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Upwell Health Centre
Townley Close, Upwell, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, PE14 9BT
Practice:          01945 773671

Pharmacy:       01945 774934
Fax:                  01945 773152

Autumn Newsletter 2017

Please forgive the lack of newsletters in recent months, things have been fairly calm here and there didn't seem much news to impart!


However, now its September we have the dates of our flu clinics so it seemed a good time to pen a new issue.

We can become a bit blasé about flu and flu injections, especially after a few years with a relatively low incidence of flu. We have been lucky the last few winters in that we have not had a significant outbreak in the area. However, the flu virus's ability to transform itself is constantly getting around our natural immunity and it is inevitable we will have a significant outbreak soon. It may be this year so it is just as important as ever you get immunised this year if you are in an at risk group.

These groups are:

Anyone 65 or older COPD sufferers

Asthmatics requiring inhaled steroids

Children who have previously been admitted to hospital with a lower respiratory tract infection

People suffering from chronic heart disease such as angina, previous heart attack, heart failure or atrial fibrillation.

People with chronic kidney or liver disease

People who have had a stroke or mini stroke or who suffer from a chronic neurological disease such as MS.

All Diabetics Anyone whose immune system is suppressed either due to ill health or medication

ALL pregnant women

People without a spleen

People who are morbidly obese, that is a BMI over 40.


If you are in any of these groups you are also highly likely to be eligible for a pneumococcal vaccine to prevent pneumococcal pneumonia. For most people you will only need one injection, however, some will need a booster dose. Ask about his when you attend for your flu injection.


This year the shingles vaccination is available for anyone 70 to 74 who was born after 1st September 1942 and who has not previously been vaccinated and people aged 78 0r 79.


The clinics are on Saturday mornings again. The dates are: September 23rd and 30th, October 7th and 28th. Please book a slot at one of these clinics with reception, over the years we have learnt that by giving people an indicative time to come it reduces your waiting time and enables us to be most efficient.


You may remember me mentioning that we had been lucky to be allocated money from NHS England to help us build an extension to the surgery. It won't have escaped anyone's notice that no building work has taken place! The good news is we have planning permission and the builders' quotes but as yet we haven't had the green light to proceed from NHS England, they seem reluctant to part with the cash! I am hopeful building work will commence in the next few months.


Since my last edition we have had further staff changes at the surgery, and I'd like to officially welcome all the new staff.

We now have a full complement of nurses. Kelly has recently joined us; Kelly previously worked at the North Brink surgery in Wisbech. Caroline who previous worked in the Community Nursing team has also joined us since the last edition.

Dr Rosier, who was here as a locum to cover Dr. McDowell's maternity leave, has finished his stint with us because she is now back in post following the birth of her second child. Congratulations Heidi.

In pharmacy Mel has joined the full time staff. Mel has recently qualified as a pharmacist and is spending her pre-registration year with us.

Our final staff change has been in the office where Charlotte, our apprentice, has completed her apprenticeship and has been employed as a receptionist in our admin team. Well done Charlotte.


I am sure those of you who regularly read my efforts will know that I spend a part of every week working at the CCG.

The CCG is the body who spend the money the government give to West Norfolk for health care. Every year the CCG gets asked to make greater and greater cost savings to allow the money provided to be adequate. So far West Norfolk CCG has delivered a small surplus every year. This year is the biggest challenge yet as we will need to deliver a saving of over £10 million if we are to come within our budget.


One of the ways we are being asked to help with delivering this saving is by making sure all the referral s we make to hospital are necessary. To this end we will be introducing a new system soon where all referrals will be discussed by the doctors as a group before being sent off to the hospital. The aim of this is to try and make sure the expertise doesn't already exist in the practice to deal with a problem to avoid the need to go to the hospital.


The CCG is also asking you, the patients, to help them deliver that saving by embracing self-care. Self-care means thinking before you visit the doctor if the problem is something you could deal with yourself, perhaps with the benefit of the advice of, or drugs from, your local pharmacist.

GPs in West Norfolk are being asked to avoid, where possible, to prescribe certain drugs such as simple pain killers, anti-histamines and other allergy treatments and other products readily available over the counter in pharmacies.

To get more information on this issue why not visit the West Norfolk CCG website (http://www.westnorfolkccg.nhs.uk/) where you will find a monthly blog I write. In that blog over recent months I have spoken a lot about self-care. More information can also be seen at the Self Care Forum website, http://www.selfcareforum.org/ or visit the Self Care section of this website.


Paul Williams

Booking an appointment

You may be aware from recent press coverage that nationally there is a shortage of GP's and those remaining are under pressure as their workload is getting larger.  Here at the Health Centre our workload is also increasing and so are the numbers of patients now registered at the practice.  We therefore find ourselves looking at alternative ways to ensure that our patients are being seen by the people that are best able to help them within a time scale that is medically appropriate.


To enable us to do this, in the next few weeks, we will be trialling different ways to deal with the appointment requests.  You may notice that if you are requesting a same day appointment the reception team will ask you for a brief description of why you need to be seen today.  Please do not be offended or alarmed by this, we have instructed the team to ask this as it will allow us to prioritise your care.


You may also find that the doctor may telephone you back to discuss your appointment over the telephone rather than you having to come in for a face to face consultation or they may need to ask further questions in order to establish the urgency of your problem and suggest a suitable appointment time.  Please could we ask that if you are waiting for a doctor to call you back, you give the reception team the most convenient number to reach you on and that you remain available to take the call.


Please note that this is a trial and we ask for your patience whilst the changes are in progress however please be reassured that you will always be seen if you have an urgent medical problem.


Thank you


The Doctors at Upwell Health Centre.


Upwell Health Centre Flu Vaccination 2017



It is hard to believe we are almost at flu vaccination time again. We have already set up our flu clinics. They will be on the following dates:


Sat 23rd September (8AM to 11AM)

Sat 30th September (8AM to 11AM)

Sat 7th October       (8AM to 11AM)

Sat 28th October     (8AM to 11AM)


You can book an appointment for any of these clinics at reception from August onwards.

Remember we recommend flu vaccination for anyone over 64, who is currently pregnant or for younger people who suffer from chronic lung disease, such as asthma or COPD, diabetes, heart disease or various conditions where your immunity is reduced.


We again will be offering nasal flu vaccine to children in the target population, however some children will be offered vaccination at school. We will run separate clinics for those children who need a flu vaccination so please do not book them into the Saturday clinics.


We are offering a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination to everyone over 64 and we are also continuing with the shingles vaccination campaign. This year we can offer a jab to: people born on or after 2nd September 1946 and are aged 70 and people born on or after 2nd September 1938 who are aged 78 or 79. If you are unsure if you are eligible please ask the doctor or nurse at the time of your flu vaccination.


The Upwell Patient Participation Group will once again be holding a raffle over the four dates with lots of great prizes kindly donated  from local businesses so don’t forget to bring your purses and wallets with you!

Changes to Physiotherapy Services

The Physiotherapy service  for Upwell Health Center is under transition to a new supplier, NCHC, who provide the service for the rest of the West Norfolk surgeries and in the long term it is planned that they will continue to hold clinics here at the surgery one day a week.  In the interim however it has been necessary to relocate the clinics to the North Cambs Hospital in Wisbech.  We are hoping that the normal clinics at Upwell Health Centre will resume in October.

A polite request from the Doctors

Unfortunately we are encountering an increasing number of patients who either forget or choose not to order their repeat medications on time.  Whilst we fully acknowledge that occasionally everyone forgets it really helps us here at the Practice if people order in good time.


It is your responsibility to order your medication on time.

When you forget to order your repeat prescription it causes you inconvenience and creates unnecessary work for the doctors and dispensary staff. It interferes with the care we are trying to give to other patients which is very important to us and to them.

In future if you forget to order your medication you will be asked by our Reception Team to come back the next day or the day after to collect it, depending on what time you make the request.

There are very few drugs where a delay of 24 hours will have a clinically significant impact. If your drug is one of these the Reception Team will message the GP and ask you to come back between 5 and 6PM the same day. Please note that you may still have to wait for a time when you come back, but the GP will endeavour to get the prescription ready for you as soon as practical. Please note we do not interrupt surgeries or meetings for prescription matters.

So please remember:

  • We need 2 full working days to process and prepare your prescription. 
  • Requests can be made using the prescription request slip or online.
  • Online Requests are available to all of our patients and is by far the easiest way for you and for us to manage your repeat request. If you have internet access we strongly urge you to use it. Contact our Reception to register.
  • The following schedule applies to both paper and online repeat medication requests.


Requests Made By

Medication Ready For Collection

Monday before midday


Tuesday before midday


Wednesday before midday


Thursday before midday


Friday before midday



Please help us to help you by ordering your prescriptions on time!

Thank you.

Average GP Earnings (year ending March 2016)

All GP practices are required to declare the mean earnings (i.e. average pay) for GPs working to deliver NHS Services to patients at each practice.


The average pay for GPs working in Upwell Health Centre in the last financial year was £81,180 before tax and National Insurance.  This is for five full time GPs and two part time GPs who worked in the practice for more than six months.


It should be noted that the prescribed method for calculating earnings is potentially misleading because it takes no account of how much time doctors spend working in the practice, and should not be used to form any judgement about GP earnings, nor to make any comparison with any other practice.

PPG online discussion forum


You can  join our online PPG discussion forum. The forum is very easy to use and a great way to discuss topics with other members, whenever is convenient for you.


To register simply enter your details here: http://www.myppg.co.uk/register 


This forum will give you the option to raise any thoughts, comments or concerns that you may have in conjunction with the practice. Please be aware that the PPG forum is not intended for clinical issues or complaints (please use normal procedures in this instance) but this should be a great way for patients’ voices to be heard, so please do post where you can.

Upwell Health Centre Winter Newsletter 2016


Another year is coming to an end. It only seems yesterday we were starting 2016, time is certainly passing quickly these days. This year has been a difficult one for the surgery and the NHS. It can’t possibly have escaped your notice the number of news stories about financial pressures in the NHS, deficits at the hospital, and huge savings being needed to be made. We in Upwell are not immune from these national pressures. In fact this year they have become quite a problem for us. At the CCG (the organisation which pays for health care in local areas) we have to save approximately £7 million between now and the end of March. This is a tremendous task and one we are likely to fail in. However, in order to meet those savings the CCG is asking all practices to do what they can to save money. This is necessitating some changes to medications that people are having and also we need to think twice before referring people to hospital. Do be assured however that patient care and safety will not be compromised.


One of the main cost pressures for the NHS comes from emergency attendances at A&E departments. It seems that year-on-year more of us are choosing to go to A&E with our medical problems. Part of this I think is because the 111 service often sends you there when you phone up for advice. However that is not the only explanation. Often people seem to choose to go there rather than consult their general practitioner. Part of this I think is because people think they will have difficulty getting an appointment with a doctor; that can be true but is not always the case. However, at Upwell we do our best to make sure people who are ill and need to be seen on the day are seen on the day. We do triage calls, which means that sometimes a doctor will speak to you and decide that the problem doesn’t need to be seen on the day, in that situation we will either give you medical advice on the phone or arrange for you to be seen within the very near future.


However, medical time at the surgery is not infinite and it is clearly vital the clinical team are able to continue to provide a safe service. We only have so many appointments to give out. Most days we will see more people than we have appointments for. This means that patients need to be sensible when deciding whether or not they need to see a doctor. If you have a minor cold or other problem speak to the pharmacists before deciding to come to the doctor; often we will not be giving you any treatment, just suggesting you take medicines that you can buy over-the-counter. Self-care is the new buzzword. It means we want you to consider what you can do to look after yourselves before you come to the NHS.


As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, we introduced a new system for making appointments in the spring. It did really well over the summer but it is getting less effective now winter is coming. When you phone the doctors for an appointment you will be faced with several choices. If the problem is not urgent you will probably have to wait to see a doctor of your choice. This may well be a wait of several weeks. If you are flexible and are prepared to see a different doctor this may be shorter. If you are acutely unwell and feel you need to see a doctor that day, then you will be seen on that day, but before that happens you may well have to speak to a doctor to explain your symptoms so he or she can make a judgement on how urgent the problem is. You may also be offered the opportunity to have a telephone call back from your doctor about your problem. This may not be straight away or even on the same day if the problem is not urgent. We are not trying to make it difficult for you to see us but we just need to be sure that the time we have is spent with the right patients.


Staff shortages also contribute to the problem. With demand going up it is important we have enough staff to meet the needs. Unfortunately we have been down one or two nurses now for several months. A new nurse will be starting with us shortly but we will still be one short of full complement until March 2017 so please be patient when you wish to see a nurse. As you know Dr McDowell has been on maternity leave for a few months. She is not due back until later in 2017 however we have been fortunate that Dr Rosier has been filling in for her.  The doctors here at Upwell always strive to offer the highest quality service we can, however to deliver quality takes time and resources. Please be assured we are going to maintain the quality of the service we offer but require your help to let us do that.


On a lighter note we have had some good news at the surgery. The details are still unclear but we have been included on a long list published by NHS England of surgeries in the country who are going to be given some financial assistance to improve their facilities. If all goes according to plan we will be building a new pharmacy, moving some of the offices into the extension, increasing our consultation space and improving our reception and waiting areas. It’s not definite yet but we are very hopeful this will be happening in the very near future.


Finally I take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas. The surgery will be open as normal until close of play on 23 December and will then open again on Wednesday, 28 December. The only day will be will be closed at New Year is on the bank holiday Monday. There will also be a surgery on Saturday, 31 December.


Dr Paul Williams

Senior GP Partner



Autumn Newsletter

Upwell Health Centre Newsletter September 2016


This newsletter contains some really important information about changes in the way you will be getting your prescriptions in future. Please read it carefully and feel free to ask us questions if things are not clear. The first change is electronic prescribing. I have mentioned this is coming in past newsletters and now it is here. On September 21st we will switch from issuing repeat prescriptions on paper to issuing them electronically. This will not affect everyone. Since the pharmacy opened in Upwell some of you have been what we call prescribing patients and some of you have remained as dispensing patients. Electronic prescribing only affects prescribing patients for now. About a third of you are prescribing patients and it is generally those of you living in Upwell and Outwell. If you live more than a mile from the surgery you are probably still a dispensing patient. We haven't bothered you with this distinction before as we have tried to operate a seamless service through our dispensary and pharmacy and it was immaterial which type of patient you were.


What will it mean for you?

If you are a prescribing patient you will need to nominate which pharmacy you want to collect your drugs from. Most of you get your drugs from the pharmacy at the surgery and we have been encouraging you to fill out a form nominating the pharmacy for some time now. Some of you may have nominated a pharmacy elsewhere, for example in Wisbech. If you have already completed a form for that pharmacy you do not need to do another one unless you wish to change. You are at liberty to change your nomination at any time and you can do this at our pharmacy or by asking your GP during a consultation. It is important to note that you can collect an acute prescription from any pharmacy without nominating them for all your drugs, so don't be coerced to sign up for any pharmacy for all your drugs if you only want to cash in a one off prescription. If you are not a prescribing patient the change will make no difference as we do not expect electronic prescribing for dispensing patients before 2018.

In the first few days after the change please allow an extra day to collect your drugs from our pharmacy. It may take a few days to bed in the new system. However, once we are all used to it I expect the turnaround for prescriptions to be quicker. Remember it doesn't matter if we are using electronic or standard prescribing you can only request drugs on repeat your GP has authorised in advance. You cannot ask any pharmacy for a drug your GP has not already put on a repeat prescription.

If you currently get your drugs through one of the pharmacies in Wisbech offering a prescription delivery service can I remind you that the Welle Pharmacy here at the surgery offers the same service, and we would be happy for you to switch back to our pharmacy and continue to get home deliveries from us. Just ask to speak to Paula, our pharmacy manager, to request the change.


There is a second change coming at the same time as electronic prescribing. This will affect those of you who have asked us to provide you with a private prescription for your drugs, where the cost has been less than a prescription charge. The BMA have advised us of a legal opinion they have obtained about the legality of us offering you a private prescription. That ruling has indicated that we are in breach of NHS regulations if we continue to do so and therefore, reluctantly, we are going to cease offering these once electronic prescribing starts. We previously believed that, provided we offered you an NHS prescription but you preferred a private one, we were complying with the rules, but it is now clear that that is not the case. Unfortunately this will mean an increased cost for some of you. As you probably know, those of you not exempt from prescription charges have to pay a charge (currently £8.40) for each item on the prescription. If you have more than 12 items in a year on prescription it is cheaper to purchase a prepayment certificate. This costs £104 for a year. You can pay this over a year by direct debit in ten instalments of £10.40 monthly. Once you have this ALL your prescriptions are covered so that includes any acute prescriptions you have, for example for antibiotics or pain killers, as well as the regular drugs you have each month for problems such as asthma and high blood pressure.

We will not be able to increase the quantity of drugs you obtain on your repeat prescription to offset the charge; it is a clear expectation of our CCG and the NHS generally that repeat prescriptions should be for a month's quantity of tablets.


We are entering autumn and it is hard to believe we are at flu vaccination time again. We have already set up our flu clinics. They will be on the following dates:

Sat 24th September (8AM to 11AM)

Sat 1st October (8AM to 11AM)

Sat 8th October (8AM to 11AM)

Sat 29th October (8AM to 11AM)


You can book an indicative appointment for any of these clinics at reception. Remember we recommend flu vaccination for anyone over 64 or for young people who suffer from chronic lung disease, such as asthma or COPD, diabetes, heart disease or various conditions where your immunity is reduced. We again will be offering nasal flu vaccine to children in the target population. Some children will be offered vaccination at school. We will run separate children clinics for those kids who need a flu vaccination.

We are also offering a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination to everyone over 64. Until recently it was thought one vaccination would be enough for life for this condition. However, we now realise some people will need a booster dose. Ask the person giving you your flu jab if you need a pneumonia jab or a booster.


We are also continuing with the shingles vaccination campaign. It takes a degree in maths to work out who is entitled to a shingles vaccination under the NHS. In simple terms this year we can offer a jab to:

people aged 70, 71, 72 and 73 on September 1st 2016.

people aged 78 and 79 on September 1st 2016.

This has been a very fact heavy newsletter and I would like to finish off with some notices as I usually do.


Dr McDowell has gone on maternity leave in the last few weeks, by the time this publication is out there I expect she will have had her second child. We will welcome Heidi back next year but to help cover for her while she is away we welcome Dr Nick Rosier. Nick has recently retired after many years as a GP partner at the Clarkson surgery in Wisbech and so adds to the recent tradition we have established of employing Clarkson retirees following on from Dr Nigel Williams and Dr Ian Mason.

We are also sad to lose two of our nurses. Emily Gadsby and Raheal Alia. Emily has been with many years since she started as a practice nurse shortly after qualifying. She has been a well-liked and valued member of our team and we are all sorry to see her go but offer her our best wishes for the future. Raheal has only been with us a short time but she has already proved a valuable addition to the team. We are sad to see her go but thankful she is going to continue to help us out until we have found new nurses to fill the void.


This is a challenging time for the NHS with tremendous cost pressures and with a national shortage of nurses and doctors. The new appointment system we introduced in April is working quite well with everyone either getting an appointment at an agreed time or having a call back from one of the doctors to assess their medical needs, and getting appropriate treatment. We were pleased with the results of the recent patient satisfaction survey we carried out and we will continue to strive to provide you with a high level of service to keep you hale and hearty in the coming year.

Dr Paul Williams, 30.8.16

Do you suffer from urinary incontinence problems?


For more information please look at the following link to view a video on Pelvic Floor Exercises for treatment and prevention of stress urinary incontinence.


New Appointment System Trial (March 2016)


To try to improve our service to you we are proposing changes to our appointment system.  Our aim is to offer you more choice of appointments and avoid having to ring back again the following day.  We have compiled this leaflet to explain how, from Monday 11th April, the new appointment system will change and to help you make the best use of the services that we offer.


  • Each day in addition to appointments released on the day, a selection of appointments will be released to book for tomorrow and in two days time.

  • To help you plan ahead we are now extending the length of time you can book in the future from 4 weeks to 6 weeks.

  • If you require an appointment for today and all the appointments have been filled the reception staff will ask you a few details and ask for a contact telephone number.  A Doctor or Nurse Practitioner will then contact you later in the morning /afternoon to discuss how they can best help you and offer you an appointment time if they feel that you need to be seen in the surgery.


    In order to make the new system work for everyone there are ways that you can help.


  • Please make sure that if you are waiting for a call back you are available to take the call.  Please note that you will not necessarily be contacted by the clinician of your choice and if you refuse a call back it will be noted on your medical records.

  • If you have an appointment with a doctor or Nurse Practitioner and they ask you to return for a follow up appointment (for example in a month’s time) we strongly advise you to make the appointment before you leave the surgery so that you are able to book a suitable time with the clinician of your choice rather than wait and be given an appointment on the day.

  • If you no longer need a booked appointment please cancel it. Even at short notice an appointment can be rebooked.

  • Please consider requesting online access to our appointment system.  You are then able to book and cancel appointments online and also request repeat medications.  If would like this facility please contact reception for details.

  • In order to free up the telephone line for people requesting appointments please telephone for test results and non -urgent enquiries in the afternoons.

    Please note that this is a trial and we ask for your patience whilst the changes are in progress however please be reassured that you will always be seen if you have an urgent medical problem.


Spring Newsletter (March 2016)

What has seemed like an exceptionally long autumn is morphing into spring and our long awaited building work has started. Those of you who have sat in the waiting room during the work please accept our apologies if it has bene colder and noisier than you are used too. Hopefully soon we will reap the benefits with our new treatment room.


Those of you who have been visiting the practice in the last few months will have seen some new names on our doctors list. Dr Haine is currently on maternity leave having given birth to baby Freddie last year. We have had some locum doctors helping us out in her absence, notably Dr Ian Mason, who recently retired after many years working at the Clarkson Surgery in Wisbech. We also have Dr Azad doing one day a week; she has been working as a locum at several surgeries in the area for a few years and knows the local services very well.


Despite the locums we have felt the pressure for appointments over the last few months, we realise it is often difficult to book appointments in advance. In order to understand why appointments are the way they are we have to look at recent political history. During the last labour government there were several directives made by the department of health to address the perception the government had that patients couldn’t get appointments at short notice when they were unwell. As a result of these directives practices everywhere had to alter the balance of the appointment slots they offered to ensure more were available on the day for “urgent” problems. Inevitably if more appointments are there for same day work there are less available for people to book at times convenient to them one or two weeks ahead. The practice has generally had surgeries available for booking about one month ahead, and, as a result of the increased demand we have experienced and the alteration in the balance of appointments, the vast majority of those advance appointments are now booked 3-4 weeks ahead meaning it has been almost impossible to book something 1-2 weeks hence.  Understandably when you have been phoning in to get an appointment and you are faced with such a long wait for a slot you have been deciding your problem is urgent and have been utilising the same day appointments. This means we are seeing routine work in slots set aside for urgent medical problems. It is essentially a failing system.


All over the country this same situation is occurring and there are several ways doctors have tried to address the problem. Triage has become quite popular; triage means phoning you all back to see who needs to be seen and who can be dealt with on the phone or have an appointment some time in the future. We have not been convinced this is the solution and we are only using that when the pressure is really high. However, we have come up with a new way to allocate appointments which we are going to put into practice from April 11th. There will be several changes which will mean appointments will be bookable 6 weeks ahead and the balance of appointments will be changed. We need you to help make the system work. Please only request an urgent appointment if the situation is medically urgent; also remember we are trying hard to restrict antibiotic use to where it is really needed to delay the time when antibiotics cease to be helpful in dealing with infections. This means there is no point you coming to see us with simple coughs and colds, we cannot use antibiotics for these illnesses and for the majority of cases we will advise self-help as a treatment. The CCG has produced a leaflet explaining how you can manage these types of problems and we are reproducing that leaflet at the end of this newsletter. Use the information in that to help you decide if you really need to see the doctor. If you can manage things at home it helps take the pressure off the appointments and means they will be easier to get when you really need one.


I will update you on how the new system is working in future newsletters.


You may have seen in the press that measles is back. In the last few months cases in East Anglia and the South East of England have been increasing steadily. There are a number of you who have not had your second MMR vaccination. This is particularly important for children and young adults. If you are not sure if you have had the booster then contact the surgery to check. Measles is a nasty illness which most of us either remembers only vaguely or have never seen, don’t take a chance on it, make sure you have been vaccinated.


Electronic prescribing will be coming to Upwell in the summer. It will be set up here from July and will be live in August or September. If you wish to get your prescriptions filled at the pharmacy in the health centre remember to fill in the forms available at the surgery and the pharmacy; you can also ask the doctor during a consultation to put your preference on the system. Once operational you will have the choice not to be given a printed prescription but to have the prescription transferred electronically to the pharmacy. Once it is in full operation you will be able to get your repeat prescription issued each month without having to request it. However, don’t be frightened by it, if you wish to carry on having the printed script you will be able to.


Finally can I remind you about our patient participation group (PPG). Steve, our practice manager, is currently working with the PPG to make it even more relevant and important. If you want to be involved look for the information about it in the surgery and contact the chairman.

Best wishes for the summer, let’s hope it is a scorcher.


Dr Paul Williams


Publication of Earnings 2014/15 (March 2016)


All GP practices are required to declare the mean earnings (i.e. average pay) for GPs working to deliver NHS Services to patients at each practice.


The average pay for GPs working in Upwell Health Centre in the last financial year was £75,731 before tax and National Insurance.  This is for 5 full time GPs and 2 part time GPs who worked in the practice for more than six months.


It should be noted that the prescribed method for calculating earnings is potentially misleading because it takes no account of how much time doctors spend working in the practice, and should not be used to form any judgement about GP earnings, nor to make any comparison with any other practice.



Coping with Colds and Flu (Autumn 2015)


Most of us will have a cold this autumn or winter and some of us will have flu. Here's how to look after yourself if these viruses affect you.


Colds and flu are caused by viruses. There are more than 200 common cold viruses and three types of flu virus with many different strains, so they're hard to avoid.

These viruses can be spread through droplets that are coughed and sneezed out by an infected person. The viruses can also be transferred on a person's fingers. For example, if you have a cold and you touch your nose or eyes and then touch someone else, you may pass the virus on to them.

Cold symptoms

The main symptoms of winter cold and flu bugs are:

  • coughing

  • sneezing

  • blocked nose

  • sore throat

  • headache

  • a slight temperature

If these are the only symptoms you have, it’s unlikely that your GP will be able to do anything.

You may want to visit your local pharmacy, where you can get advice on how to manage the symptoms and buy over-the-counter medicine.

Children and colds

Children can be treated using some over-the-counter painkillers to ease discomfort and help to bring down a fever. Both paracetamol and ibuprofen are available as a liquid for children and can be given from the age of about three months. Always check with your doctor if you aren’t sure which treatments you can give your child.

There are some benefits, particularly for children, in catching a few coughs and colds. “Children tend to get a lot of colds because the body takes time to build up immunity. Your body learns to fight off a particular kind of virus every time you get an infection, which is why you get fewer colds as you get older," says Angela Chalmers. Find out more about children and medicines.

When to see a doctor

While most bugs will run their course without doing any real harm, there are certain cases when you or your child should see a GP. These include:

  • if you or your child have a chronic condition such as asthmadiabetes or heart disease

  • if you have a very high temperature and feel ill, for example if you also have an unusually severe headache or abdominal pain

  • if your child is vomiting but does not have diarrhoea, or has a rash in addition to the fever

  • if your child stops drinking and is unusually lethargic

  • if your child’s fever doesn’t respond to paracetamol or ibuprofen

Babies should get help if they're unwell. All babies under three months with a temperature of more than 38°C (100.4°F) should be urgently assessed by a doctor, as should babies aged three to six months with a temperature higher than 39°C (102.2°F).



Newsletter Summer 2015

Upwell Health Centre Newsletter

Summer 2015


It seems a long time since I last sat down at my computer to pen a newsletter. It has been a very busy year and there is a lot to tell you about.


The big news is that we had a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in the Spring. The day went well and we were awarded a grading of GOOD in all areas. This was the first time we had been inspected in this way and, although we have always felt we offer a good safe service, there are always doubts at the back of the mind that we could get tripped up on something. However, despite our anxieties, there were no major issues identified and I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank all the staff at the surgery who pulled together to get us through.


In the coming weeks we will be having the builders in! With our list size growing year on year we have been suffering from a lack of space for a while now. We need some extra consulting space. As a result we plan some internal works to create more space. The children’s waiting room is to become a third treatment area for our nursing team. We are constructing a new corridor off the waiting room which will give access to the new room and allow it to communicate with our existing treatment area. We also plan to create a consulting room opposite the toilets by dividing up the old nursing office; this will give us a smaller office and a consulting room.


We are also investigating the possibility of constructing a new pharmacy separate from the main building. If we do press ahead with this it will mean a bigger pharmacy which, hopefully, will allow it to become more efficient and less congested in busy periods. While on the subject of pharmacy I would like to tell you about electronic prescribing(EPS) The government, as part of the modernisation of the NHS, has been rolling this out across the country; it will be coming to West Norfolk in the next twelve months. What is it? Well you may have seen signs about it in the surgery and at other pharmacies, for example at Tesco and Asda. At the moment when we issue you a prescription we generate a piece of paper. When EPS is fully rolled out you will have the opportunity to have the prescription transmitted electronically to a pharmacy of your choice, you will no longer have a green prescription. When you go to the pharmacy they will have access to the prescription on something called the NHS spine where the prescription is stored until it is dispensed.


In order for EPS to work you need to nominate a pharmacy to receive that electronic prescription. In order to smoothly carry on providing you with your medications we are trying to get all your nominations set up in advance of the local launch and there are forms in the surgery and in the pharmacy for you to complete. You can only nominate one pharmacy, so if you wish to get your medications from the pharmacy at the surgery do not register at any other pharmacy in Wisbech or Downham; if you already have, not realising what you had done, you can still nominate our pharmacy and this will over ride your previous nomination.


The season for flu vaccination is nearly upon us. we have already set the date for our first three Saturday morning Flu clinics. they will be on:

Saturday 19th Sept.

Saturday 26th Sept.

Saturday 3rd Oct.

These are slightly earlier than last year and we may have a fourth clinic depending on demand. You can reserve a spot in the clinics by contacting reception. Remember, flu vaccination is recommended for everyone over 65 and those under 65 with a disease that increases the risk of the flu making you significantly more ill than normal, i.e. asthma, COPD, heart disease diabetes and anyone with reduced immunity for whatever reason. It is also recommended for pregnant women and carers. As last year there is a nasal vaccine for certain children, but this will not be available as early as the standard vaccine, so we will contact eligible children separately.


The reason the government pay for all this vaccination isn’t just for your individual benefit. It is to help the NHS cope with the increased amount of illness that is prevalent in winter. Every year we hear of hospitals going onto black alert because they have no beds. Preventing a flu epidemic makes the NHS more resilient to cope with the increased demand in winter. There are two other diseases which are more common in winter and which we can do something to prevent.


The first is pneumococcal pneumonia. Pneumonia just means a nasty lung infection and it can be caused by a wide variety of bacteria and viruses. Pneumococcus cause a specific type of pneumonia which makes people especially ill and can also turn into septicaemia. For some years now the NHS has been offering anyone 65 or over, or with one of the diseases I mentioned earlier, a one off vaccination against pneumococcus. Surprisingly the take up is not as great as we would expect or like; I suspect this is partly because it is not advertised a much as flu vaccination, also most of us have had flu at one time or another and perceive it as a risk, whereas only a few of us have had pneumonia. In fact only about 50% 0f the people of West Norfolk eligible for this vaccine have had it. You can get it any time from the surgery but we always offer it to those eligible at the same time as we do the flu vaccination. We have records of everyone who has had the vaccine at the surgery and our systems will tell us if you have had it or not. Please ask about it when you attend the surgery next, especially when you come for your flu jab. Help us to keep our local hospital going through the winter.


The other disease which causes winter chaos in hospitals is Winter Vomiting Disease caused by the infamous Norovirus. This is actually a disease we initially catch in the community, not hospitals, but it is so infectious that once a case enters the hospital it spreads like wildfire often needing wards to close for deep cleaning. Those of you that have been on a cruise will know the crews are paranoid about this disease having alcohol gel dispensers in all the restaurant areas for the passengers to clean their hands. How can you help prevent this closing our hospital wards this winter? By being careful  with your personal hygiene. Hand washing is crucial to stopping this spread; if you have the virus on your hand and touch, for example, a door handle, or some peanuts on a bar, then you will leave that there for the next person to pick up and get infected. If you contract a tummy upset with diarrhoea and vomiting we always ask you not to come to the surgery, we will speak to you on the phone and assess what is needed to be done. When you are recovering don’t go back to work to early, your employer will not thank you if two or three other members of staff go off the next day. If you work with food it is even more important you are completely well before you return to work. Remember Norovirus wants to get into your mouth to infect you, the slogan of the local campaign against this disease is “Not in their mouth, not in your mouth” to emphasise this point.


Finally I just wanted to remind the ladies reading this about having cervical smear tests. Several years ago the recall system for cervical smears was taken away from GP’s and is now done centrally. I don’t know if this is the cause, or whether it is simply not advertised as much, but the  proportion of women having their smear tests when they are due, certainly in our practice, has dropped. Screening for cancer and other diseases is increasingly common. However, cervical smears are the ONLY screening test that detects the cancer BEFORE it starts and thus allows us to prevent a case of cancer. All the other screening tests detect early cancers, and we all know that sometimes, no matter how early we catch it, this can be too late. Therefore I would like to encourage the ladies out there to have your smear test when it is due, and , if you are uncertain when it is due, ask us and we will be happy to tell you.


I look forward to meeting you at the forthcoming flu clinics when I would be delighted to stick one or more needles in you to keep you healthy.

Paul Williams

August 2015

Online Access to Your Medical Record


Our practice is now offering patients the facility to view more areas of their medical record online. The areas which are now available to our patients to view are a summary of information relating to medications, immunisations, allergies and adverse reactions.  As well as viewing this information, there is the facility to download and print it.  This new system is now available to view. If you require an online access log in to view your medical record you will need to speak with a member of the practice reception team who will facilitate this.


Thank you.

Friends & Family Test

Would you recommend our Practice to friends and family?


The friends and family test (FFT) is an important opportunity for you to provide 

anonymised feedback on the care and treatment you receive and to help the Practice improve its services. Please complete the Friends and Family Test (FFT) Survey  and return the completed survey to the practice via reception. You can put the completed form in the Friends & Family test box on the reception desk.

The results of the surveys will be published monthly on our website from November 2014.

Important Changes To Your Medical Records

Click here to find out more.

Patient Experience Survey Results 2012/2013

For the results of our  patient survey please click here.


For our report following our patient survey please click here.

Hunter-Rowe Trust

Thanks to the generosity of our patients we administer a Registered Charitable Trust. Through this we can purchase expensive equipment and useful aids and appliances that our patients can borrow when necessary. Please ask at reception if you need to borrow any equipment. There will be a deposit for some of the larger items such as wheelchairs. Please remember that this equipment is only for short time loan and if you require an item such as a wheelchair for longer than a few weeks then please discuss this with us.
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