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Winter newsletter

Happy Christmas wording and photos of presents

In our last newsletter of 2023 we share some news about our Practice team, a new recommended tool to help you manage anxiety and a great local service to help people wanting to stop smoking. At the Practice we head into 2024 energised by new arrivals (and changes) to our team, and by our ongoing projects which we hope will help us provide the best possible care to you in the New Year and beyond. Printed copies of this newsletter will also be available to read in our waiting room and in local community hubs soon. We wish all of our patients a health and happy Christmas, and a restful New Year.

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

Dr Cathy Cameron retirement 

Our long-serving GP Partner Dr Catherine Cameron will retire at the end of December 2023. 

Dr Cameron joined what was then known as ‘the East Wing, Esk Medical Centre’ in Ladywell Way back in January 2000, before becoming a Partner in August 2005.

Over the course of her 24 years’ service to the community, Dr Cameron has provided expert care to a huge number of people in Musselburgh, from newborn babies right up to our very oldest patients. In her role as a GP trainer she’s also helped to train many of Scotland’s next generation of GPs. A large number of them have – we’re sure in no small part due to her mentorship – chosen to stay and serve the community here in Musselburgh as part of our Practice team. 

Dr Cathy Cameron

We’re sure that our patients will want to join our team in sending our huge thanks to Dr Cameron, and wishing her a very happy retirement. She has been the best colleague we could ever have wished for and will be much missed by all of us here – and we’re sure by the very many patients she has looked after, over the years. 

Dr Cameron says: “I can’t quite believe it’s been 24 years since I started at what was then ‘the East Wing’! General Practice has changed hugely over that time – in many ways it was much simpler! Not all of the GPs used computers, we had handwritten records and prescriptions (of variable legibility) and 7.5 minute appointments (some GPs only had five minutes). Medicine has become much more complex over that time … a lot of people are living much longer, and this means that the nature of the care we provide to older people in particular has changed out of all recognition compared to when I first started as a GP.”

“I feel fortunate to have been able to serve in this community for such a big part of my life as a GP, and will miss my patients and colleagues. Riverside is a good, safe Practice, which is innovative and forward looking with excellent staff – from the call handlers and admin staff, through to all the clinical staff and partners.

“As for me, I’m hoping to spend some more time in the great outdoors, reading, travelling, swimming, yoga-ing, cooking, knitting, learning … the list goes on!”

The Practice would like to gather retirement wishes from patients to pass to Dr Cameron: if anyone would like to send a message to be included please email [email protected] with the subject line ‘Dr Cameron retirement’. You can also can put a note in the feedback box in the main waiting room. 

Team update

We’re delighted that Dr Jeff Scott will be joining the Partnership team at Riverside when Dr Cameron retires, joining Dr Richard Fairclough, Dr Joanna Stenke and Dr Richard Kitto. We’re also pleased to announce that three new GPs – Dr Emily Elston, Dr Megan Hall and Dr Ewan McGregor – will be joining what will now be a 20-strong team of doctors at the Practice, from December through to February. 
We’ve also recruited a new Head of Strategy and Business Development, medical secretary and phlebotomist. Two new call handlers – Yasmin and Sandra – have joined the team in recent weeks. We know our patients will offer all of our new team members a warm welcome. 

Christmas and New Year opening hours

The Practice will be closed on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th December, re-opening on Wednesday 27th December as normal for the rest of the week. We’ll also be closed on Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd January 2024, re-opening on Wednesday 3rd January. Please place any prescription requests in good time before any festive closures – thank you.

Text reminders & cancelling appointments by text 

A huge thank you to patients who’ve got on board with our drive to reduce missed appointments at the Practice. In September we started sending SMS reminders for all pre-booked Practice appointments, with the ability to cancel by text too.  

We’re pleased to say this looks to have made a big difference, with missed pre-booked GP appointments reducing by almost 50% in October compared to July. Overall, our Practice ‘DNA rate’ has reduced from 11.8% in July to 6.9% in October which is great news. 

Please help us to keep it up – and maybe even do a little better next month! If you have a pre-booked appointment you won’t attend please cancel it so we can make it available to other patients.

Mobile phone with icons on

Patient Panel update 

Our work with our new Patient Panel continues. The Panel began meeting in April 2023 and after a period of induction has now agreed four priority areas it would like to work on with the Practice: 

  1. Access: including a review of the appointment system 
  1. ‘Healthy community’: including efforts to improve patient understanding of self-care options, the self-referral services available to them, and increased community preventative health initiatives 
  1. Supporting the implementation of Vision Online: an online system which will offer improved prescription ordering, and online booking for some types of appointment 
  1. Patient voice: feedback on any new pathways – or re-development of pathways – being considered by the Practice 

Our Patient Panel is made up of patients we’ve been in touch with via the complaint process, previous Patient Participation Group members, word-of-mouth recommendations, and reaching out to the wider community by contacting community groups directly and via local East Lothian Council Counsellors. Community Councils were also invited to send representatives. You can find updates about our Patient Panel’s work and information about how you can join here

Winter – and global news of the type we see at the moment – can often exacerbate anxiety, and at the moment many people are calling the Practice asking for help with this. For some people, digital support might be a useful tool to try, to help manage anxiety and limit the impact it has on your day-to-day life.
Daylight’s digital anxiety improvement programme can help you control feelings of worry and anxiety, using proven evidence-based techniques. It’s recommended by the NHS’s East Lothian Psychological Therapies Service, and is available for any NHS Scotland resident here. 

Women on laptop

Riverside & CWIC: working together to improve access 

We’re currently working with the CWIC team on a pilot project that we hope will contribute to improved access. This is part of the national Healthcare Improvement Scotland Primary Care Access Programme, which aims to improve access to primary care across Scotland. 

Under the pilot project, patients will be booked two telephone assessments if they call us with a mental health issue, potential musculoskeletal problem or for certain types of medication review AND a further issue which the CWIC team can help with. 

The CWIC team will provide a telephone assessment of the issue they can help with – and book you a face-to-face appointment in the CWIC service if needed – while a Riverside nurse practitioner will provide a telephone assessment for the mental health or musculoskeletal issue, or for certain types of medication reviews. 

We hope that this will both best use the daily allocation of appointments that the CWIC team provide to Riverside patients, and mean more GP appointments are available at Riverside for patients who need to see a GP. 

We’ll be gathering patient feedback from patients during the pilot project and look forward to sharing the results with everyone. 

Want to quit smoking but need help?

We all know that stopping smoking is one of the very best things you can do for your health. But quitting can be challenging. 

QUIT Your Way East Lothian is on hand to help though – you can now book face-to-face appointments in the Musselburgh Primary Care Centre with one of their specialist practitioners on Tuesdays. Just call 0131 337 9914 to book.  

They also offer telephone or group support, and specialist advice for young people and smoking in pregnancy. 

Man breaking cigarette

Feedback corner 

We take all complaints very seriously and respond to them in line with the NHS Model Complaints Handling Procedure. Ultimately, we hope complaints help us to improve the service we offer to all patients. 

From September-November we had: 

  • Nine access complaints, of which nine were upheld 
  • Three clinical complaints, of which one was upheld 
  • Three service complaints, of which one was upheld 

We also very much appreciate the many messages of thanks that patients often send in for our clinicians and administrative team … here’s some from this quarter. 

“Called last Tuesday morning, got an appointment for the same day very quickly, I had Dr Scales (cool name) … she was beyond professional, took my situation seriously and really listened. With the red flag issues that were showing, she had a hospital visit arranged for me the very same day, and everything is being taken forward from there. Reception staff were lovely too!” 

“You’ve moved the blood press machine in the waiting room to a more sensible place.” 

“Please change your on-hold music! It’s good to have a real person’s voice for the main message though.” 

“It’s good to have the option of advance-booked GP appointments, thank you.” 

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