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Latest News from Lambourn Surgery

Lambourn Surgery Patient Participation Group Newsletter, June 2023

The Future of Primary Care in the Lambourn Valley (2)

No sooner had we published the first in this series of articles then NHS England published their “recovery plan” for Primary Care. This is a statement on the plans to deliver the Primary Care aspects of the “5 Year Forward Review”, referred to last month.

The central ambitions are:

1. Reduce the number of people struggling to contact their practice.

2. For patients to know on the day they contact their practice how their request will be managed as follows

a. If their need is clinically urgent it should be assessed on the same day by a telephone or face-to-face appointment. Afternoon requests may be assessed on the next day, where clinically appropriate.

b. If their need is not urgent, but it requires an appointment, this should be scheduled within two weeks.

c. Where appropriate, patients will be signposted to self-care or other local services (e.g., community pharmacy.)

The implications of this plan are being studied by the Lambourn Practice team to ensure that they are in a position to best achieve these goals.

You may have read in the press that this initiative has placed particular emphasis on the role of pharmacies/pharmacists (Pharmacy First) and this article focuses on that area.

Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals who are experts in medicines. Typically, they work within a General Practice (Clinical Pharmacist) or in a Community Pharmacy such as Lambourn Pharmacy or Boots.  They are qualified to advise on many minor health concerns and their treatment, such as such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains. (Full list here @ tinyurl.com/3j8uww7r.) Some are also able to prescribe medicines.

The dispensary at Lambourn Surgery is not a pharmacy but has the responsibility to ensure the safe and accurate management and distribution of medicines prescribed by a qualified prescriber.

Lambourn Surgery have a Clinical Pharmacist, who is a key member of the clinical team. He supports GPs with expert medicine knowledge and treat patients with long term conditions such as asthma or those taking multiple medicines, often prescribing, and monitoring the effect of their medicines.

Lambourn Pharmacy (Graham Jones and Harvinder Sandhu) is our local Community Pharmacist and like most others has a private consultation room where you can discuss issues with a qualified pharmacist without being overheard. This may be as a result of a discussion with NHS 111 or by self-referral.

As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses and, in the future, certain prescribed medicines (yet to be defined).

If symptoms suggest it's something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need. E.g., they will tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse, or other healthcare professional.

Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends. You do not normally need an appointment.

Later this summer Lambourn Surgery and Lambourn Pharmacy will be introducing an arrangement whereby, following assessment of an appointment request, the GP may refer patients directly for a same day appointment with the pharmacist at Lambourn Pharmacy. This scheme is part of a national scheme called the Community Pharmacy Consultation Service (CPCS).

As always with initiatives directed by the government and NHS England, these changes will always be subject to available resources, and although we currently have sufficient clinical resources in the Valley, the current national shortages of both GPs and pharmacists offer no contingency to us in the event of illness or absence.

This article has been prepared by the PPG to help patients understand the challenges facing Lambourn Surgery and their approach to achieving the “ambitions” with the full co-operation of the Surgery leadership team and Lambourn Pharmacy. More next month.


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You can contact the PPG via email; ppgchairpersonlambourn@gmail.com or in writing via the surgery office, addressed to the Chair of the PPG.

Alan Breadmore, Chair, Lambourn Surgery PPG