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Update from Dr Wendy Heard Posted on 12 Jan 2022

Covid cases are rising across Dorset with 611 per 100,000 people in the seven days up to and including 21 October compared with the week before. This is compared to 478 the week before. Therefore, it is really important to have your covid booster if you are eligible.

As of the 25th October in England 41,655,840 patients have had their first booster, 38,186,561 have had a second and 5,235,928 have had a booster.

The Purbeck vaccination team have started to vaccinate all care home residents with both the covid vaccine booster and the flu vaccination. From early November, patients who are housebound will start to receive their covid booster and flu vaccination.

All 75+ year olds at our practice have now either had or booked their booster appointment or have been sent appointment letters or texts reminders for the covid-19 booster campaign. We continue to support the invite process and are currently contacting our 70-74 year olds who have yet to book their booster appointment. For all other remaining cohorts, if/when you are eligible you will need to book your appointment on the national booking service (NBS) choosing the Purbeck vaccination hub at Wareham hospital or by calling 119. Please don’t phone the surgery for covid-19 vaccine or booster appointments. The Covid Vaccination Programme helpline for Purbeck 01929 557559/557589 is extremely busy. Use this to cancel your appointment, please leave a message stating your full name, date of birth and date of vaccine/booster. You can then proceed to re-book your appointment via the NBS or by calling 119.

Covid 19 booster eligible patients are:

  • People over 50
  • People who live or work in a care home
  • Frontline health and social care workers
  • People aged 16+ who are the main Carer for someone at high risk of Covid-19
  • People aged 16+ who live with someone who is more likely to get infections (immunosuppressed)

You will only be able to book an appointment for a booster dose if it’s been at least five months (180 days) since your 2nd dose of the vaccine.

You need to wait 4 weeks (28 days) before booking a booster if you have had a positive Covid-19 test, starting from the date of your test.

12-15 year olds vaccinations- all queries can be directed to the dedicated Dorset Healthcare School Children line on 01425 891162.

Any queries for vaccine passports or overseas vaccines please call 119. There is a specific department to deal with these.

Flu Vaccinations

We are working hard on our flu campaign with nearly 3000 patients already vaccinated. It has been a challenging year with disruption to deliveries (nationally) which has caused delays and frustration.

All patients over the age of 65 and who are in an “at risk” category aged 18-64, will now have had a vaccine or been invited to our flu clinics. Two and three year olds and 6m-17 year old “at risk” patients are eligible for a nasal flu vaccination and most have now been invited. If you are eligible and have not received an invite by either letter or text, please contact the surgery to arrange your appointment.

We are in the process of inviting the remainder of our patients 50-64 year olds.

Practice News

We thought it might be helpful for you to see how our team have been looking after patients at our practice.

Face to face appointments & Telephone consultations – in just ten working days in October our team of GPs, Advanced Nurse practitioners Primary Care Paramedics, Pharmacists and treatment room staff have consulted with 2414 patients. We continue to offer telephone triage with our GPs, Advanced Nurse Practitioners and Primary Care Paramedic, with the Clinician arranging a face to face appointment for you if appropriate.

Prescriptions – in just ten working days in October our team processed 4710 prescriptions items. Did you know, you can order your prescriptions using Online Access, for more information about this please visit our website: https://www.swanagemedical.org.uk/pages/Online-Access

Clinical Correspondence – during just five working days in October, our team of GPs and admin staff dealt with over 1200 letters received into our Practice. This was a mixture of consultant letters, discharge summaries and letters from patients etc. All have to be reviewed, coded and actioned accordingly.

Phone calls received by the Practice – in an eight week period up to 26th October 2021, our team answered just over 19,000 calls from patients. We recognise that this volume of calls means that some patients are waiting longer than we would like, however, we would like to reassure you that our team are working hard to answer all calls, extra provision has been put in place during peak times and that we are currently reviewing the call data available to us to help with planning and decision making for the future.

Safety Measures within the surgery – As you can see, we are very busy and with Covid positive numbers still high and increasing in our area, we need to protect our workforce to ensure we can maintain services for our patients. Unfortunately access to locum (temp) GPs and other temporary clinicians and admin staff is extremely challenging and there is just not the availability in our area. Many of our team have had to self-isolate as a precautionary measure due to covid and while we aim to keep disruption to a minimum for our patients, staff missing from any part of our team impacts on what we can offer patients.

With this in mind, the following safety measures remain in our surgery:

  • Screening questions at the front door via an intercom
  • Face coverings must be worn
  • Social Distancing in the building
  • Telephone triage will remain with clinicians booking the patient a face to face appointment if appropriate.

We are here to support the most vulnerable and protect our workforce. With your ongoing support and understanding, we will continue to do this as safety as we can.

The most appropriate way to seek help

Our receptionists are trained care navigators, their role is to actively listen, to signpost people to sources of help, Advocacy and support. They are supported and guided by the GPs at the Practice and will arrange for you to speak to a Clinician or team member appropriate to your needs:

Advanced Nurse Practitioner –The conditions they see and treat, cover from head to toe, both acute and chronic conditions. They diagnose a wide range of conditions including diabetes, hypertension, urinary tract infections, respiratory infections and common skin conditions. They can refer to secondary care either for emergency Admission or to clinics such as the rapid access chest pain clinic. Many patients also attend for advice about starting contraception, menopause and pre-pregnancy planning. Part of their day is allocated for checking test results and reviewing treatment plans. This may involve reviewing medicines or referring to specialist nurses such as diabetes, heart failure or respiratory Nurse Specialists. Clinical supervision of nursing and support staff are also part of their role.

Clinical Pharmacists – are experts in medicines and are very much part of our core Practice team. They can prescribe so can issue your medication, answer complex queries about your medication. They can review your medication so you don’t need to see a GP. They can also signpost you to other specialists or services, can complete hospital discharge reviews and manage medication for long term conditions.

Primary Care paramedic - Our Paramedic, came to the practice a year and a half ago after working as a Paramedic for 15 years for South Western Ambulance Service, including the Swanage Car. She now works as an Advanced Clinical Practitioner as part of the Duty team with the Duty Doctors and Advanced Nurse Practitioners to provide care for patient's presenting with acute problems that need help that day. She phones, sees, examines, diagnoses, and treats patients at the surgery and also visits patients at home who are too sick to attend the surgery and may need hospital admission.

Practice Nurses – Our Practices nurses all have specialist skills, this could be INR monitoring, Asthma, Diabetes, Chronic leg ulcers, smear taking, child immunisations and vaccinations and other general Practice nurse skills.

GP – our team of GPs are here to offer patients telephone consultations and if appropriate, they will arrange for you to be seen face to face by either them, another Clinician such as one of our Advanced Nurse Practitioners or they will signpost you to another service for support.

Pharmacists at local chemists – As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.

If symptoms suggest it's something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need. For example they will tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.

All pharmacists train for 5 years in the use of medicines. They are also trained in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice.

Social prescribers - Social prescribing is designed to support people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs. Those who could benefit from social prescribing include people with mild or long-term mental health problems, people with complex needs, people who are socially isolated and those with multiple long-term conditions. The social prescribers will help you with all non-clinical aspects. You can self-refer to our social prescribers by calling 03033 030153 or visit: www.helpandcare.org.uk/services/self-management

Call NHS 111 - if you have an urgent medical problem, but you're not sure what to do.

Hello and Goodbye…

We are currently recruiting for a GP Partner or Salaried GP. If you know of a GP who might be looking to move to the area, please let them know about our current vacancy www.swanagemedical.org.uk

We welcome Holly Coombs who has joined our Medical Secretary and Admin team and Janice Budd who is new in post in our receptionist team.

In December we say goodbye to Dr Kate Thompson our GP Registrar, as she continues with her medical training. Patients and staff will miss her and we wish her all the best in her career as a military doctor.

We are also saying goodbye to Liz Pond who has worked at the Practice since 2010. Liz has worked in different areas of the Practice and in more recent years has been the Treatment room admin lead. We would like to thank Liz for all her years of hard work and dedication, we will miss her from our team.

Thank you

We know this is a difficult time for our community and we thank you for your understanding and for the messages of support we have received from many of our patients, it really means a lot to our team who are working hard to continue to provide an excellent services for our patients.

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