Practice News (Autumn, 2017)


Dr Michael Smith, Salaried GP

Dr Smith joined the practice in March 2017, having previously practiced elsewhere in the North East. He trained in London, qualifying as a GP in 2015. Alongside his clinical practice, treating both Durham residents and students, he has a special interest in IT. Since joining the practice he has renovated the practice website and made several changes to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care by making best use of IT. Recently he was appointed as Teams Around Patients (TAPs) Clinical Lead for Central Durham, working with the North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (NDCCG) to promote systemic and efficient team working within the health and social care system to deliver the best care for frail elderly patients.

1. Staff Hellos and Goodbyes

We are pleased to welcome the following new doctor to the practice team:
Dr Susan McDevitte has joined the team as a Salaried GP. She took up post on
2nd October, 2017, and works across both sites. Her particular areas of interest are in sexual health and young people/student welfare.

2. Text Messaging Reminders

The practice is currently trialling a patient text messaging system which allows two way communications between the practice and patients’ mobile phones. As well as sending appointment confirmations it also sends appointment reminders to patients giving them the opportunity to text back to cancel their appointment if they are unable to attend. It is hoped that this will help reduce the practice’s DNA (did not attend) rate and free up more appointments for patients.

In future the practice should also be able to use the messaging system to remind patients to attend the practice for flu vaccination and diabetic/asthma/COPD reviews, etc.

Please let us know if your mobile phone number changes so we can contact you on the correct number. Please also let us know if you don’t want to be sent text reminders.

3. Patient On-line Services

Save time and do it on-line!

Did you know that you can access your medical record, order repeat prescriptions and book and cancel appointments on-line?

This can be done by completing a patient on-line access form at the reception desk and providing two forms of identification, one photographic and one proof of address.

4. Flu vaccinations!!

If you want help to stay healthy and prevent the spread of flu among family, friends and work colleagues, taking advantage of the winter flu jab is a good first step.

Flu is contagious and it can be passed through coughing, sneezing or by touching infected surfaces or people. Most flu outbreaks usually happen in late autumn or winter, and, for most people, it’s an unpleasant but not a life threatening condition. We would encourage patients eligible for a free vaccine to have it early.

5. Recognition for work with Young Carers

The practice, along with six other practices in Central Durham, has recently been awarded a “Neighbourhood Charter” certificate in recognition of its work with young carers.

6. GP Extended Hours

The practice continues to provide extended opening hours on a Saturday morning between
8.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. These appointments are bookable in advance through reception and are provided at the University Health Centre. Please note that there is no telephone access to the practice on a Saturday morning.

7. GP Extended Access

In addition to the practice’s extended opening hours on a Saturday morning (see above), the Central Durham GP Federation is now providing “GP Extended Access” during weekday evenings and at weekends. These appointments are pre-bookable and available for patients from all practices in the Durham locality. The appointments are provided from the Meadowfield Surgery and available as follows:

  • Monday – Friday 6.30 p.m. – 9.00 p.m.
  • Saturday 8.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
  • Sunday 8.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.

The appointments are for non-emergency consultations and are booked by patients’ through their own practice reception team, and are staffed by GPs in the local area who have expressed an interest in providing additional sessions.

It is important to note, however, that at these sessions the GP will only have access to basic patient information e.g. name, address, d.o.b., NHS number, current medication, allergies, etc. If you require a hospital referral this will be requested from your own practice and will, therefore, involve a repeat consultation with a GP at your own practice. This service is not suitable, therefore, for patients who require a referral or any investigations.

Last modified: February 15, 2019