Welcome to our surgery website which we hope will provide you with a taste of the services available at our main site in Poringland and our branch surgery in Rockland St Mary. Use the tabs above to find out when we are open, how to reach medical services when we are closed, see the area we cover and learn more about the team at the Practice.
You can order a repeat prescription on line, book and cancel appointments using our extended on line services, send us your comments and if you’re not yet registered as a patient, you can download the necessary forms here. The Heathgate team are committed to providing the appropriate care, at the appropriate time in the appropriate setting, working with you in the management of your health and wellbeing. Our latest newsletter and patient survey results are available from the tabs to the right and you can subscribe to newsletter updates at the bottom of this page. For the latest newsletter, click here.
Happy New Year
Welcome to 2017!
December was a very busy time in Practice, particularly the demand for same day need appointments over the Christmas and New Year holiday periods. To ensure we could meet the demand and expectations of patients over this time, we increased the daily provision for same day need appointments. This has placed pressure on our routine GP and Nurse appointments and may mean a little longer wait for a booked routine appointment than usual. However, we know you understand the reasons for this with the need, on some days in December, to make provision for over 40 patients to be seen 'on the day' they call for an appointment. There is an increasing demand for patients to be seen on the day they contact us for an appointment.
Whilst the wait for a routine appointment is a little longer with some clinicians than we would like, we will continue to find ways to meet patients needs via other means of healthcare contact.
Our Practice values
The Practice has a core set of values that are at the heart of everything we do. They underpin our policies, objectives, procedures and strategies. They also help us establish our behaviours. The values were created and agreed by the whole Practice team at a staff meeting in Spring 2015. There are 5 simple values. These are to be:
- To have integrity in everything we do.
We hope you will recognise these values in your relationship with us.
Patient consultation on accepting repeat prescription requests by telephone - the results
Thank you to all of you who completed our patient consultation on continuing to accept repeat medication requests by telephone. Over 300 patients responded, which is a 32% response rate. We consulted on this in response to a view from NHS safety organisations about how safe this method of ordering is. Many Practices stopped accepting such requests a while ago. A summary of the results of the consultation are outlined in our January 2017 newsletter, a copy is available here and a full copy of the analysis shared with our Patient Reference Group is available by clicking here.
Aware of the number of patients that currently use the existing service (approximately 200 people a week) and considering how many of those that do, are our more elderly patients living in more rural parts of our patch and would have difficulty ordering in other ways, we have agreed with our Patient Reference Group to continue the service, with a few tweaks.
- We will accept requests just to the answerphone to be able to 'listen again' where necessary.
- We will continue to promote online ordering as our preferred option.
- Our answerphone message will request a succinct message with a daytime contact number.
- We will not accept messages that simply say 'I would like everything'. This is not safe and can produce waste.
- We will continue to monitor the service and any incidents that occur.
In summary, we hope you agree that we considered a possible safety issue, asked you for your views, listened to what you said and created a plan to deal with your responses.
For all organisations that offer NHS or Adult Social Care, compliance with The Accessible Information Standard, became law on 31st July 2016. The standard aims to provide people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss with information about their healthcare in a way they can easily understand.
This means that where possible we will provide information to patients in different ways. For example if you would like us to write to you in a larger font, then we can do this. If you need an interpreter in a consultation, with sufficient notice, we can arrange this and we are exploring with NHS England the options around providing information in braille.
Whilst we will be asking patients if they have information or communication needs, you can let us know by completing the online form under the Accessible Information tab to your right. You will also find information in that section of our website on how to change the colour and font size of our website content.
Aware of such needs, if we need to refer you for specialist care, we will pass this information onto the healthcare provider as part of the referral that we make.
Urine samples - new policy and process
We have for a little while now, when someone thinks they may have a urine infection, tested a sample in the Practice, using a process known as 'dipping'. This involves using a special testing strip that is placed into the sample that can identify whether there is an infection.
Unfortunately there is increasing evidence that dipstick testing is inaccurate and sometimes people with severe symptoms can have a negative dipstick test in spite of having an infection. There is also a possibility that treating dipstick findings alone, may miss more serious conditions including chronic non-infective cystitis or even bladder cancer.
A face to face consultation with patients who have urinary symptoms will allow us to explore and discuss their symptoms and ensure that the correct treatment and advice is given.
Therefore following our change in policy, patients suggesting they have a urine infection will be offered an appointment with one of our clinicians and asked to bring a sample with them.
There are other reasons that patients are asked to provide samples, for example where a clinician feels that it should be investigated further at the hospital laboratory and in these circumstances we will accept urine samples without the need to be seen.
Our team have had a full briefing on the new process and will be happy to answer any queries you may have.
Military veterans treatment policy
We have worked with Healthwatch Norfolk on a number of projects and have recently adopted their 'treatment policy' for military veterans. By adopting the policy, we are encouraging veterans to identify themselves to their GP as a member of the armed forces community.
With their agreement, we will then include this information in any referral made for specialist services so their need can, where appropriate, be prioritised. We are proud to support this policy and our own Practice protocol is available by clicking this link.
Latest patient survey - 2016
Our latest local Practice survey has been published. Thank you for your views on our services and how we should handle the increasing number of patients who are not keeping their booked appointments. It was also good to see that the message we are sharing about the availability of 111 when the surgery is closed is becoming more widely known. The survey created in conjunction with our Patient Reference Group is available in full by clicking here.
Local educational event - Memory problems and dementia
Thank you to everyone who attended our 'Open for discussion' session on Dementia and Memory Loss. This was a great success and saw patients, carers, support organisations, social services, clinicians, PRG members and practice representatives coming together for this event.
Co-ordinated by local patient and PRG member Ruth Perfitt, it gave those attending both the opportunity of hearing about some of the local support available to carers and patients with dementia and sharing their experiences. The Alzheimer's Society were in attendance along with members of the St Georges Dementia Café to share some of the ways they can offer support.
With the success of this meeting, we are hoping that other events on different aspects of heath will follow.
The Great British Bake Off comes to Heathgate!
Whilst we did not have a baking tent, Paul Hollywood or Mary Berry to comment along the way, staff rose to the challenge of our very own competition by producing Victoria Sponges, Shortbread and Scones. Set with mixing bowls and a clear brief of what to bake, here are the efforts of our top team in round one.
Judging took place at lunchtimes with colour, texture, rise and of course taste considered by the staff trying each of the three bakes. Nurse Nettie won the first round with her Victoria Sandwich. In week two Receptionist Sue Raff was 'Star Baker' with her traditional Shortbread and Dispenser Christine's Scones in week three were a clear favourite.
The smell in the main office each day was mouth watering as serious tasting and judging took place. Good team fun!
Your accountable GP
Our contract with NHS England requires us to advise you of your named 'accountable GP'. The named individual is the GP designated to take overall responsibility for your care at the Practice ensuring that services are offered and delivered to you at the appropriate time.
You will recall that when you registered with us you were also allocated a 'registered GP', and having discussed this matter with our patient reference group, there was strong support for not confusing patients advising them of another named individual; when most people are happy with the way we offer both continuity of care and choice of clinician to our patients.
We have produced a leaflet which explains our plan to meet out contractual obligation with NHS England. Click here for a copy. The leaflet is available in hard copy from our reception desks at both sites with notification of this approach on the top of your repeat prescription listing.
NHS 111 for out of hours care and support
The NHS 111 service is available for patients to call when the surgery is closed. Trained clinicians are on hand to answer health related queries, provide general advice or arrange for a doctor or nurse to discuss your more specific need. NHS 111 is for when your need is less urgent that 999.
Lost clinician time because of missed appointments
The number of patients not keeping their appointments has increased dramatically over the past 12 months. Our monitoring continues and we have now collated the data for the past 6 months.
Number of appointments
Hours of clinical time
Very often our staff receive comments about the availability of appointments and whilst we recognise that sometimes, for a number of reasons, appointments with some of our clinicians may have to be booked a little way ahead, the audit shows that this wait could be reduced for some patients if those not wishing to keep their appointments remembered to cancel them.
In December alone, we could of seen an additional 6 patients each working day if patients had of cancelled appointments they did not need.
We appreciate that some of these missed appointments could very well include misunderstandings between patients and our team but even allowing for a couple of these a week, this is still a huge number simply because people forget or do not ring to cancel them when they are not needed.
Please help us manage this situation and save valuable appointment time by contacting us to cancel and or amend your appointment if it is not needed.
Reminders are sent now by SMS text 24 hours before booked appointments. If you have not provided us with your mobile telephone number, please do, so we can send a reminder. Thank you.
Get our Practice App on your phone
You can now access our online services on your mobile phone.
Visit our website on your phone and you will simply be prompted to 'tap' and add the web app to your home screen on your phone; from where you can access our online services with your usual online login and password. If you do not currently have online access, please contact the surgery by phone or by email@example.com requesting password access.
Friends and Family Test (FFT)
Like all Practices in England and following other health care providers, we have launched our Friends and Family Test (FFT). The Friends and Family Test is an opportunity for patients to provide feedback on the services we provide. The test, initially introduced in hospitals in 2013, asks patients how likely they are to recommend our service to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment.
Patients can complete the questionnaire cards available in both our reception areas or the on-line version which can be accessesd from the 'have your say' part of our web site.
Whilst the results are available nationally we have chosen to share each months results (April 2016 to date) with our patients by clicking here.
This graph shows the results for the previous 12 months to 31st March 2016.
(Site updated 16/01/2017)