Note from the PPG Chair
From time to time, it is necessary to reach out to all of our patients regarding up and coming developments and changes at the practice. As we approach both winter and indeed the festive season during December and the start of 2024, it seemed appropriate to share with you, several of the problems that we are currently facing.
Unfortunately, we have little if any control over staff illness and it is with regret that we now have two of our partners on indefinite sick leave.
This will have a significant effect on our ability to operate at our usual capacity in terms of patient throughput and face to face contact. Maintaining patient safety is of course paramount and we have to continually balance this against our ability to see as many patients as we can. Please remember that seeing a GP is not always the most appropriate course of action and we are fortunate in being supported by a range of well qualified healthcare professionals such as our Pharmacy team, Physiotherapist, excellent nurses and other ancillary support staff.
This is a difficult time of the year and with additional pressure from seasonal illnesses such as influenza, RSV, common colds and indeed Covid, which is still very much with us, we would ask that where eligible, you take the necessary precautions in terms of attending for vaccinations. We know that pharmacists are coming under more and more pressure as well,but they have a wealth of knowledge in terms of being able to offer advice for many common complaints and these seasonal illnesses.
Fronting services at the surgery, is our wonderful team of patient co-ordinators, but as with our clinical team, they are also under tremendous pressure to try and "keep the doors open" and maintain a smooth and manageable workflow. They are also family members and we currently have two of them who will shortly be off on maternity leave which puts additional pressure on others who are only too quick to step up to the mark. Filling these positions on a temporary basis is nigh on impossible when one considers the amount of training needed and indeed in finding the right person for the job !
We are of course actively recruiting for both clinical and administrative staff, but this is proving extremely challenging. However, I do have to say that all is not "doom and gloom" ! We will be joined in January by Dr Tom Parrott who has completed all his training with us and we have recently been fortunate in obtaining the services of an experienced nurse who will stand in for one of our other senior team members who has just started her Advanced Nurse Practitioner Training. This week, we have also upgraded our telephone system so that callers who find themselves in a queue, will be given the opportunity to request an automatic call back on a priority basis.
As a patient myself at the surgery, I totally understand some of the frustration we all experience, especially when we are unwell and feeling vulnerable. This scenario is not unique to Chawton Park and indeed talking to a significant number of patients, the vast majority are supportive, empathic and fully understand this is a nationwide problem. We are fortunate in Alton in having 3 good practices and a forward thinking Primary Care Network which as a body is committed to delivering a safe, quality assured, proactive and patient centred approach to healthcare. Our patient co-ordinators work hard to maintain a smooth operational workflow and it is very often, these members of staff who "face the frontline" on a daily basis. We fully understand that frustration can get the better of any of us, but we do ask that when calling or visiting the surgery, you treat our staff with the same courtesy and respect as you would wish to be treated.
At this point, may I take the opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and good health in the New Year.
Chair of PPG
Diabetic Eye Screening Extended Intervals
Diabetic Eye Screening has changed the frequency of screening for Patients who are at a lower risk of diabetic eye related diseases.
Patients who are at a lower risk, will now be invited for screening every 2 years instead of every year.
How can I find out more about NHS diabetic eye screening?
To read more about diabetic eye screening and diabetic retinopathy visit:
Diabetic eye screening - Diabetic eye screening - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Your guide to diabetic eye screening - Your guide to diabetic eye screening - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Hampshire & Thames Valley Non- Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS) Update
From 1st November 2023, Healthcare professionals will no longer be able to book non-emergency patient transport.
Please read the attached poster for further information - Whats changing Nov 2023 - Patient Version.pdf
COVID and Seasonal Flu vaccination Autumn programme 2023/24
COVID and flu vaccinations Autumn 2023 / 2024
If you are eligible to receive the flu and or COVID vaccination, you will shortly receive an invitation to book in to a Practice within the A31 PCN. However, please do only contact the Practice you are registered with to book any appointments.
We will be using an automated booking system where you can pick your own appointment via a link that will be sent to your mobile or email address. There will also be some appointments made available via the online accounts.
If you do not have access to an online account, a mobile phone or email, please do call the Practice or pop in and speak to a member of our team.
Invitations will start being sent after Friday 1st September 2023, and we will be prioritising our most vulnerable patients first.
Where patients are eligible for their flu AND COVID vaccination, clinical studies have shown that it is safe to co administer the vaccines and so we will try where possible to offer both on the same day. However, we do understand that some patients would prefer to have these vaccinations on separate dates. If this is the case, please do let the team know at the time of booking
If you are unsure, please see below those who are eligible for the 2023/2024 flu vaccination programme:
- 6 months - 65 years in clinical risk groups
- pregnant women
- all aged 65 years and over on 31st March 2024
- those in long stay residential care homes
- carers, those in receipt of carers allowance or main carer of an older or disabled person
- household contacts of immunocompromised individuals
- frontline health and social care staff
** Please note that this is different to the flu cohorts for the previous years. **
Those eligible for the COVID vaccination in the 2023/23 programme are as follows:
- Residents in a care home for older adults
- all adults aged 65 years and over
- persons aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group
- frontline health and social care workers
- persons aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts (as defined in the Green Book) of people with immunosuppression
- persons aged 16 to 64 years who are carers (as defined in the Green Book) and staff working in care homes for older adults.
New Chawton Park Surgery Facebook page
The Practice now has a facebook page, which will be used for updating our patients on important information, Facebook
A31 Cancer Care-Coordinator
The A31 has a dedicated cancer care-co-ordaintor who is available to be contacted regarding support for patients with cancer, also to help to keep our patients up to date with what free screening is available to all patients.
Hannah is available via firstname.lastname@example.org for routine queries and support. For any urgent queries or medical advice please do contact the surgery as normal, or 111 or 999 in an medical emergency.
More information please see the dedicated page by clicking here - Cancer Care Coordinator advice pages
Saturday Primary Care Services: Alton & Four Marks
The practices of the A31 Primary Care Network are pleased to announce that from June 10th there will be additional Saturday appointments in the Alton & Four Marks area available for our patients to book.
These appointments will be run on our behalf by Mid Hants Healthcare and held at Chawton Park Surgery on behalf of the registered patients of The Wilson Practice, Chawton Park Surgery and Boundaries Surgery. This will be a local service provided for our patients and delivered within Alton and you may recognise some of the team members from your usual practices!
The new service will offer a wider range of services for our Alton and Four Marks population than currently offered on a Saturday and run between 09:00 – 17:00. Please check our A31 PCN Facebook page and your practice websites for more information as the service develops.
To book an appointment please contact your Practice as usual. Appointments will be available for booking from 1 June 2023.
Dr Catherine Standing - Maternity leave
We wish to advice our patients Dr Catherine Standing is now on maternity leave. Dr Stephen Chapman (Locum GP) starts on 9th May 2023 and will be looking after Dr Standing's patients in her absense.
Help needed for Atopic Eczema Study
We are looking for children aged 1 to 15 years who are currently experiencing OR are newly diagnosed with ATOPIC ECZEMA.
For further information contact: Dr Emma Bowen-Simpkins or Joanne Dash at the Practice on 01420 542542.