Summer 2014 Newsletter

Survey Results »
Support for Carers »
Allergies »
Dial 999 or 111? »
The Staffordshire Stoke On Trent Partnership NHS Trust (SSOTP NHS Trust) »
Staffordshire Cares »

Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who completed a form for our patient survey earlier this year. We had 576 responses with the full responses published in our report.

The results from the survey indicate that there are a number of issues which are of concern to our patients. We have responded to try and give you more information about them and say what we can do where possible.

Difficulty Getting Appointments

This is always a source of concern and the practice is continually looking at ways to improve the system. Unfortunately the number of appointments available is limited to the number of GP sessions available. In the last 9 months:

  • we have increased the number of appointments in each Doctor’s consulting sessions
  • we have moved our partner meeting to an earlier time on Tuesday’s so as not to reduce appointments so much on that day
  • we have introduced a daily ‘emergency’ surgery for patients with acute illnesses who need to be seen that day – this is a ‘come and wait’ session with an allocated appointment time of 5 minutes for 1 problem only.
  • we have made our appointments system more open so that patients can book in advance more easily. However, this approach means that we have very few ‘book on the day’ appointments now so if you can ­ book in advance.
  • there are more minor illness appointments available with our Nurse Prescriber

We have experienced problems in the last 12 months recruiting new GP’s however, later this year both Dr Farhan Mohideen and Dr Lorna Clarson will become partners in the Practice. Dr Mohideen will work 3 days a week and Dr Clarson will increase her sessions by 1 per week.

We know that many patients have a preferred Dr and that seeing the same Dr helps with continuity of care. However, you should be aware that all the partners within the Practice work on a part-­time basis therefore they are not all available every day of the week. We are also a teaching Practice for trainee GP’s and medical students this means that time has to be given by the GP trainers (Drs Mallen, Merron, Hussain & Helliwell) to the actual teaching of those trainees. Some weeks this reduces the number of consulting sessions the trainers do. The admin team will always try and fit you in with the Dr you request but due to the above it’s not always possible.

When you are told by the receptionists that there are no appointments at the specific time or day that you would like one then this is actually the case. They will work as hard as they can to accommodate you but this is not always possible. Please remember that the admin team are there to work for you and not against you and that this is an extremely busy Practice and things cannot be done instantly for everyone. Patient demand and clinical need has to be balanced and a patient with an urgent clinical need will take priority.

Doctors Running Late

Each patient has a 10 minute appointment to discuss their problem with the Dr. If this is a follow­up appointment then the Dr knows the history and these appointments tend to be more straightforward. Other appointments can be filled with patients who have all manner of illnesses, problems and issues. They can range from a simple cough/sore throat to an acute emergency such as severe breathing problems, stomach pain or severe chest pains (yes, we do have patients who turn up at the surgery in the midst of having a heart attack!).

If the Dr is dealing with such an emergency it can take up to 40 minutes to provide immediate treatment and arrange for admittance to hospital or make an urgent referral to an appropriate clinician.

Whilst staff in the Practice try not to disturb the Drs during their consulting sessions sometimes this is necessary when a clinician in another setting e.g. hospital, community or other specialist service needs to speak to them urgently. This has to be dealt with immediately and so has a ‘knock­on’ effect into the consulting session.

We know that it can be very frustrating for patients when they have to wait beyond their appointment time but you need to be aware that we are an extremely busy surgery and that there are things going on in the background all the time which can cause delays and that the Drs do not keep you waiting deliberately. As Dr Cooper always says ‘You never know what’s going to walk through the door and it has to be given the time it needs’ and to practice safe medicine the Drs need to be thorough. This approach provides you the patient with good quality care which is what we all want and strive for.

If you have a complex problem or a number of problems you wish to discuss with the Dr which will take more than 10 minutes then you should ask the receptionist to book a double appointment which will help to stop the Dr running over into the next one.

Car Parking

The practice is aware of the limited car parking available but the provision of additional parking space would require the Practice to purchase additional land from the local authorities. This is unlikely to be an option given both the cost to the Practice and the fact that the surrounding land is designated public green space.


Due to the number of referrals to the hospital and other services made by the practice it is not feasible for us to follow up on all of them. It is often more expedient for the patient to follow up on a referral, although where there are difficulties, the practice will take action.

All Doctors have been asked to tell patients that if they have not heard anything within a month of the referral being made that the patient should check with us to see what progress has been made.
Privacy at Reception
The practice is aware of the reduced level of privacy at reception due to the limited space. However, a patient who requires privacy can request the receptionist to use the room adjacent to the reception area for any discussion.

When this building was designed the reception point was deliberately moved out of the waiting room for this very reason as a result of comments from patients. Despite this the problem still remains but to a lesser extent. It would help if people in the queue stood back so that the person being dealt with at the desk is not crowded. Consideration is being given to putting a coloured line across the floor, a bit like at immigration points at airports, with the request that patients remain behind it whilst they queue.

We know that the situation is not ideal but in every other Practice our Practice Manager has been to the reception is still in the waiting room.

Message Boards

Currently we have just one message board working. The second one has been working intermittently and this accounts for the fact that sometimes the message board cannot be seen by everyone. To address this all the chairs in the waiting room have been turned to face the board which works. The company which maintains the board will not send an engineer out to repair it and have told us that we should take the board down and send it to them so that they can see what the problem is. As this is something of a major undertaking we will manage with the one for the time being.

Mental Health

A small number of patients commented that having access to mental health services would be helpful. These services fall within the remit of the NHS Combined Health Care Trust and your GP’s will make referrals to the Wellbeing Service (as it’s called) for advice/treatment when they feel it is appropriate and if the patient agrees. Waiting time for this service can be quite long and Doctors do have access in the Practice to self help material provided by the Wellbeing Service which can be issued to patients as an interim measure.

Practice Changes

Any significant changes in the practice which affect patients are usually referred to in the newsletter.

Support for Carers

Healthwatch Staffordshire is currently engaged in a support for carers’ project. With this project they want to get the views of all those people who provide some form of unpaid care for family and friends. It may be just a few hours per week or it could be daily help with essentials such as washing, feeding at meal times and help with administering medication etc.

It is vital that anyone who looks after loved ones or friends receives the right support – and that is where Healthwatch Staffordshire comes in. Healthwatch wants to find out what unpaid carers think about the services and support available and to work with them to improve things in the future.

Healthwatch Staffordshire wants to give carers a voice and most importantly they promise to listen to what has been said. Tell them about your experiences and they will pass on their findings to the people responsible for who commissioning and providing carers’ services.

Together we can make sure support for carers in Staffordshire is as good as it should be.

To share your experiences contact Healthwatch Staffordshire on:

Freephone 0800 051 8371


Find out more information at: and complete the online questionnaire


This is the time of the year when we need to be aware of seasonal allergies such as hay fever and from some insect bites (especially wasps), so it would be appropriate to ensure that you have a stock of the necessary remedies especially if you have children or a known allergy.

If in doubt as to what remedies you may require please consult your pharmacist.

If you have an allergy and keep an epi­pen as a safety precaution please remember to check the expiry date. If this has passed then order a replacement immediately.

Dial 999 or 111?

Don’t use the Accident and Emergency department at the hospital unless you really have to.

If you need medical help fast but it isn’t a 999 emergency you now call 111

NHS 111 will assess you, provide advice and direct you straight away to the local service that can help you best. It is a fast and easy way to get the right help wherever you are and whatever time of day.

Your call will be dealt with by a team of highly trained advisors. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms, give you the advice you need or direct you to the right local service. If it is outside normal surgery hours and you need to be seen by a Doctor they will book you an appointment or transfer you to the person you need to speak to who may arrange a home visit.

If they think you need an ambulance they will arrange for that to be sent immediately.

Use 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency.

You should continue to contact your GP or local pharmacist for less urgent health needs.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and calls are free including from a mobile.

For more information visit

The Staffordshire Stoke On Trent Partnership NHS Trust (SSOTP NHS Trust)

The SSOTP NHS Trust is the UK’s largest provider of health and social care services and provides care for people across the county in settings including community hospitals, health centres, in your home, in schools and in prisons.

It employs in excess of 4800 staff providing services including community in­patient and specialist out­patient care, community nursing, social care assessments, podiatry, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, health visiting and school nursing, speech and language therapy and sexual health therapy. Integrated local care teams (ILCT’s) are a key element of the Partnerships’ service transformation. These changes mean a move away from a traditional reactive system of care to support being available before a crisis occurs.

The role of ILCT’s is to provide high quality, joined up care through a multidisciplinary team approach which includes District Nurses, Social Workers, Community Matrons, the Palliative Care team and GP’s. Service users will benefit from a personal approach that focuses on an individual’s needs and goals. The benefit of the new system is a proactive instead of reactive approach to care which works to minimise situations where a patient needs to be admitted to hospital for treatment.

The aim is to achieve LIS – Living Independently in Staffordshire.


SELF CARE: This is the best choice to treat minor injuries, illnesses and ailments. Most of these can be treated at home from a well stocked medicine cabinet and with rest.

PHARMACY: Your pharmacy can provide confidential expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints without having to wait for a GP appointment

YOUR GP: For medical advice or illnesses you cannot shake off. If you have an acute illness that needs to be dealt with on that day we have an emergency surgery to accommodate you. If the surgery is closed you can still ring the surgery number and you will be transferred to the NHS 111 service or alternatively you can call them directly at no cost.

NHS WALK­ IN CENTRES: The Haywood Hospital Walk­in Centre offers treatment to patients with minor injuries or minor ailments.

Telephone Number: 01782 673500

Opening hours:
7.00a.m. to 10.00p.m. Monday to Friday
9.00a.m. to 10.00p.m. Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays

NHS 111: A new service that has been introduced to make it easier to access non emergency local NHS healthcare services in England

ACCIDENT and EMERGENCY: A&E and the 999 ambulance service should only be used in a critical or life threatening situation

Group Discussion

Your Patient Participation Group (PPG) is willing to organise meetings/events for you to discuss or find out about pertinent services with regards to the health and social care of practice patients. If you have a specific topic you would like to have discussed please let Anne Sherratt, Practice Manager, know and she will pass the information on to the PPG members.

Hello ‘My Name is’ Campaign

Healthwatch Staffordshire is endorsing a campaign by Dr Kate Granger, a doctor suffering from terminal cancer.

The campaign is based on her experiences as a patient where few of the staff she encountered introduced themselves to her while the staff were able to access a multitude of information about her from her medical records. Hello ‘My name is’ promotes all health and social care workers to introduce themselves to their patients to improve the basic quality of care.

The campaign has already gathered support from a number of notable figures in the NHS.

More information is available via YouTube.

Advanced Decisions

People are often concerned about how decisions about their medical treatment would be made if they lost their ability to decide for themselves.

The Mental Health Capacity Act of 2005 gives people in England and Wales a statutory right to refuse treatment through an “advance decision”. An advance decision allows a person to state what form of treatment they would or would not like, should they become unable to decide for themselves in the future.

An advanced decision is intended to be a binding refusal of certain kinds of treatment as specified by the person making the decision.

An advanced statement is a statement of general beliefs and aspects of life that a person values. It may reflect individual’s aspirations and preferences and is sometimes called a “Personal Values History”.

The advantages of creating an advance decision/statement can be some reassurance to a person worried about their future healthcare. It enables healthcare professionals when faced with difficult decisions about treatment/care to ensure that a person wishes are taken into account. An advance decision can only be overturned or altered by the person making it.

People may also wish to consider having a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) registered. There are two types of LPA’s, one for health and welfare and one for property and financial affairs. Full details can be found on the website below or by telephoning the Office of the Public Guardian.

For further information contact:

Office of the Public Guardian (OPG)

PO Box 16185
B2 2WH

Telephone no: 0300 456 0300


Staffordshire Cares

Your lifestyle, your choice, your care

Practical and free help for any age, health or disability related issue.

Staffordshire Cares can help you maintain your independence whether you are facing changing health problems, managing a disability or you are just getting that little bit older.

Speak to a Staffordshire Cares Advisor at The Guildhall in High Street, Newcastle for free and confidential advice for you and your family.

If the local advisors cannot help you straightaway, they will find someone who can.

Speak to an advisor either by visiting The Guildhall in Newcastle or telephoning

0300 111 8010 or 01782 717717.

Go to for on the spot advice and information about local organisations, services and products, activities and social events and much more.

You can even ask at your local library – they will help you to find the information you need.

Your lifestyle, your choice, your care