, eat better or get active; and the site can help you find additional weight loss support. Search Better Health

 

WARNING: Fake Test and Trace text messages

We are aware of a new scam which is being used to try to obtain people's bank card details involving fake Test and Trace text messages.

People have reported being sent a text message saying they have been pinged by NHS Test and Trace. The text message then asks them to go to a website and enter personal information, including their card details to pay for a PCR test kit.

The NHS will never ask you to pay for a PCR test, these are provided free of charge. Book your free PCR test here 

 

Gentle Reminder: Prescriptions

May we gently remind our patients that we cannot take any prescription orders over the phone. There are a small number of patients with authorisation to call in their requests otherwise we ask you to use one of the following methods:

  • email our dedicated prescription email address somccg.wellscitypractice. prescriptions@nhs.net
  • write down your request and pop it into our post box located at the front of the building
  • register for online access and order your prescriptions online
  • discuss with your pharmacy team to see if they can order your regular repeat medications on your behalf.

In all cases you must allow 5 working days between requesting your medication and collecting it from your nominated pharmacy.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation on this.

 

An important message from Wells City Practice:

Thank you for bearing with us during these hugely stressful times for everyone. We have been touched by the many kind messages of support whilst we have strived to provide you with the best services we can.

As the pressures on Primary Care Services are becoming more widely talked about we would like to share with you some examples of the amount of work we are dealing with at the moment and ask again that you please try and use our services appropriately and treat our staff with kindness and respect. If you have any issues with, or questions about the way the practice is working then please contact our Practice Manager, Nicky Billington, who is always happy to help - nickybillington@nhs.net

 

Helping you access care at Wells City Practice

The past 18 months have been difficult for us all and we want to thank you for your understanding and patience.  At Wells City Practice, we would like to reassure patients that we are open and here for you.

As we continue to recover from lockdown, the NHS must deal with a huge backlog of work. This backlog combined with us having some GPs away due to sickness, maternity leave and annual leave, means that for the foreseeable future, we need to make some changes to the way we operate. This will help us continue to protect patients and staff and will mean we can continue to provide care for our patients.  

What will this mean for patients?

  • We aim to deal with most requests on the same day, which we understand is what most patients would like, but this may mean you will not be able to see your preferred GP.
  • When you contact us, our receptionists will continue to use our triage system so we can   direct you to the most appropriate care for your needs. Sometimes this will be a member of staff at the practice, or for minor injuries and conditions this could be your local pharmacist or minor injuries unit.
  • For non-emergency appointments such as sunburn, insect bites, hay fever, back and shoulder aches and strains, or other minor conditions, we can now offer you a same-day appointment at your local community pharmacist who will be to offer you advice and treatments or you can contact 111 online or by phone
  • If you need or wish to, see, or speak to, a GP on the same day, we will do our best to accommodate you, by offering you an appointment with one of our two GPs who will be on call each day.  (Please note, there will only be a limited number of pre-bookable appointments with GPs available each day).

We again thank you for your patience and understanding during this most difficult time for us all when it might take a little longer to get through on the phone or to book in an appointment. #BePatient. #BeKind.

 

Use of your Data

A new service from NHS Digital is being put into place which will more efficiently collect primary care data and make it available for better planning of healthcare services and for use in medical research.

NHS Digital has been collecting data from GPs to meet bespoke data requests for these purposes for over ten years, through its trusted General Practice Extraction Service  (GPES). This system is now being replaced with their new General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) service, a broader general-purpose collection which will enable faster access to pseudonymised patient data for planners and researchers who may be organisations outside of the NHS. You can read more about this here: Improved collection of GP data launched - NHS Digital

There are two types of opt out available to you:

*I am content for my information to be used within the NHS as it has been previously but I do not want it shared with a third party*

If you are content for your information to continue to be sent to NHS Digital to help with future planning for the NHS, but you do not want your information to be shared with other third parties, such as universities, charities and pharmaceutical companies, then you need to complete the National Data Opt Out form.

*I do not want my information shared with anyone outside of my own Practice, except in relation to my own care*

This is not a new opt out and has always been an option for patients upon registration.

Many of our patients already have a Type 1 opt out in place and this will not need to be renewed as it will remain as you have previously requested.

However, if you did not request this opt out initially, but want to change now, then we are happy to do this for you.  

If you are unsure if you have a Type 1 opt out but want one, please do not contact us to check, we do not have the staff available to answer calls such as this and want to keep our phone lines open for those in clinical need.

Instead, please follow the instructions below:

If you do not want your identifiable data to be shared outside your own Practice, except for your own care, you can opt out at any time by requesting that we record your preference, this is called a Type 1 opt out and you can do this by collecting a form from reception or contacting us via email and heading your email ‘Type 1 Opt Out’

Download the Type 1 Opt Out form

If you are only doing a Type 1 opt out and not the National Data Opt Out above, then you will need to do this by 23rd June 2021 if you wish to avoid your information to be sent to NHS Digital for their first extraction with new parameters, which begins on 1st July 2021.

Further information and our updated Privacy Notice

 

Public Health England Vitamin D Supplies and prescribed Medication

In response to the announcement that public health England will be supplying many extremely vulnerable people with Vitamin D tablets to reduce the risk of deficiency over the winter, the Prescribers at surgeries in West Mendip Primary Care Network would like to share the following advice:

If you are currently prescribed Calcium and Vitamin D tablets, or vitamin D tablets, continue to take these. You do not need to take any additional supplements supplied by Public health England, as long as your tablets contain at least 400units (10mcg Vitamin D)- all prescribed ones should contain these levels.

If you buy vitamin D over the counter, you can continue to take these, or take the nationally supplied ones, as long as the ones you have are at least 400units (10mcg).

You are safe to take vitamin D tablets with most prescribed medication- however if you are taking Digoxin you may need extra monitoring- please contact your GP.

If you develop any unusual symptoms after starting Vitamin D and are taking other medication, please contact your prescriber, though we expect this to be very rare.

If you accidentally take both prescribed vitamin D and public health England supplied vitamin D, there are likely to be no ill effects, however you can discuss this with your community pharmacy and they can check the amounts you have taken.

 

Recently had a delayed hospital appointment?

We were sorry to hear that your hospital appointment has been delayed. Covid restrictions mean that most people are having to wait longer for their outpatient appointments, tests and operations. All our referrals are graded by the relevant consultant team. We have no say about when the consultants allocate their appointments which is based on their judgement of the urgency of the clinical need.

Many patients are contacting us asking for letters to be sent to help speed up their appointment. You will see that this is something we are unable to do for the reasons explained above.

However, if you think your symptoms have changed and your need is now urgent, do please write a letter or email detailing why you think so which we can forward to the relevant specialist team. The more detail you include the better.

If you are very concerned then do please get in touch with us for an appointment which, under current NHS regulations, will be a phone call or other remote consultation in the first instance but which can be face-to-face if needs be.

 

Wells Coronavirus Network

The community of Wells has come together to support those who are facing difficulties due to the current emergency.   If you need help with the following:

  • Shopping for Food or Supplies
  • Collecting Medicines or Prescriptions
  • Companionship Call

Our website is at helpwells.co.uk and you can email at hello@helpwells.co.uk

 

Health Connections Mendip

Health Connections Mendip is a new health and wellbeing service available to patients. Patients can talk to a health connector at the surgery to find out about local activities, support and services available, and can also arrange one-to-one appointments to speak to a Connector.  
Health Connections Mendip page
Mendip Directory of Services

Below is a documentary about Health Connections Mendip:

 

Somerset Survivors

Do you want to talk to someone about domestic abuse?

Contact the Somerset Domestic Abuse Support helpline: 0800 69 49 999

Further information can be found on the Somerset Survivors website.

 

Somerset Choices

Local services and information to help you choose the right care and support.  Visit the Somerset Choices website.

 

Training Practice Status

Here at Wells City Practice we continue to look at ways of improving the quality of care we offer our patients

We were awarded ‘Training Practice’ status in July 2011.

 

Named GP for all patients

All of our patients have a named GP who is responsible for their overall care at the Practice. Please contact the Practice if you wish to know who this is. If you have a preference as to which GP that is, we will make reasonable efforts to accommodate this request.

We strongly believe in patient choice and patients are able to see any of our available GPs.

 

Carers

Do you care for someone?

Please click on one of the documents below for more information on how to get help and more information.

View our Carers form

 

Are you interested in helping to influence the way your doctor’s surgery is run?

See our Patient Participation Group page for further details.

View our Patient Participation Group form