PATIENT NOTIFICATION REGARDING APPOINTMENTS
All GP surgeries within the NHS are currently facing unprecedented demand on services. This is partly due to a backlog from COVID, partly due to hospital services operating largely by telephone and therefore placing more pressure on primary care, and perhaps partly due to understandable anxiety by patients that your queries are answered as soon as possible.
We want to reassure you that we are working our hardest to meet demands. Clinical and administrative staff at BMC are all putting in extra hours and extra appointments to meet these demands, but we can only do so much.
We ask that you please continue to bear with us while we try to clear this backlog and catch up with routine and urgent appointments. Historically, it has been normal to wait 2-3 weeks for a routine appointment; we kindly ask that you do not put pressure on reception staff by requesting that a doctor phone you back immediately or ask for an urgent appointment for something that has been ongoing for some time and could potentially wait. This will help us to prioritise. We DO understand that COVID has created extra anxieties and we are increasing capacity to try to manage this.
We thank you again for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.
From the GP Partners at BMC.
OPTING OUT OF NHS DIGITAL (Type 1 Opt-out)
You can choose whether your confidential patient information is used for research and planning. This is different to your Summary Care Record, which allows other healthcare settings (such as A&E) to access your medical data.
If you wish to register a Type 1 Opt-out (in regards to research and planning), please visit nhs.uk/your-nhs-data-matters or call 0300 303 5678. The deadline for this has been extended until 30th Septemeber 2021.
BMC Update: 12 May 2021
You may be aware of some negative press that General Practice has been getting on social media, TV and in the newspapers.
We would like to reassure you that BMC has been ‘open for business’ throughout the pandemic … and continues to be so.
We care for the most vulnerable members of society, and keeping patients safe has always been our utmost priority – having waiting rooms full of unwell patients is clearly unsafe. Keeping our staff well and safe is also important – we can’t offer patient care if we have no staff!
As a result, the way in which you access the surgery has changed. For many, a phone call is a quick and effective way of getting the care required. If you need to be seen face- to-face, you will be, but this decision will be based upon medical need for everyone’s safety, and to try and most effectively deal with the huge increase in demand general practice is facing at the moment.
General Practice in the UK is currently experiencing a huge demand. Nationwide, there were more than 3 million more GP appointments in March 2021 than there were in March 2019 (pre-Covid). At BMC last week, we took 1,498 phone calls in just four days. In addition, we are running the biggest vaccination campaign in history, and have been involved as a PCN in the administration of around 20,000 COVID vaccines since December 2020, as well as managing all the additional queries and concerns that the vaccination programme has created. Furthermore, we are dealing with an onslaught of enquiries about hospital appointments, operations etc – all of which we have absolutely no influence over.
Our staff are working harder than they ever have, in very challenging circumstances. They have worked throughout the pandemic putting themselves at risk whilst also caring for their own families, and, in many cases, home-schooling their children. They have managed endless changes in rules and regulations, and have become experts in vaccinations that didn’t exist this time last year. We are hugely proud of the team at BMC, and the fact they have gone above and beyond in order to keep patient care a priority.
We know that phone access is an ongoing frustration. Our phone room is situated upstairs, so visitors to the medical centre never see how busy it is. We have installed new phone lines and we have employed new people to answer the phones, but 1,498 calls in 4 days is a real challenge! We are currently working on creating on-line solutions that will help improve patient access, but this obviously takes time to ensure they are safe and effective. We have recruited a number of new clinicians (urgent care practitioners, GPs, pharmacists, physiotherapists etc) in order to try and provide more appointments and reduce waiting times.)
Please bear with us as we continue to navigate through this difficult time. Brackley Medical Centre has always been, and will always be, committed to high quality patient care as our top priority. If things go wrong, by all means let us know – we are learning too. However, we do ask that you remember the pressures we are under, and that you treat all of our staff with the respect and kindness that they deserve. We have a zero tolerance approach to abuse of our staff, which sadly has been increasing over recent weeks.
First Outpatients Clinics open at Brackley Medical Centre
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) has started hosting outpatient clinics at the new Brackley Medical Centre & Community Hospital.
The first clinics – Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) – began in March and will see up to 120 patients each month. Further clinics, including Cardiology, Audiology and Speech & Language Therapy, are due to begin later this month (April).
Dr Reshania Naidoo, OUH project manager for the Brackley-OUH Clinics Agreement, said: “Our doctors and staff are very excited to be able to deliver specialist services closer to the communities in which our patients live, and we are looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership that will enhance patient care.”
Penny Lennox, ENT Consultant at OUH, said: “OUH will have the exclusive use of the Wellington Suite at Brackley Medical Centre & Community Hospital to treat outpatients. The suite is fully equipped with the same equipment that we use at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, allowing us to provide the same level of service but at a more local level.”
Dr Jean Ker, Brackley Medical Centre GP, has been chief liaison over the OUH/BMC partnership. She said: “We are delighted that regular clinics have started in the Wellington Suite. They will have a huge impact on residents from Brackley and the surrounding area, greatly reducing the amount of travel and time needed to attend appointments.
“In addition to the clinics already announced, we are also hoping to get Gynaecology, Ophthalmology and Plastic Surgery clinics up and running in the near future.”
Pictured: (left to right) Penny Lennox, Senior Sister Outpatients ENT Tania Perestrelo, Dr Reshania Naidoo and Nursing Assistant Veronica Castillo.
- The Wellington Suite is named because the new Brackley Medical Centre & Community Hospital is built on the site of a World War 2 Wellington Bomber crash. During a night training flight on 17 March 1944, Vickers Wellington III, serial No BK352, flying from RAF Turweston crashed, killing all but one of the crew members on board. The Wellington Suite is named in tribute to the men of 17 RAF Operation Training Unit and all others who gave their lives locally in the service of their country.
Free Lateral Flow Tests available from Lowick Pharmacy
Following the announcement that everyone in England will be able to access free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing, we are delighted to announce that Lowick Pharmacy at Brackley Medical Centre will be an official ‘Pharmacy Collect’ centre.
People aged 18 and over without symptoms will be able to visit Lowick Pharmacy and collect a box of seven rapid Lateral Flow tests to use twice a week at home.
The aim of the tests is to help identify positive cases in asymptomatic people and thereby break the chain of transmission. Having a negative test result will help reassure you that it is safe to visit friends and relatives outdoors.
Once you have completed your test you will need to register your results online at https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result or by calling 119. Should you test positive you will need to self-isolate and order a confirmatory PCR test.
Community Hospital welcomes first patients.
Monday 29 March 2021 was a historic day for Brackley as it saw the very first patients being admitted to the new Community Hospital.
Provisional go-ahead for a new Brackley Medical Centre and Community Hospital was approved by the NHS Northamptonshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in 2009, following which a core committee - involving GPs, CCG members, Community Healthcare Trust representatives, trustees of the Brackley Cottage Hospital and representatives of Town, District and County Councils - was formed to take matters forward.
Building work on the 4,200 sq m site in Wellington Road began in earnest in January 2019 and the Medical Centre was officially opened in November 2020.
The new hospital, which is located on the top floor of building, has 16 intermediate care beds … all with en-suite facilities, and is the result of a partnership between Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Pictured below: (left)Community Hospital Ward Matron, Megan Nannfeldt and and Service Manager Rosemary Cairns cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the new Brackley Community Hospital and (right) the staff team get set to welcome the first new patients.
Council charity boosts hospital funds
Brackley Community Hospital – which is expected to welcome its first patients in the next few weeks – has received a boost of £6,200 thanks to South Northamptonshire Council (SNC) Chairman’s Charity.
The cheque was presented to Caryl Billingham, Chairman of Brackley Community Hospital 2020 Trust, on Tuesday, 23 March, by Cllr Anthony Bagot-Webb, current Chairman of SNC and Cllr Rosie Herring, immediate past Chairman and now Vice Chair.
Miss Billingham said: “I am delighted to receive this donation which we plan to use to help fund further equipment at the Community Hospital for the benefit of all patients from Brackley and the sounding areas.”
Brackley Community Hospital is located on the top floor of Brackley Medical Centre, in Wellington Road. The hospital will have 16 intermediate care beds … all with en-suite facilities, and is the result of a partnership between Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Facilities not funded by the NHS are being financed by Brackley Community Hospital 2020 Trust which, to date, has raised in excess of £185,289.
The donation from SNC Chairman’s Charity was unusual because, due to Covid 19, it spanned two Civic Years … 2019/20 and 2020/21. The donation includes proceeds from a number of Civic and Chairman events and sponsorship activities which took place in 2019. In addition, some funds that would ordinarily have been used in attending award ceremonies and charity events, cancelled due to Covid restrictions, have also been included.
Pictured below are:
1: Cllrs Bagot-Web and Herring are pictured presenting the cheque to Caryl Billingham. Also pictured is Megan Nannfeldt, Community Hospital Ward Matron.
2: Cllrs Bagot-Web and Herring are pictured presenting the cheque to Caryl Billingham. Also pictured are (left) Sandra Mellors, Deputy Chief Executive of Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust (NHFT), Giles West, also from NHFT and (right) Dr Philip Stevens representing Brackley Medical Centre.
Standing in silence
Staff, visitors and patients at Brackley Medical Centre joined with the rest of the UK to observed a minute's silence at 12noon on Tuesday 23 March 2021 in remembrance of those who have died during the coronaviruse pandemic.
Brackley Medical Centre began administering the Covid-19 vaccination at the end of 2020, with the first clinic for those patients in the over 80s cohort taking place on 29 December.
Since then we have administered thousands of vaccinations and are inviting patients to come in for their jabs in the order mandated by the government. As of 15 January we have also started taking the vaccine out to housebound patients.
Please do not contact the surgery to find out when your vaccination will be administered. WE WILL BE IN TOUCH WITH ALL PATIENTS IN DUE COURSE.
A vaccination programme of this magnitude involves a tremendous amount of organisation and hard work from our staff ... both those you see and those behind the scenes. Thank you all for your patience and support, and thank you to the volunteers who are helping us to run the programme.
NEW STATE-OF-THE-ART MEDICAL CENTRE TO OPEN IN NOVEMBER
A new state-of-the art medical centre in Brackley is set to welcome its first patients later in November.
Brackley Medical Centre and Community Hospital on Wellington Road will include a GP surgery featuring 16 consulting and treatment rooms and a dedicated urgent care unit. The building will also house a new high-tech pharmacy, located adjacent to the reception area, with a state of the art automated robot picking system, and two consulting rooms.
Thanks to a partnership with the Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, Brackley Community Hospital 2020 Trust and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, facilities will include an X-Ray department, specialist clinics, physiotherapy and a well-being hub. Intermediate care beds … all with en-suite facilities … will be available on the top floor.
Dr Philip Stevens, one of eight GP partners at Brackley Medical Centre, said: “The opening of this new medical facility is very exciting. We have been planning for this day for a very long time and are delighted that it is nearly here.
“The new centre will enable us to dramatically expand the range of services and care available for the people of Brackley and neighbouring villages in South Northants and on the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire borders.
“The facilities will be second to none and we have to give thanks to the Brackley Community Hospital 2020 Trust which has so far raised more than £172,799 to finance community assets including a high-spec X-ray machine (the charity is funding the additional spend required to upgrade from the basic machine provided by the NHS) and various specialist features in the hospital rooms to enhance patient stay and aid recovery. Continual fundraising is on-going to support the introduction of further services.”
Provisional go-ahead for a new Brackley Medical Centre and Community Hospital was approved by the NHS Northamptonshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in 2009, following which a core committee -- involving GPs, CCG members, Community Healthcare Trust representatives, trustees of the Brackley Cottage Hospital and representatives of Town, District and County Councils -- was formed to take matters forward. The project has also been fully supported by South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom.
Building work on the 4,200 sq m site began in earnest in January 2019 with the hope of opening during the summer of 2020. However, delays due to Covid-19, caused the opening to be put back to November 2020.
“The Coronavirus Pandemic has obviously delayed things,” said Dr Stevens. “Not only did we have a time when our contractors were unable to work on the site, but we also lost some of our supplies … the original flooring that was due to be delivered for the community hospital, for example, was re-directed to be used in the London Nightingale. That said, the contractors, Wildgoose Construction, have done an amazing job and I would like to pay tribute to site manager Richard Williams who has done his utmost to keep things as on track as possible.”
Currently, Brackley Medical Centre GP Practice operates from two sites on the Halse Road … Washington House Surgery and Brackley Health Centre. In addition to the eight GP partners the practice employs two further GPs, two registrars, 11 nurses and health care assistants and a host of support staff, all of whom will be relocating to the new site.
All of the surgery’s existing patients will automatically be registered at the new centre which will also be taking on new registrations. Community facilities at the new site will be available to all local residents and will provide choice for patients from surrounding areas to receive treatment.
The initial opening of the new building in November will see the launch of the new GP practice, Lowick Pharmacy and the community services. There will be a phased opening of new elements not currently provided, including the Xray department and intermediate care beds, over the following weeks.
Patients already registered with Brackley Medical Centre will be getting a sneak preview of the new site during October when Brackley Medical Centre will be operating ‘drive-through’ Flu Clinics from the centre’s new 130-space car park. Explained Brackley Medical Centre Head nurse Jane Wilkinson: “Normally our waiting rooms are packed during flu clinics as we try to ensure that as many of our eligible patients as possible are vaccinated. However, due to Covid-19, we needed to find a space where we could operate safely under social distancing rules. With the new centre nearly completed, the car park provides the perfect venue for us to operate drive-through flu clinics.”
As the new Brackley Medical Centre and Community Hospital nears completion we are delighted to announce we have three consulting rooms available for hire. If you are interested please contact either Dr Jean Ker or Dave Bridger on 01280 702436 who will arrange for you to see the rooms concerned.
The mobile Breast Screening Unit is currently based in Brackley. If you are due a mammogram, you will be sent a letter from the hospital asking you to call them to arrange an appointment. This is a change to the previous practice where you would receive a letter with an appointment already made. We would encourage you to make an appointment when you receive your letter.
Flu Vaccinations 2020
Our Flu Clinics will start in October. All those entitled to receive a flu vaccination will receive an invitation from the surgery by text or by post. Once you have received your invite please contact us to book an appointment ( 01280 702436 ). This year we will be running our flu clinics differently to ensure that we are Covid safe and are currently finalising plans for a drive-through method which will take in the car park at the new Brackley Medical Centre. Further details will be available shortly.
Media information suggesting vaccinations for all over the age of 50 is an aspiration at present and we will post information about this as soon as we have it. We do not anticipate that this will be available until the end of the year, at the earliest.
Breathing Space: The ‘GO TO’ place within Primary Care, for patients with COPD & other related disorders
What is Breathing Space?
Breathing space is a service for anyone in Northamptonshire diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and related conditions and their unpaid carers. We are also inviting those with persistent lung/ breathing problems, post Covid 19. The service is provided by Northamptonshire Carers in partnership with Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Trust and enables the voluntary care sector to work directly with health professionals from across the county, using a collaborative approach. It is commissioned and funded by Northamptonshire CCG. Please click here for further information.
Please do not hesitate to contact Breathing Space via any of the contacts list below for further information:
Telephone: Penny Edwards, Breathing Space Coordinator on 07540669727
Visit our Website https://www.northamptonshire-carers.org/Pages/Category/copd-breathing-space
Monitoring Your Blood Pressure at Home
Blood pressure keeps blood circulating around your body, but if your blood pressure is raised it puts you at increased risk of a number of conditions, including heart attack and stroke. You can keep on top of your blood pressure by monitoring it from the comfort of your own home. The British Heart Foundation website offers some excellent advice on the types of monitor available.
Northamptonshire Community Resilience Service
A support line has been launched to support the most vulnerable people in Northamptonshire during the Coronavirus crisis.
The helpline, which will be managed by the Customer Service Centre at Northamptonshire County Council, went live on Tuesday 31st March.
It allows those who cannot leave their homes under current restrictions and those who are self-isolating and have nobody to call upon for help to request support in getting access to food, prescriptions and other vital services that they require. It means that care can be provided to those that really need help. Others in need include those with existing health conditions, those who are pregnant or those aged 70 and above.
Each call to the helpline will be triaged so that individuals receive the care and support that is appropriate to their needs.
The Community Resilience Service will co-ordinate requests for help in conjunction with the district and borough councils, mapping those requests by area and linking them up with local community groups, volunteers and voluntary organisations who have pledged their support.
Those requiring help are asked to call the support line on: 0300 126 1000 (option 5).
Diabetic Eye Screening
Do you have Diabetes? Are you aged 12 or above?
If you can answer yes to both questions, you are eligible for a free NHS diabetic eye screening appointment.
If you have diabetes and you haven’t had an NHS eye screening appointment in the last year contact the screening department now to arrange an appointment at one of the local clinics. Eye screening is an important part of your diabetes care and looks for small changes at the back of the eye. If left untreated these changes can lead to sight loss.
To book an appointment call the Diabetic Eye Screening Programme on: 0300 555 6789 Option 1
Your local clinics are: Brackley, Towcester and Northampton