We would like to use this first newsletter of the year to explain some changes to our appointment system. The fundamentals of the system, whereby the on-call GP assesses the reason for contacting the surgery, and advises the best way forward, (otherwise known as ‘triage’) will remain the same. However, we would encourage patients to state their preferred consultation mode, usually either face-to-face or telephone, and/or their preferred clinician. We shall try as much as possible, and where clinically appropriate, to fulfil your requests. Clearly, there may be reasons why the outcome may differ from your initial request, and a simple example may be where the on-call GP assesses your problem as being of an urgent nature and advises a 999 call, or that you need to be seen face-to-face for a physical examination, to make a diagnosis and advise you appropriately.
We are also removing the restriction on making appointments at the reception desk. Appointments can now be made by speaking to a receptionist at the front desk but be mindful that you may be compromising your confidentiality if you must speak loudly at reception, where other people in the waiting room may overhear you. We are in the process of replacing the screens at reception with new ones that have better acoustic properties. You will have to wait to speak to a receptionist if she is busy on a call.
Follow-up appointments can also be booked in advance at the request of the consulting clinician but note that reception can only act on this if it is documented in the clinical notes, or you have been given a booking slip by the clinician. This is obviously subject to the availability of pre-bookable appointments.
We remain convinced that the current system of assessing requests and the demand for appointments in real-time, and a GP advising the most appropriate course of action, is the most efficient way of using a very finite resource, i.e. appointments.
Finally, I would like to remind everyone that emails or handwritten letters should not be used for urgent problems. These means of communication are likely to result in delays and may be harmful. If you need to contact the surgery about an urgent problem, please do so by telephone. Do remember, however, that emergencies require a 999 call.
Best wishes, as ever, from the team at Barton Family Practice.
The surgery was vandalised on the night of Friday the 10th of November. Several windows on the front of the surgery were smashed in a senseless act of criminal damage which was discovered the following morning. The windows have since been boarded up awaiting replacement. Worryingly, we understand that several vehicles, including one belonging to the Fire Service, which were parked in the adjoining Fire Station car park were also damaged. We would appeal to anyone who knows anything about this incident or saw or heard anything unusual in the area that night, to please contact the Police on 101. It is sad that facilities on which so many people depend, including the most vulnerable amongst us, together with an emergency service, should be damaged in this way.
Have you downloaded the NHS App yet? The App has several useful functions including being able to receive and send messages to NHS services, view your GP health record, view, and manage prescriptions and change your nominated pharmacy, book, and manage coronavirus and flu vaccinations. You can also check your symptoms on NHS 111 online, find NHS services near you, or if you are a carer, access services for someone else. We highly recommend the NHS App to everyone.
A word about what it is like to work in the NHS now. Sometimes it feels as if some of our patients think we are on opposing sides, with differing aims and objectives. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are public servants who are in the NHS because we want to help people. We are on the same side, and our overriding priority is your welfare. Of course, there will be times when we will not have lived up to our exact standards, but rest assured that we are constantly trying to improve the service we offer you. We are currently able to offer appropriate appointments to most patients who contact us each day, even when contacted in the afternoon. Those who have not heard about the situation in other practices should speak to their friends registered elsewhere. Thankfully, we do not run out of appointments at 8:30 each morning!
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a healthy New Year, from your team at Barton Family Practice.
We have some vital information this month about your NHS record. From the 1st of November 2023, all patients in England will be able to access their GP health record through the NHS App. Everyone over the age of 16 with an online account such as the NHS App, NHS website, or other GP online services and apps, will automatically be able to see all future information entered on their NHS record. For more information about online accounts go to https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/online-health-and-prescription-services/
Having your own information available online gives you more control and involvement with your healthcare. You will be able to see the results of tests, read the notes of GP consultations, and see hospital and clinic letters that have been saved in your GP records. Note that you will not have direct access to all the hospital records, nor will you be able to see anything entered in your GP notes before November the 1st. Carers who would like to see information about someone they care for should speak to reception staff.
The NHS App, website and other online services are all very secure. Please ensure that you protect your login details.
It may do more harm than good for some people to access their health records directly. We have carried out a review of our records, identified a few instances where online access may be harmful, and taken measures to prevent automatic access. This only affects a very few people.
These changes only apply to people with an online account. If you do not want an online account, you can still access your GP health record by requesting this information via reception or by sending an email to email@example.com
Not everyone will want to have access to their health records. If you do not want to see your health record, or if you would like more information about these changes, please speak to your GP or reception staff. For more information about how to get your medical records, please visit www.nhs.uk/gp-record
Best wishes from your team at Barton.
It was great to see several patients from Barton at the Parkrun held at the Rosliston Forestry Reserve on Saturday the 16th of September 2023. Several members of the practice team also took part. Everyone seems to have enjoyed the experience. Participants were from a wide age range – from young children to pensioners, and levels of fitness – from the athletic to the less fit, and even included some dogs. I would highly recommend taking part. Anyone can join, and you do not need to run – you can walk if you prefer. I strongly recommend exercise to everyone, and if group activities are not your thing, then at least try to increase your activity levels, and consider regular walks. Find something that suits you, and which you enjoy. No amount of exercise is too little, and all exercise is good for us.
There is a new covid kid on the block, known as BA.2.86, which is doing the rounds and is causing concern because it has many mutations, which makes it difficult to predict how transmissible and severe its effects will be. This is the reason the autumn/winter vaccination programme was brought forward to September, after an initial proposal to delay the flu and covid vaccinations till October. The Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England are aiming to get as many eligible people vaccinated as quickly as possible, preferably before the 31st of October. If you have not been invited already, please book your COVID-19 vaccination online (using NHS.uk), via the NHS App or by calling 119.
Did you know that losing a significant amount of weight in the early years after diagnosis can reverse or remit type 2 diabetes? The NHS Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission Programme is a treatment available for some people living with type 2 diabetes and obesity, or who are overweight. Have you been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the last 6 years? Are you living with obesity or overweight and are aged 18-65? You may be eligible to join the NHS Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission Programme. Research trials have shown that a programme including a 3-month specially formulated ‘soup and shake’ diet followed by healthy lifestyle support helped people living with type 2 diabetes and obesity, or overweight, to lose over 10kg in weight, improve their blood sugar levels, reduce diabetes-related medication and, in almost half of participants, put their type 2 diabetes into remission. To find out more and to access the service, please contact Sister Rose Bain or Claire Stamp at the surgery.
Best wishes from the team at BFP.
You can also download a copy of the The NHS Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission Programme information booklet.
Cervical Screening is carried out to check the health of your cervix, it is not a test for cancer, it’s a test to help prevent cancer.
All women and people with a cervix aged 25 – 64 should go for regular cervical screening. You’ll get a letter in the post inviting you to make an appointment.
The test itself should take less than 5 minutes and is usually done by a female nurse or doctor. This video explains what happens during your screening.
You can also find more information and support at https://www.jostrust.org.uk/
It is clear from speaking to patients that there is still a significant degree of misunderstanding about triage. Not understanding the process causes mistrust and dissatisfaction, so a further explanation is important. Put simply, triage is the system used to prioritise clinical needs, i.e., the way we decide how serious your condition may be, and how urgently, and by whom you should be treated or advised. There are 3 steps in the triage process. The first involves the collection of information by the receptionist. In the second stage, the on-call doctor uses this information, in conjunction with other things like your age and medical history, to decide what the matter could be. The third and final stage is when the doctor decides what to do about the problem, and details like who, where and when to arrange your care. Triage needs all three steps, which is why refusing to give any detail makes the process impossible. And why do we need triage? Well, there are a limited number of appointments each day, and these need to be used wisely. The more serious and urgent problems should obviously be dealt with first, and less clinically urgent ones, later. I am sure everyone can see the logic for this. Otherwise, it is first come, first served, which risks harm coming to some patients whose care is delayed by less serious problems taking priority.
Having said that, you can assist the process, and indicate your preferences in the following ways:
The on-call doctor will take your preferences into account, but there may be times when it is not possible to fulfil your request, such as your problem may potentially be serious, not routine as you thought, or your preferred clinician may be unavailable.
Summer is here. Please take care of your skin, and use sunscreens, cover up and stay in the shade, particularly if you are at higher risk of developing skin cancer, such as, children, people with light skin, those with numerous moles or freckles, the immunocompromised, a personal or family history of skin cancer or work outdoors. Sunscreens should be at least sun protection factor (SPF) 15 and applied liberally. It is important to avoid prolonged exposure to strong sunlight, which peaks between 11am and 3 pm from March to October. Getting a suntan increases the risk of skin cancer.
Have a great summer. From us all at Barton Family Practice.
We all get lonely. Its time to talk about it.
Whether its your regular barista, the friendly dog on your walk, or the shopkeeper down the road, everyday moments of connection matter. They allow us to make connections, feel happier and less lonely.
You can find information and support if you are feeling lonely at https://www.marmaladetrust.org/law