April 2022: Surgery system upgrade
Essential information affecting appointments, prescriptions and online services is available here.
April 2022: Newsletter
Please read our April Newsletter
Here are a couple of New Year resolutions to think about:
1) Get vaccinated – we are doing jabs in our own building most days to make it convenient for you - and we will have at least one weekend option in January as well.
2) Lose weight – intermittent fasting and low carb is working for hundreds of our patients so why not you. Take a look at a few ‘Mastermind’ videos of our patients talking about how it was for them. Many more to be added soon – could one be you? Come and join SHIFT (Saxmundham Health Intermittent Fasting Team)
January 2022: Newsletter
Please read our January Newsletter
July 2021: Saxmundham Newsletter
Health Data Opt Out Information (see below)
SaxVax Covax Fundraising Update
We have just finished an intense vaccination stint at Saxmundham Health during which we initiated a daily collection for COVAX. We used a UNICEF video in the Waiting Room which was watched by a captive audience of post vaccination patients with 15 minutes of observation to endure! They responded magnificently with donations totalling over £26000 which amazed us.
We have had wonderful sustained support from both our Patient Participation Group and IP17 Good Neighbour Scheme. They have been out in the cold, wet and snow controlling the flow of patients and it would not have been possible without their help. We were given some vouchers by a grateful patient which we offered to them but they declined. This showed what dedicated volunteers they are and their example has inspired others to donate to those less fortunate.
The vaccination campaign continues to be hard work but patients have been both grateful and generous making the whole experience really worthwhile.
Saxmundham Health were all really keen to play a part in the vaccination campaign and agreed to offer COVID weekend vaccinations to our patients while our Primary Care Network (PCN) partner Practice in Leiston offered weekday vaccinations from Sizewell Club. Together NHS England approved the offer of 7-day vaccinations.
All our staff met and agreed a staffing rota to provide a seven day a week service from Saxmundham with usual GP work Monday to Friday and the extra vaccination service at weekends until our population was protected. Imagine our shock when we were told that, after an intense weekend, we should expect another supply of Pfizer vaccine on Monday that had to be given over the next few days due to the vaccine expiry date. Hasty plans were then made with a flagging workforce to add in afternoon and evening clinics from Tuesday for the rest of the week knowing we would still have the following weekend to cope with.
We have just completed ten days of solid back-to-back vaccination clinics and have vaccinated just short of 4000 patients! We have been out to the housebound and Nursing Homes, just like most General Practices, but few small Practices will have received so much of the expensive vaccine that has to be used quickly.
We are now down to inviting Group 6 which equates to patients between 60 and 65 and many will see this as unfair nationally where so many patients in higher risk groups are still waiting. I think this just shows how resourceful General Practice is in that if a laudable task is set we will move mountains to achieve it - but it is up to NHSE to set the tasks fairly across the country.
After a spate of retirements, we only have one GP Partner left so one might have thought that the capacity to respond to the challenge would be minimal. The truth is that General Practice is all about teams of Salaried GPs, Nurses, Managers, HCAs, Care Navigators, Dispensers and Secretaries who all play a crucial role in our achievement. Teamwork really is the answer and we include our very hard working Patient Participation Group who helped so much with marshalling and you, our patients, who made delivering the service both an honour and a joy.
Dr Havard has provided a short video with the latest information on our vaccination programme:
Improving the care of patients in Care Homes during the Covid pandemic
Dr Havard and Suzie have been working on ways to improve the care of patients in Care Homes during the Covid pandemic.
Dispensary: Behind the Scenes!
Please see our Dispensary: Behind the Scenes video.
Care Navigation: Behind the Scenes!
Please see our Care Navigation Behind the Scenes video
Saxmundham Health - Caring with a passion for continual improvement
So, what improvements have we made that make Saxmundham Health stand out from the crowd and provide you with a better service?
We are extremely fortunate that Suzanne has joined us as a senior Mental Health Nurse. Suzanne used to be the Team Leader for all the Suffolk GP Mental Health workers. We are proud to be the only Practice in the County that offers five days a week of mental health worker support (ten sessions). This appointment cements our unique service and emphasises just how important we feel mental health is. Local GP Surgeries only have half a day a week so we feel very fortunate to be leading the way. We have two Mental Health Nurses, Suzanne and Sarah who cover the whole week between them.
Nurse Consultant role
Suzie is a very experienced Consultant Nurse who has recently joined us in a new demanding role which we are still developing. Suzie has 25 years of experience in out of hours, emergency care, primary care and ambulance services. She has managed large units in big hospitals, including Trauma and Orthopaedics in Ipswich, and Emergency Care in Addenbrookes. Suzie has Master of Science qualification in Advanced Practice, and will lead on our staff education and training as well as doing clinical work. We are also starting to develop our research in Practice which will be exciting, and only right for a General Practice at the cutting edge.
Physiotherapy at Saxmundham Health
Prior to COVID I believe we were the only Practice offering five days a week of on-site Physiotherapy. Patients need urgent Physiotherapy assessments to ease pain and get back to normal activities. This cannot happen with long waits which can also make conditions more difficult to treat.
Using IT more
We have had some great successes with SHIFT (Saxmundham Health Intermittent Fasting Team) and, now Boris has pronounced on obesity, we will be bolder about taking this initiative forward. Please see this explanatory video called SHIFT which is about intermittent fasting.
Aside from this, we are also making a youtube video featuring three patients – two with pre-diabetes who have both lost over a stone (one nearly two stone) and one severe Type 2 has even now come off insulin. We want to celebrate their successes and use them to influence and encourage other patients. Tracey Riches our Diabetes Nurse Specialist has agreed to take part as she can make a powerful contribution from her experience with our diabetic patients - particularly as she has also lost over a stone herself!
We are also going to make a short video to explain to you, our patients, just why we are not back to normal yet and how we are obliged to follow the national guidance. This can be sent seamlessly while talking to you on the phone and will help us explain the current situation more fully.
We might even produce other short films to show you behind the scenes. It might be helpful for patients to witness the Dispensary checking processes and therefore understand why it takes time to deliver this service safely. We are always looking for ideas so please pitch in if you have got one or approach our PPG (Patient Participation Group).
Julia our Pharmacist has been with us for a year now and makes a massive difference in her patient contacts about medications. She came with a lot of Community Pharmacy experience which she still continues on a part-time basis alongside her commitment to us.
As the care of patients with chronic diseases increases we find the demand for blood testing also rises. Hospital patients are supposed to go to the hospital for their tests or Landseer Road in Ipswich but this is not always possible. We have just employed another Phlebotomist Sue who comes with many years experience from working at Woodbridge and she will doubtless make a swift impact.
Young person Mental Health
Young people often find it most difficult to access mental health support. For this reason we have developed posters about common mental health problems that affect young people like anxiety/depression with QR codes. The codes link to interviews with young people about their problem and what the treatment was like. We place these posters inside toilet doors so the QR codes can be accessed in private and then the films can also be viewed at a time of their choosing.
Earlier on this year we had planned a new way of working called ‘Doctor Direct’ which involved telephone assessment by a clinician prior to an appointment. This was due to be launched on May 1st but, with COVID, we seamlessly moved into telephone assessments anyway. We are now pushing against an open door but still feel the leaflet is worth a read and attach it here.
We are always looking at how we do things and thinking about improvements to enhance the care of our patients. We are about to embark on a research project to improve care in Residential/Nursing Homes. The project involves Care Home staff using software we have had designed to assimilate a number of physiological measurements into a national score. These are things like pulse, respiratory rate, blood pressure etc and these are combined together to give a score. The Government has introduced weekly video ward rounds of Care Homes and we wanted to maximise the benefit of these. Clearly video can never be the same as face to face appointments but, if the consultation starts with systematically collected physical measurements, then we feel this should help identify early those patients who are becoming unwell. This is particularly important in patients with dementia as they may not be able to report if they feel unwell. Early identification should lead to prompter treatment and better outcomes - we will report our findings on the website.
Early on in the COVID outbreak it all became very scary after seeing what happened in Northern Italy and New Orleans. When the Government started building massive new hospitals it was clear we were facing a potentially massive crisis. There was speculation about 500,000 deaths which would have been particularly traumatic locally with our high percentage of elderly patients. The potential of full hospitals and looking after large numbers of dying patients at home was seriously worrying so we developed a strategy to help us cope should the predictions prove true. Fortunately they did not…..Our work was published in the Royal College Of General Practitioners Magazine.
Here at Saxmundham Surgery we are continuously striving to implement new projects which will have a beneficial effect on our patients and their health. Below are further details of some of our most recent projects.