Practice News (Summer, 2017)


Joanne Malarkey, Medical Secretary/Supervisor

Joanne Malarkey, joined the practice in 1999 as a medical secretary. She is a highly regarded, member of the practice team. She has a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the role and is now supervisor of the secretarial team. She has seen many changes in the NHS over the years but always manages to keep up to speed with the ever changing referral systems.

Staff Hellos and Goodbyes

Regrettably we said goodbye to:

  • Tracey Mooney resigned as a Practice Nurse on 19th May, 2017, to progress her nursing career in Gateshead after having worked in the practice for over ten years. We hope she will find her new job an exciting and rewarding opportunity. We will miss her but wish her all the very best for the future.

We are pleased to welcome the following new doctors to the practice team:

  • Dr Stewart Elliott joins the practice team as a Salaried GP and as a member of the GP Career Start Scheme. He takes up post on 8th August, 2017, and will work across both sites. His particular area of interest is in medical education and he will be teaching medical students in the practice for one session a week.
  • Dr Susan McDevitte joins the team as a Salaried GP. She takes up post on
    2nd October, 2017, and will also work across both sites.

“Help to Health”, Volunteer Patient Transport

If you need assistance getting to the surgery and to hospital appointments, “”Help to Health” could get you there! This is a volunteer driver service delivered by County Durham charities Volunteering Matters and Supportive. Transport is available Monday to Friday 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.

You can book up to four weeks before your appointment but they need at least 48hrs notice. The service is charged per mile. When your booking is confirmed they will tell you how much your journey will be.

For more information visit: To book an appointment and to see if you are eligible, telephone: 0300 3309424

“Healthier and Wealthier” Citizens Advice Service for General Practices

Citizens Advice County Durham is now offering quick and easy telephone appointments to GP patients, giving free advice and helping solve a range of problems that could be causing you serious worries or even affecting your health.

The team of local advisors has been working closing with GP practices for over 15 years and can give expert advice, help you understand paperwork and procedures, or help you get additional support.

The team are experts in work, benefits and income; challenging or appealing against decisions on benefits or tax credits; debt and managing money, legal matters and rights, caring or disability, relationships or bereavement; and housing or consumer issues. Evidence suggests a strong link between getting this kind of advice and staying physically and mentally well, especially if you have long term health problems.

Just by asking the practice to arrange a telephone appointment, you could get a free call-back at a convenient time Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm – and often on the same day.

Treatment of warts and verrucas

Following a review of our use of liquid nitrogen we are limiting our number of cryotherapy appointments for freezing skin lesions caused by viral warts. Evidence suggests that treating warts and verrucas with topical treatment which can be bought over the counter is just as effective and in some cases no treatment at all may be appropriate. We are, therefore, limiting the number of these appointments we provide each year in order to deal with other health conditions. Patients requesting cryotherapy will, therefore, in the first instance be provided with information on what over the counter products to use before they can be included on the waiting list.

Ear syringing

The practice has developed a patient leaflet on ear syringing. Even when carried out carefully by trained staff it can cause complications such as ear infections, perforation of the tympanic membrane, tinnitus, deafness and vertigo. Ear syringing should, therefore, only be done as a last resort. In some parts of the country it is no longer available in general practice and we are considering, therefore, whether to continue providing this service.

Our patient leaflet provides information on how best to manage excess wax. Ask for a copy from reception or download a copy from our practice website.

Flu vaccinations!!

…… and finally, not wishing the Summer away, PLEASE remember that Flu jabs are available from the end of September. We would encourage patients eligible for this vaccine to have it early. It is the best protection we have against a virus which is both unpredictable and unpleasant.

Last modified: February 15, 2019