Important Information Regarding COVID Testing
Flu Season Update
The lighter nights are coming to an end and the colder months are upon us which must mean one thing… It’s Flu Vaccine season!
This year, the eligibility criteria for the free flu vaccine has changed. The following patients will be eligible:
- Adults 65 and over
- People with certain medical conditions (including children in at-risk groups from 6 months of age)
- Pregnant women
- People living with someone who’s at high risk from Coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list)
- Children aged 2-3 on 31st August 2020
- Children in Primary School
- Children in Year 7
- Frontline Health & Social Care Workers
Later in the flu season, the vaccine may be given to people aged 50 to 64 who are not in an at-risk group. More information regarding this will be available later on in the year.
Letters are being sent to patients who are eligible and will contain information about how and when to book your flu vaccination. Wherever possible we would ask our patients to refrain from calling us regarding the flu vaccination to keep our phone lines available for patients who need medical attention. All eligible patients will be contacted in due course, but due to an increase in eligibility criteria, it may take us a little while longer to get through to all patients.
When your flu vaccination has been booked you will be required to:
- Bring your letter with you to your appointment, if you do not bring the letter and the consent form attached, we will be unable to administer the vaccination
- Wear a face mask or covering to protect yourself, our staff and other patients
Keep your eyes peeled on our Social Media channels and websites for further updates.
Affected by Cancer? North Derbyshire Expert Patient Volunteers can help!
So far our Buddy Service has received 100% positive feedback. Interim service feedback has indicated that service receivers wish to continue with Buddy support. The service has been described as a ‘life line’ providing an opportunity for patients and carers to share experience and gain reassurance that they would have otherwise sought from clinicians and other health care professionals.
Buddy Volunteer training has been developed and delivered by qualified trainers in partnership with Macmillan which includes:
1. Listening and responding
2. Establishing and maintaining boundaries
3. Handling difficult conversations
5. Lone Working
8. Data Protection
Buddy Volunteers also receive monthly supervision.
The Expert Patient Programme has been accredited against the Macmillan Volunteering Standards, so you can be assured that the support offered will be of a high standard and compliant with best practice.
Exciting Announcement: The Brand New RPC App
We’ve been working on something really exciting and we are very happy to finally be able to share it with you.
The RPC App brought to you in conjunction with the team at Family Health+.
With the RPC App you can:
- Take a health assessment with tailored hints and tips to help you improve your health and wellbeing.
- Use the virtual health assistant to find information about medical problems and be directed to appropriate resources.
- Contact RPC through tailored triage questions for a review/callback from one of the RPC clinicians.
The RPC App is a great way of putting you in control of your health
Download from the Apple store here: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/family-health/id1523638494
Download from the Google Play store here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.co.simplehealthsolutions.fhp
Important information regarding requests for letters to exempt patients from wearing masks
RPC: The Current State of Primary Care
Are you aware of the pressures faced in primary care? Do you want to understand why sometimes it's difficult to get an appointment? We've put together a video that we hope will start to explain!
Like-minded Organisations Join Together
In autumn this year the Chesterfield Medical Partnership (CMP) will officially join together with Royal Primary Care (RPC) becoming ‘RPC Chesterfield North-West’.
CMP provides primary care services to 14,000 patients out of surgeries based in Ashgate, Holme Hall and Whittington - and is rated ‘GOOD’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
RPC – covering areas of Chesterfield South-East (Grangewood, Staveley and Inkersall) and North East Derbyshire (Clay Cross and Grassmoor) has also delivered rapid improvements, achieving the same CQC ‘GOOD’ rating earlier this year.
CMP approached RPC about a mutual and beneficial collaboration, attracted by RPC’s way of working and visible improvements. As a clinical division of Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust) for the last five years, RPC is outside the more traditional primary care model, complimenting the model delivered by CMP. With both organisations innovative and forward thinking, joining together ensures they remain viable and sustainable and can respond to the significant challenges primary care faces.
Patients and staff won’t see any visible difference (staff, surgeries and opening hours will remain exactly the same across CMP and RPC). This new collaboration simply offers a range of opportunities and improvements for the future. For example, as part of the Chesterfield Vocational Training Scheme, CMP brings expertise in GP training programmes - and it also hosts a long-standing and successful commercial research company. Both CMP and RPC support effective mixed clinical teams, in line with the goals set out in the NHS Long-Term Plan, which advocates the development of ‘fully integrated community-based health care’ – including the creation of multidisciplinary teams, where GPs, pharmacists, nurses, mental health and allied health professionals work across primary care and hospital sites’.
In addition, with a combined and larger clinical team in place, there is the potential for ‘the new RPC organisation’ to run its home-visiting service in a different way; along with more options available to cover surgeries and balance workload at times of high-demand and operational pressures.
Commenting on the approach Chesterfield Medical Partnership made to RPC, Kate Chilton, Practice Director said: “We are a thriving and successful practice. Nevertheless, across the country, fewer GPs are inclined to become partners in a practice - so we were interested in how Royal Primary Care operates, as a way to future-proof and secure our services for our own patients. We felt that we’d really fit with RPC because they have a clinical model similar to ours and want to progress. We are pleased to have the opportunity to ‘join forces’ as we can see the potential it offers. We will benefit from being part of a larger group at a time when the Long-Term Plan for the NHS recommends that GP practices work in networks to proactively manage the health and well-being of their populations. We feel really excited about this opportunity!”
Divisional Director at Royal Primary Care, Dr Peter Scriven agrees that this is an exciting pooling of skills, knowledge and experience: “We are delighted to come together with the Chesterfield Medical Practice in a constructive way, so we can work on a common approach to improving patient and carer experience for the 44,000 local people we all look after. We are like-minded organisations. CMP brings expertise with it that will strengthen RPC - to improve the primary care offer to all of our patients. As a GP I fully understand how important continuity of care is and I want to emphasise that all our patients will continue to see the same GPs, in the same buildings which will be open at the same times as normal, I hope they’ll also appreciate the benefits of being part of a larger primary care group in these challenging times.”
The development has been subject to robust scrutiny – with workforce, working practices, finances, governance, building and facilities all going through examination. The amalgamation has been approved by local commissioners NHS Derby and North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, as well as NHS England. There has also been engagement with staff, patient participation groups and other interested parties – sharing details about the agreed merger, its opportunities and any potential risks.
Chief Operating Officer for Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Tony Campbell, is the executive lead for RPC and comments: “We’ve learnt a lot from the two RPC developments we’ve led over the past five years – clearly demonstrated by the CQC ‘GOOD’ rating both of them have now achieved. There have been challenges to overcome, although we have shown that this model can succeed and does improve patient care and services. “The Trust’s Board of Directors considered the Chesterfield Medical Partnership’s approach over a number of months. We feel that bringing CMP into our Royal Primary Care division is a positive that has a number of advantages. With a larger clinical team that includes a range of professionals, RPC as a whole is well-placed to support the NHS Long-Term Plan and it’ aims to keep patients well and independent, as well as caring for them when they have an urgent clinical need. What matters most is that we work as a single entity to provide safe, high-quality and effective care to our patients.”
It will remain ‘business as usual’ for patients - who will continue to contact their GP surgery as they would do normally for appointments, repeat prescriptions or other queries. Regular updates and information will also be posted on Royal Primary Care’s Facebook , Twitter and Instagram pages, as well as on its website.
Book Online: Sit & Wait Appointments
Good news! Our Sit and Wait appointments are now available on SystmOnline meaning you can book an on-the-day appointment without having to call or come to surgery.
Not signed up for online? All we need is a valid form of ID. SystmOnline not only allows you to book appointments but you can also order your medications and view a brief summary of your medical history. Pop to your local surgery with either a passport, drivers license or utility bill to sign up.
For more information on our appointments system and how our Sit and Wait appointments work, read here
Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Updated 13.03.2020
Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak we have taken urgent measures to protect our patients, staff and the most vulnerable in the community. Please read the information below and share with friends and family to help us get the message to as many patients as possible.
If you have Coronavirus symptoms:
- a high temperature and/or
- a new continuous cough
you will be asked to stay at home and self-isolate for 7 days.
DO NOT come to surgery, your local pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them that you are self-isolating unless you feel you cannot cope, your conditions gets worse or your symptoms do not get better in 7 days. For more information, visit https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
If you are symptomatic and have an appointment booked, please DO NOT attend and cancel it.
Booking Appointments with a GP/Nurse Practitioner
If you wish to make an appointment you must call the surgery rather than attend. If you attend surgery to make an appointment you will be asked to return home and call the surgery. We know this will increase the volume of our calls and have therefore boosted the number of call handlers to help. We appreciate that there may still be a wait, but please bear with us and we will get to your call as soon as we can.
When you call for an appointment, you will be placed on to a clinicians list for them to call you by phone. If the clinician feels it is appropriate to do so, you will then be booked in for a face to face appointment. For this reason, it is essential that you ensure we have your most up-to-date contact details.
Booking Appointments with our Nursing Team
To reduce risks to patients, we will notbe booking patients in for non-urgent nursing team appointments.
The nursing appointments that will continue in surgery are:
- Childhood immunisations
- Urgent Blood Tests
- Removal of sutures
We are holding certain appointment types at specific sites to prevent cross-contamination. This will mean that your appointment may not be at your usual site and whilst we appreciate this may not be convenient, in order to safely continue offering these appointments and protect the vulnerable, it is unavoidable.
Some appointments for example your annual review will be switched to telephone appointments which our reception team will advise you of.
Access to the Surgeries
From Tuesday 17thMarch, all surgery doors will be closed except for those patients that have been asked to attend following a telephone appointment. For surgeries with a pharmacy attached, the pharmacy will be open as normal but there will be no through access to the surgery from the pharmacy.
When coming for your appointment, we would strongly advise attending alone unless you require a carer.
If you normally collect your prescriptions from the surgery, your prescriptions will now be redirected to the pharmacy closest to your home postal address. You will be contacted by one of our prescription clerks who will make you aware that this has been done for you if you have recently put your prescription in to be processed. If you wish to change where your prescriptions are going, you can request this over the phone or this can alternatively be done online if you have access to our online system.
You can still continue to put your prescription in through your usual method however from Tuesday 17thMarch all surgery doors will be closed to the general public unless you have an appointment, therefore you will need to post your prescription in through our external prescription boxes or letter boxes.
Carers Week 2020
This year, Royal Primary Care are holding a Virtual Carers Week.
We are trying to identify as many Carers as we can, particularly those people who may be looking after a member of their family or helping a friend or neighbour with day to day tasks, who don’t really regard themselves as a Carer and are undertaking this vital activity without help or support. If you are caring for someone, we really would like you to let us know, so that we can ensure our records are up-to-date and we can:
- Support you as a Carer
- Maintain your own health
- Balance caring with other aspects of your life, like work and family, looking at both your current and future needs.
You will find Carers information on our Resource Hub here
If you are a Carer, please spend a few minutes to complete the Carers ID form. One of our Carers Champions, Melissa, Sheila, Elaine, Julie or Diane will contact you to help in any way they can.
The Carers in Derbyshire link holds a very useful directory to a range of services. There is also a link to The Derbyshire Carers Association. During Virtual Carers Week, you will be able to request a phone call from any of our Carers Champions via your usual surgeries phone. We have already recognised a lot of Carers and from the feedback we have received, they are all very grateful for the help and support that they are receiving and we want to continue to do this. We keep in regular contact with the Carers we currently have registered with us to ask if there is anything we can help with or to update our records with any changes to their Caring role.
COVID-19 from a Primary Care perspective
One of our very own GPs Dr Ruth Bentley is part of the Chesterfield Royal Hospital Governers Committee. She was recently asked to write about COVID-19 from a Primary Care perspective, and here's what she says:
"General practice has had to react to the pandemic, just as other health services have. It was clear very early on that our GP services had to change in response to the national advice to stay at home and the demands of social distancing. The team had new systems in place within a week with many services completely redesigned. It really is amazing what can be achieved when necessity takes over.
“At the heart of all of this was our leadership team which has been exemplary. We had daily conference calls to make sure we were all kept up to date with the developing situation regarding changes to daily operations and use of sites as “red” or “green”, as well as the ever present PPE discussions. Our Local Medical Committee sent daily email briefings on the issues that were affecting us on a national and county level and we were kept fully informed on what services were still available so that we could act accordingly. Some services were rapidly being commissioned across our Primary Care Network (PCN), such as the Covid home visiting service and the “Red Hub” for face to face assessments of possible Covid patients in the community. There was a lot of information to absorb about these new and evolving services. There was so much going on behind the scenes that people wouldn’t have known about from checking and rechecking lists of shielding patients to national changes in death certification for us all to understand.
“Our communication with patients has been very quick and efficient and I have to say that the patients and communities that use our services have been outstanding in their support. They know that they can’t come into the surgery unless they have an appointment. They also know that if they do come in to make sure they’re only a few minutes early so that our waiting areas don’t become overwhelmed and we can socially distance.
“With more people using the phone as a way of accessing a consultation, our admin and reception team has done a tremendous job. Their hours and days have had to change to suit social distancing and the management team has made certain to do all they can to accommodate each individual changing situation. As with all professions, our team have had to adapt to their own personal circumstances due to things like school closures and shielding or the need to self-isolate, so we’ve had to work together to adapt.
Working from Home
“This is where our management team have come in and made sure that those who can work from home have the tools to be able to do that. They’ve managed to source the hardware to make our patient records system available securely, at home and the CCG stepped up to help. This has all helped to make sure that home working is as effective as possible for those who need it so that we can serve our communities, and has meant we have not lost the expertise of those required to shield or isolate.
“Staying with the use of IT, we have been able to send the majority of prescriptions electronically direct to pharmacies to reduce foot fall in the surgery as well as waiting times in the pharmacies. The management team have enabled the clinical team to access the patient records system for each of our sites from any site. We have been able to absorb clinical activity across the whole organisation to enable prompt assessment of clinical need as well as keep up with the administration of lab results, letters and electronic prescriptions across the whole organisation. This is a great example of how we have pulled together as a team, to cover each other during times of heavier demand and make use of the capacity we have as a wider group.
“Throughout the multitude of changes there has remained a focus on staff wellbeing. One of the best things from my perspective has been the RPC support WhatsApp group which exists solely so we can keep in touch on a pastoral level. A photo of my morning dog walk is often shared despite the early hour – all the better to facilitate social distancing at 6.30am!
Restoration of Services
“We’ve now reached the point where a lot of the talk is turning towards restoration, how we change things back and what we might want to keep. There’s no denying that a lot of the changes we’ve made have worked very well. The team are looking at ways to incorporate those areas going forward. The possibility of video consultations is on the horizon which has the potential to bring how we manage various conditions and challenges into the 21st Century and increase choice and availability of appointments.
“For me, a perfect example of how necessity has driven positive change is our use of Consultant Connect which gives specialist help and advice for GPs across Derbyshire. It has been available for a while now, and the telephone advice has been well used to link in more closely with the Chesterfield Royal Hospital’s clinical team as well as a national network of consultants. However it is the tele dermatology option linking with the Dermatology team at Chesterfield Royal Hospital that has really come into its own. The RPC team set up a dedicated email account for patients to send in pictures of lesions or rashes which clinicians can directly access. We are then able to send the photograph alongside specific clinical information directly (and securely) to the Dermatologists who can analyse the image and give us a response often within two hours which is phenomenal. This means that we have a good idea about the next steps required for that patient and decide on a course of action whether that’s a referral or other type of treatment. It can potentially speed up urgent referrals as there is no need to wait for an appointment to “see” things in person. That is definitely a keeper.
“Many New Skills”
“We can tell from the prompt letters coming out from The Royal that telephone clinics have become the norm there as well. A summary of that call has been useful in the same way clinic letters from face to face consultations have been. I have also been receiving the excellent updates from Director of Nursing and Patient Care Lynn Andrews. I think one of the genuinely positive things to come out of this is that it has brought health organisations together in terms of how we work and share information. It’s also honed a number of skills and taught many of us new skills – including the use of Microsoft Teams for Governors Meetings. We’ve been able to reassess how we operate, how we approach certain decisions such as what we can and can’t do over the phone or virtually and our patients have been very supportive throughout. That can only be good for those who work here and for patients who use the services as we look at how we come out of this.
“That’s the next step, restarting services. It won’t be easy and there’s a lot to consider. For example these services will need to incorporate social distancing. The period of adaptation is far from over. It may be a slower process because changing services going into lockdown was done very quickly out of necessity but we need to be more considered coming out towards the “new normal”.
“All of our community services have been affected in the same way, whether we’re talking about midwifery, school health, community nursing or Child and Adolescent Mental Health. We’ve all made changes based on the evolving situation, some of which will stick and others will return to a different kind of normal. From my personal perspective I’d like to pay tribute to all of my colleagues who have done an exceptional job in exceptional circumstance but we couldn’t have done it without the cooperation and vigilance of our patients…a true collective effort.”
We've got our masks on, have you?
All patients attending the surgery must wear a face mask or covering and as you can see, all of our staff will be doing the same. Up until this point, we have been providing patients with face masks, however for us to provide these to every patient we would need over 8000 masks a month for all 8 of our surgeries which just isn't feasible!
Your mask or covering doesn't have to be fancy, it can be as simple as a scarf, providing it covers your mouth and nose. If you're feeling creative, you can even create your own.
For more information on face masks/coverings including how to make your own, see here