Practice News & Blogs

12th Jun

June 2024 update

Dear Patients,

It's now been a few weeks since the exciting news about the upcoming practice merger has been shared and I'm happy to let you know lots of work is underway to ensure this is something that will benefit you, our patients, as our foremost consideration. It will take us some time to realise these, but we'll make sure to keep you updated about what we are working on as we go.

 

Patient Participation Group (PPG)

It's also important for us to hear your voices and to understand your priorities so please do consider joining or sending your comments to our PPG using their contact form on this page Patient Participation Group. They are keen to attract new members and it's a great way for me to hear from you. We'll also be making sure the PPGs from the Hilltops and Stony Medical Centres are all in touch with our group as we look to plan for the future.

 

How did we do in May?

 

I wanted to share some of information I look at, to see how we have been doing as a practice, for the month of May.

 

Total answered calls - 2672

Averaged answered - (per day)- 116

Average Queue Time - 18m 22s

Average Klink cased received (per day) - 132

Did Not Attend (DNA) - 165 or 4.01%

 

As you can see the number of calls and online cases, per day, we deal with is quite similar and this does not include our in person visits or e-mails sent in. Whilst I'm disappointed by the 18 minute average hold time I can let you know we were badly impacted by staff absence early in the month. looking at the 2nd half of the month in isolation shows an average hold time closer to 9 minutes so we are moving in the right direction but with more to do! (for the curious we are just under 8 minutes for June at the moment)

Our DNA numbers have crept up so please do let us know as early as possible if you can't make an appointment so the slot can be reallocated.

 

Klinik Replacement

 

I know this has been keenly awaited and am happy to share we are hoping to launch our new Accurx platform from the 1st of July. This will give you a much simpler and shorter form to complete when requesting a medical appointment as well giving us the ability to leave some of the request types active through our full working hours rather than everything coming down. I'm very excited about this and think it will greatly improve your experience in submitting requests to us. Hopefully it will also mean less people needing to call in or visit us so those of you who do will benefit from shorter hold times.

 

In Conclusion 

 

With my first few months in role completed, I'm pleased to see how the changes implemented this year are giving an improved experience and choice to our patients. I know we still have lots we can do to improve things further and we will always have constraints on our capacity but we continue to focus on doing more with what we have. Please do help us by getting involved with the PPG and making sure to attend appointments when booked. If you can submit online requests, when appropriate, this will help free up capacity to answer urgent calls and visits.

I look forward to giving you more information about how the merger is going in my next update.

 

Warm regards,

 

Edwin Botelho

Practice Manager

23rd May

Welcome to Watling Street Practice

The partners of Hilltops Medical Centre, Stony Medical Centre and Watling Vale Medical Centre are delighted to announce that from 1 July 2024 our three practices will join together as one, Watling Street Practice.

 

 What does this mean for me as your patient?

 

  1. What do I need to do as your patient?

You do not need to do anything. As our patient nothing will change for you in terms of how you access your practice. 

 

  1. Who will I be registered with?

 

Although it makes no difference to your care, you will be registered with our new partnership named Watling Street Practice.

 However, you will still receive your care from the 3 current locations. Moving forward these will be named;

  • Watling Street Practice @ Great Holm
  • Watling Street Practice @ Kiln Farm (PCN office / non-clinical)
  • Watling Street Practice @ Shenley Church End; and
  • Watling Street Practice @ Stony Stratford

 

  1. How will I contact you?

 

We will have one website www.watlingstreetpractice.co.uk

 We will use one Online Consultation Tool (AccruX). 

 In time we will have one telephone number, but for now we will continue to use our 3 separate numbers so please continue to use the number you are familiar with, but from 1 July please expect your call to be answered as ‘Watling Street Practice’.

 

  1. Will my Doctor Change?

 

We are making no changes to our staffing so the people you are familiar with will all still be working for our new larger practice so, your Doctor will remain your Doctor.

 

  1. What does this mean for staff?

 

Firstly and most importantly this is not about losing any staff or cutting any costs. 

 All staff will continue to be employed we will simply now be employed by all the partners i.e.: Drs Sehar Ali, Mahmood Atab, Rebecca Bradshaw, Margaret Field, Amit Goyal, Sarah Grinyer, Manpreet Kohli, Deepali Madhotra, Sridevy Raju, Patricia Regis and John Slippe-Quartey.

 The 11 doctors have come together to work as one partnership, under one contract and with one name - Watling Street Practice.

 

  1. Where will I go for my face-to-face appointments?

 

We will continue to work from four locations when merged, the difference being that instead of visiting Hilltops Medical Centre, Stony Medical Centre or Watling Vale Medical Centre), your appointment will be at one of the following:

  • Watling Street Practice @ Great Holm
  • Watling Street Practice @ Kiln Farm (PCN office / non-clinical)
  • Watling Street Practice @ Shenley Church End; and
  • Watling Street Practice @ Stony Stratford

 You can ask to be seen in any of the locations.  Your chosen location may be based on the speed with which you need to be seen, which clinician you need to see and/or your ability to travel.

 Please be reassured, consideration will always be given to your ability to travel when an appointment is booked.

 

  1. Where will my records be stored?

 

We will use the same clinical system (SystmOne) but instead of 3 modules we will have just one.  You will not need to do anything, this merging of our clinical systems will happen in the background.

 

Are you cutting or changing any services?

 Quite simply no, we are not.

 In fact, from 1 July some patients will see immediate improvements to their care. For instance:

  • Not all of our practices are able to offer a LARC service (long acting reversable contraceptives i.e.: COILS and Implants) but from 1 July, as one merged practice all patients will have access to a practice based LARC appointment.
  • Not all of our practices are able to offer our diabetic patients an insulin initiation service but from 1 July all patients will have access to a practice-based appointment instead of travelling to hospital.

 Over time there will be improvements to other services and the way they are delivered but any adaptations will be done in consultation with the team members key to the service evolution, including our Patient Participation Group (PPG).

 With any changes, patient choice will remain paramount and providing care close to home will remain a priority.

 

Why is this merger a good idea?

Bringing our three practices together will make us safer and more secure. By having a larger partnership, all working under one NHS contract, our joined-up practice will be more robust and will be able to respond more positively to change.

Together we will be able to work more innovatively as our knowledge base will be broader.  We can work collaboratively to develop new ways of working enhancing patient care and increasing capacity and access to appointments.

Together our collective skills and experience will be combined making the whole greater than the sum of our parts.

We recognise that change can be concerning – but we believe that there are exciting times ahead of us. If you have any questions, please come and speak to a member of staff, who will be able to help you further.

 

Thank you all for your support, Drs Sehar Ali, Mahmood Atab, Rebecca Bradshaw, Margaret Field, Amit Goyal, Sarah Grinyer, Manpreet Kohli, Deepali Madhotra, Sridevy Raju, Patricia Regis and John Slippe-Quartey.

10th May

Patient Participation Group (PPG) meeting - 14/05/2024

Hi Patients,

I'm happy to announce the restart of our in practice PPG meetings, which were paused during the Covid period. Our next practice based meeting will be held next week on Tuesday, 14th May, starting at 7pm.

 

As the new Practice Manager I've already spoken to many of you and heard about issues you find frustrating as well as many of the positives of the surgery. With a programme of changes already underway to improve patient experience I'd really value the input we can get from a group meeting as we work to keep improving the surgery. 

I'll also be able to share more news on areas we are working on and provide more detail than can fit in my newsletters. 

Importantly it's a chance for us to hear about community priorities and find ways to work together to deliver on them where possible.

This is open to all patients, so if you have an interest in coming along to see what it's all about please do.

I look forward to seeing you next week!

25th Apr

New Phone System going live

Dear Patients,

I’m happy to share that we go live with our new phone system later today we hope it results in a much improved experience for you.

Some of the key changes you can expect are,

  • When receiving a call from us the caller ID will no longer be hidden so you can have confidence in picking up the call. This should result in less need for calling back in and help us reduce queuing times.
  • We now have capacity for all incoming calls so no more engaged tone!
  • If we have more than 10 calls queued, you will be offered the choice to have a call back when you reach the front of the queue. This is automated and you will not lose your place. This will help those using pay as you go phones and allow you to get on with other things while you wait.
  • If you are unable to answer when called back the system will remember your phone number (if not withheld) and when you call back to us you will go straight back to the front of the queue if it’s on the same day.
  • Menu options will include going directly to the Prescription or Secretaries Teams helping us getting you talking to the right person straight away.
  • If you are calling to cancel an appointment, you will have the option to do this with a voicemail so you don’t need to wait in the queue to speak to a team member.

We will be closely monitoring how things go over the first few days and I’d love to have your feedback at blmkicb.watlingvale.contact@nhs.net

Where possible we would still encourage use of the NHS app and Klinik to free up capacity on the phone lines allowing us to pick up calls quicker.

2nd Apr

April 2024 update

Dear Patients,

I trust this message finds you well, and that you had a pleasant Easter Weekend. Today marks my first day as your new Practice Manager, and I am thrilled to be part of the team, committed to enhancing your experience whenever you need us.

 The Team

Following up from my February update, I am delighted to inform you of the positive changes within our team. We've welcomed new members and returning staff, resulting in an improved staffing situation with more team members available each day. While we aspire to further bolster our team, these recent additions are certainly cause for celebration!

During March, we welcomed Sarah to our Reception team, and Fidelis joined us as our new Phlebotomist. I'm pleased to share that Fidelis has been receiving exceptional feedback from patients:

"The lady who did my bloods was new, and such a lovely lady. First time I've not bruised too, quickly and no waiting around."

Thank you to those who have provided feedback through our NHS Friends and Family Survey. You can view the results here.

 

What's Changed?

Since my last update, we've implemented several significant changes aimed at improving our service to you:

  • We have introduced self-booking links for various appointment types, offering you the flexibility to schedule appointments at your convenience without the need to wait on the phone or visit the practice.
  • Our new patient registration system is now live, allowing new patients to complete their form online from the comfort of their homes. This integration significantly reduces administrative processing time whilst also reducing queues in the practice.
  • For in-practice appointments, we now send text reminders seven and one day in advance, including a cancellation link. Your cooperation in cancelling appointments through this link has significantly reduced missed appointments, from an average of 216 per month to just 132 in February and March.

 

What's Upcoming?

I've been actively reviewing common areas of frustration raised by patients:

  • An update on our phone system improvement, scheduled for late April, will be shared in a separate post detailing the features and benefits to enhance your calling experience.
  • Regarding Klinik, I am exploring alternative systems to provide more flexibility in service availability, especially in the afternoons and a simpler form to complete.
  • We are reviewing our results follow-up appointment process to ensure smoother communication. Instead of you being asked to initiate contact after receiving results, we will proactively provide appointment slots or inform you of ongoing arrangements. This aims to streamline the process and minimise delays in follow-up care.

 

Patients without Digital Access

As we advance with online solutions, I am mindful of patients without digital access. Your needs remain a priority, and every patient we can transition to self-service tools alleviates pressure on our phone lines and queues, allowing our team more time to assist you.

 

In Conclusion

Change is underway, but there's still much to accomplish. I am committed to engaging with you to identify further improvements. Initiatives such as restarting our Patient Participation Group and updating notice board content are just a few items on our agenda.

Thank you for your continued support and feedback as we work towards providing the best possible care for you.

Warm regards,

Edwin
Practice Manager

15th Feb

February 2024 update

 

Hi Patients of Watling Vale Medical Centre,

I hope this message finds you well. My name is Edwin, and I'm supporting to the practice part time from within my role in the Watling Street PCN. I'm excited to announce that, starting in April, I'll be stepping into the role of Practice Manager on a full-time basis.

I understand that our practice has faced some challenges recently, particularly with staffing shortages impacting the level of service we strive to provide. However, I want to assure you that we are actively working on several initiatives to address these issues and one of these is to enhance communication with you, our valued patients.

 

The Team

 

I'm delighted to share some positive news on the staffing front. We have welcomed two new members to our reception team, with Lynda currently undergoing induction training and another team member set to join us in March. Additionally, we eagerly anticipate the return of Charlotte next week following a period of leave.

While some time will be needed for training, these additions to our team will undoubtedly result in improved service delivery over the coming months. We sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding during this period of understaffing.

Furthermore, we are excited to announce that a new Phlebotomist will be joining us in March, which will expand the availability of blood tests and reduce appointment wait times. We anticipate seeing the benefits of this addition in the latter half of March and thank you for your understanding as we work to accommodate everyone's needs.

 

Improving Phone Accessibility

 

I have received numerous pieces of feedback regarding difficulties reaching us by phone. Our current phone system has limitations, often resulting in engaged tones and frustrating wait times. Please rest assured that we are not intentionally disconnecting calls.

In the next couple of months, we will be transitioning to a more modern system called Surgery Connect. This investment will eliminate engaged tones and provide us with better insights into call volume, allowing us to manage demand more effectively. Additionally, the new system will offer features such as auto callback, reducing the need for extended hold times. More information about Surgery Connect will be provided before its implementation.

 

Klinik

 

Many of you have expressed concerns about the inconsistent operating hours of our online appointment and request platform, Klinik. While we understand the desire for extended availability, high demand has necessitated some adjustments.

All requests for non-routine appointments are reviewed by our doctors on the same day to prioritise those with the most pressing needs. When same-day availability is exhausted, the system is paused, and alternative options are provided for urgent care.

Klinik will always be available for new requests starting at 8 am, with requests generally closing around 12 pm (11 am on Mondays). If you prefer to contact us by phone or in person, you will be guided through the same questions used online. We encourage submitting requests in the morning whenever possible.

Don't forget, you can also use the NHS or SystmOnline AirMid apps to request repeat prescriptions when Klinik is unavailable. This not only simplifies the process but also contributes to our efforts to become a greener practice.

 

In Conclusion

 

Please know that myself and the entire team at Watling Vale Medical Centre are committed to delivering the best possible experience for our patients. We acknowledge areas where improvement is needed and are actively implementing initiatives to address them. I look forward to sharing more on these over the coming months.

Despite the challenges, we remain dedicated to providing quality care to each of our patients. With over 4000 appointments booked in January alone, we are continuously striving to meet your health needs to the best of our abilities within our resources.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we work towards a better healthcare experience for all.

 

Warm regards,

Edwin Practice Manager (starting April)

 

 

 

13th Feb

Measles and Vaccination

Measles spreads very easily among those who are unvaccinated, especially in nurseries and schools. It can be a very unpleasant illness and, in some cases can lead to hospitalisation and sometimes can cause death. Vaccines are our best line of defence against diseases like measles and help stop outbreaks occurring in the community.

 

We are calling on all parents and carers to make sure their children are up to date with their 2 MMR doses. You can check if your child is up to date with their MMR vaccines, by either looking in their Child Health Record (PCHR) or red book, or you can contact your GP practice. You can also check your vaccination records on the NHS App.

 

 The MMR vaccine is free on the NHS, whatever your age.

11th Sep 2023

Shingles

From September 2023, there will be changes to the dose schedule in the shingles vaccination programme.

Please download this excel workbook which contains a shinlges calucator to find out if you are eligible for the vaccine. 

 

https://www.healthpublications.gov.uk/ViewArticle.html?sp=Sshingleseliligibiltycalculatorfromseptember2023

 

22nd Sep 2022

COVID-19 autumn booster

Please note: Watling Vale Medical Centre are currently NOT be administering any COVID-19 vaccines as part of this programme.

Who is being offered an autumn booster?

COVID-19 is more serious in older people and in people with certain underlying health conditions.

This winter it is expected that many respiratory infections, including COVID-19 and flu may be circulating at high levels – this may put increasing pressure on hospitals and other health care services. For these reasons, people aged 50 years and over, those in care homes, and those aged 5 years and over in clinical risk groups are being offered an autumn booster of COVID-19 vaccine.

A booster will also be offered to front-line health and social care staff, those who care for vulnerable individuals and families of individuals with weakened immune systems.

The autumn booster is being offered to those at high risk of the complications of COVID-19 infection, who may have not been boosted for a few months. As the number of COVID-19 infections increases over the winter, this booster should help to reduce your risk of being admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

The booster may also provide some protection against mild Omicron infection but such protection does not last for long.

Seasonal boosters

A seasonal booster (autumn booster) can be booked online for anyone who is:

  • aged 65 or over
  • pregnant
  • aged 5 and over and at high risk due to a health condition
  • aged 5 and over and at high risk because of a weakened immune system
  • aged 16 and over and lives with someone who has a weakened immune system
  • aged 16 and over and is a carer, either paid or unpaid
  • a frontline health and social care worker

People aged 50 to 64 years old who are not in any of these groups will be able to get a seasonal booster (autumn booster) later in autumn 2022.

The appointment dates you'll be offered will start from 3 months (91 days) after your previous dose

 

Timing of the autumn booster

You should be offered an appointment between September and December, with those at highest risk being called in first. You should have your booster at least 3 months after your last dose of vaccine.

If you are eligible for a flu vaccine, you may be able to have them at the same time – if not please go ahead anyway, you can catch up with the other vaccine later.

 

Which vaccine will you be offered?

You will be given a booster dose of a vaccine made by Pfizer or Moderna. You may be offered an updated combination version of these booster vaccines – the combination vaccines include a half-dose of the previous vaccine combined with a half-dose of a vaccine against the Omicron variant. For a very small number of people another vaccine product may be advised by your doctor.

Both the previous and the combination vaccines boost protection very well, although the combination vaccines produce slightly higher levels of antibody against some strains of Omicron.

As we cannot predict which variants of COVID-19 will be circulating this winter, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have concluded that both types of vaccine can be used in adults, and that no one should delay vaccination to receive combination vaccines. So you will be offered the right vaccine for you at the right time.

Please accept the vaccination that is offered to you as soon as you are able to – it is important to have your booster and build up your protection against severe illness before the winter.

 

Who cannot take up the offer of an autumn booster

There are very few people who should not have this booster. If you have had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine you should discuss this with your doctor.

 

Further information

You can read the COVID-19 guides below for more information:

These leaflets are available free to order or download and are available in various languages and alternate formats.

Visit coronavirus booster vaccination on NHS.UK.

Read the product information leaflets for UK recipients of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for more details on your vaccine, including possible side effects.

(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-autumn-booster-resources/a-guide-to-the-covid-19-autumn-booster)

 

23rd Mar 2022

Spring Booster Programme

Please note: Watling Vale Medical Centre are currently NOT be administering any COVID-19 vaccines as part of this programme.

The NHS will be offering further COVID-19 booster vaccinations to patients who are:

  • Aged 75 years and over
  • Living in a residential care home for older people
  • Aged 12 years and over and immunosuppressed*

 Spring Boosters will be offered to these groups six months after their last dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The programme will start from 21st March 2022.

If you are eligible, you will be contacted by the NHS. You can then arrange an appointment at a vaccination centre by visiting www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/ or calling 119.

For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-spring-booster-resources/a-guide-to-the-spring-booster-for-those-aged-75-years-and-older-residents-in-care-homes

https://www.blmkccg.nhs.uk/covid-19/drop-in-covid-19-vaccination-sessions-available/

10th Jan 2022

Tell the NHS about coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations you've had abroad

This service enables you to book an appointment to show evidence for any coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations you've had outside of England. This is so the NHS can securely update your vaccination record.

We urgerg all patient who have had any part of their COVID Vaccine aminstered abroad to follow the link below 

Tell the NHS about coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations you've had abroad - NHS (www.nhs.uk)