Thursday, July 25, 2013

Transforming Community Services


Community services includes district nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, bowel and bladder nurses and  community hospitals.  The current provider of our community services in Eastern Devon is Northern Healthcare Trust.  There is a requirement to launch a competitive tender for these services which will complete in October 2015.  Dr Kerr, has been involved with the NEW Devon CCG in leading some of the local discussion and focus on this re procurement.  Health Summits have been held in both Ottery and Honiton to consider the services provided by our community teams and further consultation will follow later in the year.  More information and details about how to contribute to these discussions can be found on the NEW Devon CCG website


Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG)  are responsible for commissioning £1.1 billion  of healthcare services on your behalf.  They have replaced Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and have been authorised to commission healthcare services from 1st April 2013.
The Eastern Locality is part of the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group. It has a population of c380,800 and is represented by four sub-localities: Exeter, Mid Devon, WEB (Woodbury, Exmouth and Budleigh) and Wakley (Axminster, Seaton, Sidmouth, Honiton and Ottery St Mary). Sub localities are smaller populations within Eastern Devon where care is commissioned uniquely to ensure it meets their different needs.

The Eastern Locality aims to improve health in all populations and reduce inequalities.
  A set of principles that support this vision include:

· To commission new models of care that promote early intervention, self care and high quality care at home
· To commission a stable and sustainable health and social care economy supporting providers through a three year transition programme
To commission services which meet the needs of the people of Eastern Devon 

Online Services


Patients can sign up to access our online appointment booking and repeat prescription ordering.  It is called SystmOnline.  Please ask our receptionists for more information.

Electronic Prescriptions


You no longer have to come into the practice to pick up a prescription instead we can usually send it electronically to the chemist of your choice.  If you would like to make use of this service please ask your local chemist to set it up for you.   If you consult with your doctor and would like your prescription to be sent directly to a pharmacy electronically (instead of taking the paper copy there yourself) please ask them to do this for you.

Car Park


Our car park is small and gets very busy with pedestrians and cars.   Please only use it if you are unable to walk from Land of Canaan or Sainsbury’s car park.  Please park considerately and not on the grass, garden or hatched areas; particularly the ambulance bay as this is used for ‘blue light’ emergencies

Email and Fax Communications


Emails and faxes are an attractive way for patients to communicate with the practice and we are pleased to deal with administration matters such as repeat prescriptions.  However it is difficult for us to respond quickly and appropriately to emails and faxes regarding appointments and requests about medical and personal circumstances that need advice.  In addition emails and faxes are not confidential.  Please avoid trying to communicate with your doctor or nurses in this way.

Stop Smoking


We run very successful one to one stop smoking sessions.  If you are still trying to kick the habit and need some help please make an appointment with one of our practice nurses.  Quitting not only improves your health, but those around you too

Waiting Room


As a result of suggestions from you,  our Patient Group and from the results of the patient survey, we are very pleased to be able to display up to date patient information and health messages on our TV screen as well as call patients.  Other improvements we made because you asked us to are hand gel dispensers in the waiting room and, on hot days, drinking water at reception. 

Carers Health Checks


Carer’s Health Checks are still available

All patients who have a caring role (for spouse, parent, child or friend/neighbour) are entitled to a free NHS health check.  We offer carer’s health checks here and would be pleased to see you at one of our appointments.  If you would have difficulty attending an appointment because of your caring responsibilities please let us know and we will try to find a way for you to access your health check.

If you have had a carers health check  in the past you may be eligible for a review.   Please telephone us to check.  We would be very pleased to see you again.

MMR Catch Up


We are currently inviting patients between 10-16 years old to attend our MMR catch up clinics.  If your child missed their MMR vaccinations or did not complete the course then please telephone us for an appointment.

Whilst the Swansea outbreak is now over, we strongly recommend that you arrange for your child to commence/complete the MMR vaccination programme now as measles is a nasty and potentially life changing/life threatening disease.

Appointment availability

Over the last few years GP practices up and down the country have experienced exceptional growth in demand for services.   There has also been plenty of news in the media lately about the UK’s aging population and the knock on effects on health provision, the NHS’s ability to pay for and provide new, life changing treatments and medicines and the Government target for the NHS to make £20 Billion of efficiency savings by 2015.  Every GP practice is challenged to offer more with limited and sometimes diminishing resources.

Over the last five years we have seen our registered list of patients increase by 44%, yet the number of face to face consultations increased by 91% and the number of telephone consultations by a staggering 409%  Nationally general practice is increasingly being provided by a predominantly female workforce and many GPs both male and female are actively choosing either to work part time in practices or to provide additional services with the extended NHS, often bringing externally acquired skills and competencies to their GP work.

I am very aware that some patients have found it difficult to get appointments, when they want them with the doctor of their choice.  I apologise for this and acknowledge that at times our system has been unable to cope with the demands put on it and offer the flexibility expected. 

We have invested heavily in an electronic call management system allowing both the monitoring of call volumes, the time patients are kept waiting and the facilitating of the diversion of calls to be handled additionally by receptionists away from the front line during busy periods.  We are confident this system has benefited patients and staff management considerably. 

The whole practice team has recently been involved in looking at ways to improve our access, based on need with a focus on continuity of care. We are planning to roll out a revised appointment system in early October and more details of this will follow shortly.  Features of our new system will include patients being asked to book with their own doctor, rather than any doctor and will rely on our receptionists signposting patients appropriately.    

If you are registered with a particular doctor but for whatever reason see someone else, please ask to be transferred to their list.  Of course if you are registered with a male doctor but prefer to see a female doctor for certain conditions/symptoms or vice versa we can arrange that for you and you do not need to change doctor permanently.  

If your condition is urgent and you need same day medical assistance, please contact the on call team via reception on 01404 814447. Our receptionists may ask you for more information about your condition so that you can be directed to the most appropriate appointment.  Usually they will ask a member of the on call team to phone you to agree an appropriate plan with you.  This may be self-treatment or over the counter medicine, a prescription, or an appointment with either a Nurse Practitioner or a Doctor.  Routine advice can also be obtained from your local pharmacist, NHS Direct 0845 1234 or online at

We run an appointment system, therefore in the first instance please telephone us.  Our receptionists are excellent at signposting if you are able to tell them what the problem is. 

Please avoid turning up at reception without an appointment, expecting to be seen.  This puts enormous pressure on the whole system and unless it is an emergency, usually means an exceptionally long wait, being sent away to wait for a phone call or diversion to another service such as minor injuries unit or the out of hours doctor service.  If you telephone when we are closed your phone call will automatically divert to the out of hours service who will be able to help you. 

Please do your upmost to have some degree of flexibility when booking routine appointments. We can usually offer appointments within a couple of days but you may have to change any pre-existing plans you have for that day.  

Many minor ailments are self-limiting (which means they get better over time) and can be treated or symptoms alleviated with over the counter medicines eg pain killers for aches and pains, creams and medicines for insect bites, cold sores and other minor skin irritations, cough and cold, indigestion and heart burn remedies.    The local pharmacists can give you more information and advice. If you have a minor illness and you are no better within a couple of days or your symptoms are worsening please DO get in touch.

If you have a condition or symptoms that may suggest you have something contagious (that other people may catch) please stay at home and telephone us for advice.

Each month we highlight to ourselves the many hours of valuable appointment time that is lost because patients did not attend their appointment.  Please ring to cancel if you no longer need your appointment.   

Flu Vaccination, please book your appointment

We are heading towards the seasonal flu season and you are entitled to a free flu vaccination if you:-. 
· are 65 years of age or over
· are pregnant
· have a long-term medical condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, lung disease, kidney or neurological disease
· have a weakened immune system (the body's natural defence against infection and illness)
· live in a residential home
· are a carer for someone else
Flu can be more serious for these groups
You can book your appointment for October 2013 now by telephoning us on 01404 814447 or if you have signed up to SystmOnline you can book your appointment  online via the practice website.
Flu is a highly infectious and very common viral illness that is spread by coughs and sneezes.  It's not the same as the common cold. Flu is caused by a different group of viruses and symptoms tend to be more severe and last for longer. You can catch flu - short for influenza - all year round, but it is especially common in winter, which is why it is also known as 'seasonal flu'.  Flu causes a sudden high temperature, headache and general aches and pains, tiredness and sore throat.  You can also lose your appetite, feel nauseous and have a cough. Flu symptoms can make you feel so exhausted and unwell that you have to stay in bed and rest until you feel better.

If you are otherwise fit and healthy, there is usually no need to see a doctor if you have flu-like symptoms.  The best remedy is to rest at home, keep warm and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. You can take paracetamol or 
ibuprofen,  to lower a high temperature and relieve aches.

You should see a doctor if you have flu-like symptoms and you are
- 65 or over
- are pregnant
- have a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney or neurological disease
- have a weakened immune system

Antibiotics are of no use in the treatment of flu because it is caused by a virus and not bacteria.

More about our doctors....

Back in December Dr Bailey and Dr Russell joined our medical team. We are delighted to be able to share a little more about them

Dr Bailey completed her medical training at Birmingham University. Following this she entered into the Dudley GP training scheme and during that time developed an interest in Palliative Medicine.  She went on to work in one of the few NHS run Hospices in the country alongside her work in General Practice. She continues to have an interest in Palliative Medicine, working as a local Macmillan GP. This involves training others and developing services in end of life and cancer care. She also has an interest in family planning.

Michelle is married with two lively children. When not at work she can often be found cycling round the Devon lanes or digging in her family’s allotment.

Dr Russell qualified in 1999 from Birmingham Medical School. Postgraduate training developed her general medical skills and supported the attainment of diplomas in child health, obstetrics, gynaecology, family planning and tropical medicine. The latter was put to use during a 4 month voluntary post on the Burma border before she consolidated GP training in Cornwall and attained the MRCGP qualification.

She has settled in Devon with her husband and two young children, with whom she enjoys various outdoor activities such as sailing, cycling and camping.

Admin Team

We said our farewells to two long serving members of our team – Pat Jowett Ive, who retired at the end of March after 23 years’ service and Lin Jones who retired after 11 years’ service. 

We also said goodbye to two of our Medical Secretaries,  Maxine Tibbott and Teresa Allen.  They have both moved on to pastures new. We wish them well in their new ventures.

Welcome to Emma Snow, Stacey Wilson and Jacqueline Samson who have all recently joined us as receptionists.

Dr Natasha Vanstone

Sadly Dr Vanstone is leaving the practice at the end of July to relocate with her family to Plymouth.  We wish her every success and are sorry to see her go.  On Tuesdays and Wednesdays Dr Kerr’s patients will be looked after in the short term by a GP locum while we seek a longer term doctor.  Dr Kerr is very actively involved in the work of the Clinical Commissioning Group for Devon, which is why he is out of the practice.

Research Update

by Dr Lisa Gibbons, GP Research Lead
Many of you may have noticed our new research notice board in the entrance area.  We are keen to share our interest and enthusiasm for medical research with our patients and allow everyone the opportunity to participate in research. We believe that good quality research can help improve knowledge about illness and improve treatments. There can also be many individual benefits to getting involved too.

We are a member of our local NHS research network which is a national programme to ensure the highest quality, ethically approved and relevant research is performed in general practice in the UK.  We will be displaying our current studies on our notice board and our website, so please take a minute to check out the latest research at Our local research network just  awarded us the prize for best website and notice board this month!!

Currently we are offering a number of diabetes studies which are based in the internationally recognised centre for diabetes research in Exeter. These studies are trying to understand how specific medication can be tailored to individual diabetics to give the best diabetic care.

We have a study to look at new 'atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat) and warfarin' and a new study to look at simple treatments for sore throats.

Everyone can get involved so please have a look at the exciting work that is going on to seek to improve medical care through research.

Dr Long

We are very sorry to announce that Dr Alex Long has decided to leave the practice in December.  Dr Long is going to develop his interests and further his career elsewhere in Devon.  We are advertising his post and will be able to update you in due course. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Salaried GP Vacancy

Samuel Taylor Coleridge


We are an established, busy PMS practice with an opportunity for a motivated and enthusiastic doctor to join us with a view to partnership

●16,250 patients
●SystmOne Clinical System
●GPR and Medical Student Teaching
●PCRN Research Practice
●Two Branch Surgeries
●High QOF Achievement
●Dedicated Acute Care Service with two Nurse Practitioners
●Community Hospital

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty ● Easy access to major road links ● Excellent Local Schools● Jurassic Coast, Dartmoor and Exmoor within easy reach ●

Informal visits  welcome, please contact: Jan Moore tel: 01404 814447
and please visit our website at to download a job description and practice profile.

Please apply with covering letter and CV to: Sue Stokes, Practice Manager, Coleridge Medical Centre, Canaan Way, Ottery St Mary, Devon EX11 1EQ.  Email:

Closing date for applications Monday 9th September 2013

Practice Profile

Salaried GP Job Description

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fasting Blood Tests

A message from our Health Care Assistants: Patients who are coming in for a  fasting blood test CAN have cold/hot water in the morning. Please drink water before you come in as it makes the blood flow better.   The hot weather is not helping and patients are coming in a little dehydrated.
thank you

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Warm weather set to continue

The Met Office has reported that there is a 40 per cent risk of heatwave conditions in the early part of this week in Devon so doctors are reminding people to take care.

The warm weather is set to continue for the rest of this week, next week and possibly into August.

This makes it even more important that people take that extra bit of care and check that their loved ones and neighbours are coping with the heat.

With most schools breaking up for the summer at the end of the week many local people and those who travel from afar are likely to flock to Devon’s beaches to enjoy the sunshine.

While the warm weather is likely to be welcomed by most people it can cause difficulties for the very young, the elderly and people who are seriously ill.

In particular, very hot weather can make heart and breathing problems worse. The main risks posed by a heatwave are dehydration, overheating, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

People who are vulnerable to the effects of heat should try to avoid going out in the sun between 11:00 and 15:00 - the hottest part of the day. People should also drink cold drinks regularly.

Dr Prue Mitchell, a GP from Exmouth and clinical lead for cancer for the Eastern Locality of Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said people should try to stay out of the heat and cool themselves down, look out for others and to take precautions if they are elderly or have a health problem.

“We are all looking forward to the nice weather but it’s important that we remember to stay safe and not risk falling ill and missing out on having fun,” she said.

“Some of the danger signs to watch out for during hot weather include feeling faint and dizzy, shortness of breath and vomiting or increasing confusion.

“I’d recommend keeping out of the sun when it is at its strongest, between 11am and 3pm and making sure you wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes and a hat where possible.

“If you are likely to be out in the sun for a long period of time it’s worth making sure you have plenty of cold drinks to hand and avoid drinking alcohol and too much caffeine to avoid dehydrating.

“Even if you’re planning to stay at home you should try to make sure your living space is cool and this is especially important for young children and babies, the elderly or those with chronic health conditions.

 “Keep an eye on your family and neighbours as well, especially if they are elderly or vulnerable.

“Making sure you use at least sun factor protection 15 sunscreen is also important. There are almost 250 cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, and 40 related deaths every year in Devon. The county has some of the highest rates of melanoma in the country.

“Remember if you do want advice about heat exhaustion or heatstroke you can contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or go to If you want advice on sun protection, go to”

Northern, Eastern and Western Devon CCG issued the following advice if the expected hot weather continues:

  • Try to plan your day in a way that allows you to stay out of the heat
  • If you can, avoid going out in the hottest part of the day (11am - 3pm). If you must go out, stay in the shade. Wear a hat and light loose fitting clothes, preferably cotton. If you will be outside for some time, take plenty of water with you.
  • Take cool showers or baths and splash yourself several times a day with cold water, particularly your face and the back of your neck.
  • Eat as you normally would. Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit, which contain water.
  • Look after children and older people. They are much more prone to the effects of heat. If you have older relatives or neighbours you can help simply by checking on them if possible every day, and reminding them to drink plenty and often. They should have a mixture of drinks including fruit juice and water. Help them to keep their house as cool as possible, drawing curtains during the day, ensuring ventilation at night or using a fan if necessary.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Patient Survey

The annual patient survey has now been completed, thank  you to everyone who completed a questionnaire. The questionnaires have been sent to an independent company for analysis..  We will discuss the findings with our staff and patient group and report back to you via this web site. 

General comments about our services can be left in the suggestion box on reception.  If you leave your name we can contact you to discuss your comments.  If you want to raise a formal complaint with the practice, our complaints procedure leaflet gives details on how to do this.  The leaflet can be downloaded from our web site and is available from reception.  Thank you to all the patients who have sent us letters of praise.  We really do appreciate your thoughts.

Are you a secretary and are you looking for work?

We are currently recruiting medical secretaries (medical terminology desirable but not essential as training can be given).  If you haven't already done so please pick up an application pack from reception or download from our web site.  Closing date  is Monday 15th July 2013.  We may consider locum or short term work to cover our recruitment/training period.  Please telephone Sue Stokes 01404 814447

Monday, July 8, 2013

MMR Catch Up Programme for 10 - 16 year olds

We are currently inviting patients between 10-16 years old to attend our MMR catch up clinics

In light of the continuing measles activity across the country, we strongly recommend that you arrange for your child to commence/complete the MMR vaccination programme now. Two doses of MMR vaccine offer the best way to protect your child against measles, mumps and rubella.  To make an appointment for your child to have the vaccine or to answer any queries please contact the surgery.

If our records are mistaken and your child has had the MMR vaccine, please contact us so we can amend our records accordingly.   There is more information on measles on the NHS Choices website.

We do hope you will take this opportunity to ensure your child is fully protected.  

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hot weather forecast for the weekend - advice to stay healthy

Hot weather is forecast for this weekend.  Most of us welcome hot weather, but when it’s too hot for too long there are health risks. Make sure the hot weather doesn't harm you or anyone you know.  Go to the NHS Choices web site to find out what you can do

Monday, July 1, 2013

We think your views are important, have your say

Our annual patient survey starts this afternoon and will run for the next 2-3 weeks..  We would like any patient that visits the surgery to complete a questionnaire as we want to know that we are providing the best possible service for our patients.    Our survey is anonymous and will help us to understand what we do well and where we need to improve. 

The questionnaires will be analysed by an independent organisation who will provide us with information that is compared to national averages.  The results of the survey will be discussed with practice staff and with our Patient Group.  Your comments are very valuable to us.

To take part complete a survey questionnaire AFTER you have seen the doctor or nurse.  Seal the questionnaire in the envelope supplied and post it in the ballot box provided.