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Autumn newsletter 

Autumn leaves

With children now back at school and the weather quite changeable, it feels as though autumn is well on the way! After a summer period where (for the first time since the pandemic) it felt a bit quieter in the Practice in terms of the number of patients calling us, we’re now experiencing a bit of an uptick – perhaps as bugs from nurseries and schools start to be passed between us once more. Although it’s always a good time to be prioritising your health as much as possible, autumn feels a particularly good time to be eating well, getting regular exercise and building good sleep habits – to prepare our bodies as best we can against winter viruses and the like. You’ll find some tips later in the newsletter.

Printed copies of this newsletter will also available to read in our waiting room and in local community hubs soon.

Please do share this newsletter with family and friends by clicking on the links below:

Practice news

At the Practice we’ve also been preparing ourselves for the autumn and winter ahead, recruiting to make sure our clinical and administrative teams team remain fully staffed; getting as up-to-date as possible with our many administrative tasks; and rolling out new quality improvement initiatives and staff training.

We’ve welcomed back Dr Magee and Dr Ruthven from maternity leave, while Dr Henderson and Dr Wauchope have gone on maternity leave. Dr Lorne Frame left the Practice in September. We know our patients will join us in welcoming Dr Vicky McBride, a new GP to Riverside, alongside new call handlers Amy and Kerry. We hope to announce further new GP faces soon! We’ve also been recruiting for a new Business Manager. 

Text reminders & cancelling appointments by text 

This autumn we’re launching a campaign to reduce the number of missed appointments at the Practice. Each month we have a number of missed appointments (appointments which patients don’t attend and don’t cancel) which equated in July to: 

  • over 2 days’ worth of GP appointments 
  • 2 days’ worth of chronic disease nurse appointments, and
  • 12.7% of treatment room nursing & phlebotomy appointments  

We’ll be trialling a range of initiatives to help with this, starting with the introduction of text message appointment reminders for all pre-booked (non same-day) appointments at the surgery – and the ability to cancel appointments by text. 

We ask everyone for their support with this initiative: please cancel appointments which you won’t be attending, so we can offer the appointment to another patient. We’ll keep you updated on the results!

Mobile phone with icons on

Pre-booked appointments 

A range of pre-booked appointments (appointments for future days) are available at the Practice, including blood tests, nursing appointments, and appointments with our chronic disease nurse specialists who provide care to patients with long-term conditions including asthma, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), COPD, chronic kidney disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.   

We also now have some GP appointments available for patients to pre-book, on a week-ahead basis. We hope this will be helpful for patients who have routine issues, who might prefer to book an appointment for a future day rather than attend a same-day appointment. We hope to gradually increase the number of advance GP appointments available for patients to pre-book each week. 

Missed a measles vaccine? 

In some parts of the UK and Europe, there’s been an increase in the number of people getting measles.

Measles can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening complications in some people, and is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. But you can prevent it by getting vaccinated.

To check if your child is fully vaccinated against measles, you can check their red book. To check if you’re fully vaccinated or if you don’t have a red book for your child, email us at [email protected] – please include a letter which includes your full name, date of birth, address and signature.

This is so we can make sure we only release information about your medical information to you. 

If you’ve missed a vaccine, you should contact NHS Lothian vaccine team who now provide all vaccinations) to book an appointment.  

Plaster on arm after vaccination

Improve your sleep with Sleepio  

Patients often contact us about sleep issues. Sometimes medication to aid sleep is appropriate, but this is typically only ever for a short period of time and for most people approaches which support them to get better sleep without medication are more beneficial in the long-term. 
Sleepio is one option we’d recommend, which some patients may like to try. Patients in Scotland can now access this personalised online six-week programme free of charge, thanks to funding from NHS Scotland. The programme is based on CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) principles and has a strong track record of success with those trying it. Patients can access the programme without referral – why not try it and find out if it’s a good option for you?

Keeping active and ageing well

The Ageing Well Co-ordinator at East Lothian Council recently asked us to help promote the many classes and activities available locally for people who want to keep active at an older age. We were blown away to see the range of activities on offer here in Musselburgh and in our neighbouring communities, with everything from walking curling, zumba, tai chi, Men’s Shed, walking groups, singing and more available either free of charge or at low cost to patients.  
You can find information of all the classes, dates and times on our website, and there are leaflets in our waiting rooms. Keeping active or moving (in a way which works for you) is an important part of maintaining good physical and mental health, as an individual and as part of creating a wider, healthier community. 

Older lady exercising

Home visits 

Every day, a GP and our specialist paramedic offer home visits to housebound patients, or to patients who might be temporarily unable to leave the house – for example after recent surgery. It’s really helpful for GPs and Tracy, our paramedic, if requests for home visits are phoned through to us early in the day, ideally before 10.30am.  

All calls will be triaged by a GP, who’ll decide if a home visit is needed. Remember that home visits are for medical reasons, not convenience. In the time it takes for a GP to do a home visit, they could see many more patients at the Practice – please consider local transport options like HcL Dial-a-Ride or ask if a friend or family member could bring you to the Practice, before requesting a home visit. 

Dates for your diary 

The Practice will be closed on Monday 18 September for the local Lothian holiday. Please make sure you order any medications in good time ahead of the bank holiday.

Focus on … sexual health & contraception

Here’s the next in our series about other services you can self-refer to.

We offer a small number of contraceptive services at the Practice.

Cerelle, Cerazette, Desogestorel, Noriday and Norethisterone contraceptive pills (mini-pill) can be arranged by booking a phone appointment with one of our Specialist Nurses.

All other pills need a face-to-face appointment with our Specialist Nurses.

We also offer contraceptive implant removal and insertion (Nexplanon only) and coil removal – please let your team know if you need one of these services when you call, and they’ll book you an appointment with the right person.

For all other contraception and sexual health services including STI and HIV testing, and termination, patients should contact the Chalmers Centre direct.

You can book online and their phone number is 0131 536 1070. They also have a drop-in clinic for young people aged 13-18 years, as well as local sites in Tranent and Dalkeith.

Please take a moment to familiarise yourself with the full range of primary care services available to you that you can self-refer to. Help us keep GP appointments for those who really need to see GP.

Patient engagement 

Our new Patient Panel met again in early September and after some induction sessions are now beginning to agree priority areas they’d like to support the Practice with. Watch this space for more information soon! 

Feedback corner 

We appreciate all feedback – both positive and areas we can develop – and share it with our team. This month we’ve been able to act on patient feedback asking for a privacy screen to be put around the blood pressure machine in the waiting room, as well as providing magazines in waiting rooms – which we haven’t been able to do throughout the pandemic. We’ve also streamlined our registration and sickline processes, now offering ways to do both online.  

In the summer quarter (June-Aug) we had:

  • 6 clinical complaints (1 was upheld)
  • 4 service-related complaints (3 were upheld)
  • 2 access complaints (both upheld)

“I really appreciated the visit I had today with the GP. Not only were my concerns taken very seriously, but they were also handled professionally and discussed in a way so as not cause me too much distress. I was able to come to a conclusion by following advice to get further medical investigations from the hospital, and was seen much faster following the GP’s advice. Your phoneline has improved a whole lot as well, as experienced last week – however, there is still a bit of work there to be done. The service has improved greatly and you are definitely on the right track of becoming a good medical practice.”