PPG Newsletter: Winter 2023
The PPG as well as all the doctors, health professionals and other staff at Kingswood Surgery would like to wish our patients and their families a very happy Christmas and healthy New Year. Thank you for all your cards and good wishes, they are much appreciated.
Don’t forget that your local Pharmacist is able to help you with a wide range of common conditions and minor injuries, such as: aches, and pains; sore throat; coughs; colds and flu; ear ache; cystitis; skin rashes; teething and red eye. If you want to buy over the counter medicine, your pharmacist will help you choose. Please note that antibiotics will not be available over the counter to treat minor conditions.
Help for parents to buy healthy food, milk and more
If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk.
If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops.
We’ll add your benefit onto this card every 4 weeks.
You can use your card to buy:
- plain liquid cow’s milk
- fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables
- fresh, dried, and tinned pulses
- infant formula milk based on cow’s milk
You can also use your card to collect:
- Healthy Start vitamins – these support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding vitamin drops for babies and young children – these are suitable from birth to 4 years old
Offers a programme to help people change their routines for the better. The 12 week NHS Weight Loss Plan helps people to start healthier eating habits and become more active.
Farewell from the Retiring Practice Manager
It is with mixture of emotions that I write my valedictory address to you all as one of my final tasks as Kingswood's Practice Manager and the ex-officio secretary to the PPG. It seems as if it was just yesterday, when I responded to an advert and was invited to attend an interview for this role. At the time, the practice was undergoing a major refurbishment which saw an upgrade to the premises from its original 1960's footprint to its current configuration, adding extra consultation rooms. Although it was some way through its rebuild by the time of my eventual arrival, it was to remain in a state of organised chaos for many months to follow, which our patients bore with fortitude and forbearance.
From the very beginning, the Kingswood PPG repeatedly showed their unswerving support for the doctors and staff, turning out to support us with the flu (and later COVID) vaccinations, organising Christmas raffles and raising funds to provide clinical equipment for our patients' benefit as well as conducting patient surveys, in order to capture the ‘voice of the patient’. I would like to thank all of the members of the PPG; past and present, but in particular its Chairman Mrs Sue Stanbridge and Mrs Mary Chamberlain Vice Chairman, for the ceaseless energy and commitment which you have all put in to supporting Kingswood over the almost nine years of my tenure as Practice Manager. One of the key elements of our CQC assessment in 2016, took into account the quality of our relationship with our patients and our engagement with our PPG which went a long way to giving us our overall "Good" score, although I will always maintain that we were underscored in one or two other areas.
Finally, I would like to thank our patients. No one could possibly have envisaged what was waiting for us in 2020, when the world as we knew it effectively came to a halt, as a result of the COVID pandemic. It was a dark time and one I recall filled with uncertainty and trepidation. Even after the relative success of the first round of vaccinations, which was by and large achieved through the resourcefulness and commitment of our own and the other Tunbridge Wells PCN practices, it was not the resumption of "business as usual" which I think many had hoped for. During this time, we lost patients and friends to
both the illness itself and what we now know as Long COVID. Our own path to recovery as a practice has been similarly affected by the impact of the disease on our patient population, as much as ourselves.
Despite the efforts and dedication of our staff, it will probably still be some time before we even begin to turn the tide and start to see things return to a semblance of normality. However, I believe that Kingswood has a bright future. It has a committed and professional team of clinical, nursing and support staff, who care deeply about our patient community. And it now has a new Practice Manager, who comes to us with a solid background in the healthcare sector, to take the practice forward in the next chapter of its story.
I want to thank you all, for the experience and privilege of being Kingswood's Practice manager for the past eight years and nine months.
Welcome to the New Practice Manager
Thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself as the new Practice Manager here at Kingswood Surgery. My name is Louise Buck, I live locally and bring with me extensive experience and knowledge within the health and social care sector.
I have worked in various settings including residential care, palliative care (Hospice in the Weald), the Integrated Commissioning Board (ICB) and also commercial health insurance.
Earlier this year I completed a masters degree in Senior Leadership which will support me in my new role as I will endeavour to continue the work already carried out here at Kingswood to improve patient outcomes and support the staff team. I would like to celebrate and thank the Kingswood staff team for their warm welcome for which I am very grateful. I have already witnessed the dedication and motivation from staff whilst dealing with, sometimes challenging and intense workloads, continuing to smile and aiming to ensure patients receive high-quality care and support. I have also completed my Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) training which will equip me to further support staff.
On a personal note, I enjoy walking (we have two lively Springer Spaniels), spending time with my husband and three adult sons as well as enjoying reading and jigsaws!I am looking forward to working with and building relationships with patients and staff, continuing the valuable work already being carried out. I aim to understand the challenges we all face and ensure that I lead future enhancements to improve patient outcomes.
I would like to finish by thanking Joanne Adam for her patience and extensive support during my handover period. I wish Joanne well in her retirement.
One of the biggest challenges we face is the growing resistance of viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria to the drugs and medicines that we use to treat them. Making sure we only use antibiotics when absolutely necessary helps to reduce the risk of resistance over time.
Beat Joint Pain: Take Part in New Programme
If you are suffering from joint pain which causes discomfort and stiffness why not sign up for a free twice weekly exercise and education programme at Nuffield Health.
They provide a 12 week programme which is designed to help patients understand, manage and relieve joint pain, improving quality of life.
The programme includes help and advice with nutrition, sleep and overall wellbeing, plus obesity and chronic pain support where necessary. It starts and ends with a free Health MOT, and over the 12 weeks
you will be supported with twice weekly sessions by a trained fitness advisor.
Please note that if your joint pain is considered too severe by our experts, or if you have joint replacement surgery booked within 12 weeks of the programme start date, you may not be eligible to participate in the programme.
Kingswood Surgery Statistics for October 2023
- Total number of calls to the Surgery: 8,483
- Average call length: 2mins and 41 sec
Total number of appointments
- GP face to face: 1,190
- GP telephone: 533
- Nurses & HCA: 1,497
- Triage: 669
- Flu jabs: 819
- Total: 4,708
Number of Patients who did not attend (DNA) their booked appointment to see a:
- GP: 58
- Nurse: 54
- Flu jabs: 76
- Phlebotomist (take bloods): 24
- Total number of patients who DNAd in October: 212
Mouth Cancer Action Month
Mouth cancer causes more deaths each year than road traffic accidents, though only around 9% of people are aware of the major risk factors for mouth cancer. More than two in three mouth cancers are diagnosed in men, and almost two in three are diagnosed in those who are over 60.
The symptoms of mouth cancer are varied, and range from some you might expect, like lumps and swellings in the mouth, to others you might not have thought about like teeth that become loose, or dentures that stop fitting suddenly.
Domestic violence and coercive control
There doesn’t need to be violence in your relationship for you to be a victim of domestic abuse. Coercive control is a criminal offence. Put simply, coercive behaviour is behaviour that controls you, your time and your relationships or finances. If you feel you sometimes don’t do things that you might want to because of what someone might say or do, it may be that they’re exhibiting controlling behaviour towards you.
The NHS website has a list of questions to consider when thinking about whether you may be in an abusive relationship.Women’s Aid also have a range of resources for help and support, whether you’re a victim of domestic abuse or are supporting someone who is. Access web chats, email help, a supportive forum and the survivor’s handbook.
Returning Mobility Aids
If you have used mobility equipment that you no longer need, there are some places that you can drop them off or ask to be collected
Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells Trust
Equipment bearing an NRS sticker with a barcode, will be collected when no longer needed. It is preferable for the patient’s name to be known when arranging for collection. NRS Healthcare. 01622 235300 Equipment not bearing a sticker is not accepted,
You can also return used items top the Red Cross shop in the Royal Victoria Place precinct near Next (but not commodes/bed pans etc) which they will recycle. They also hire out wheel chairs locally.
The Hospice Shop, in Longfield Road on the Industrial Estate are happy to have any unwanted mobility aids -walking sticks, crutches, zimmers and especially wheelchairs.
Beware of Corks!
A consultant eye surgeon is warning party goers this Christmas and New Year to be careful of flying corks from sparkling drinks bottles. Corks can travel up to 50 miles per hour and cause a lot of damage to your eye. This is one of the most common holiday related eye hazards.
Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month
Currently, more than half of the people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will die within three months.
Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include: indigestion, tummy or back pain, changes to your poo, unexplained weight loss or lack of appetite and jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin). If you’re concerned about any of these symptoms, please contact your GP practice
Needing a Bit of IT Help?
The Amelia in Tunbridge Wells are offering help.
Every Monday between 11am and 1pm and every Tuesday between 10am and 12pm you can book an appointment with them.
You can contact them by calling 01892 526121 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stress affects us all in different ways and at different times. There are some easy stress management tips that you can try, which can help to reduce your stress levels. If you’re finding things too difficult to manage with self-help, you can always talk to a member of our team.
COPD Awareness Day
World COPD Awareness Day was on 15th November. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause similar issues and include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD means you’re unable to breathe out quickly and air gets trapped in your chest due to narrowed airways and phlegm.
The main symptoms of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are shortness of breath, a phlegmy cough, frequent chest infections and wheezing. These symptoms continue over time, so if you’re experiencing these symptoms over a period of time, in particular if you’re over 35 and a smoker, it’s worth asking if we can check you over.
Self Care Week
Self-care is an essential part of our overall wellbeing. Becoming run-down, both physically and mentally, gives our bodies and minds additional challenges. But using appropriate self-care means that we’re better equipped to deal with life’s challenges.
World Diabetes Day
It was World Diabetes Day in November and the theme this year was “Know your risk, Know your response”. One in ten adults suffer from diabetes. Over 90% have Type 2 diabetes and over 50% are not diagnosed. Type 2 diabetes is a risk for your long-term health and increases the likelihood of other long-term conditions.
Diabetes is a complex condition that affects the body in a number of ways. Diabetes can lead to other long-term conditions and increased risk of serious issues like heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and nerve damage.
Sevenoaks Urgent Treatment Centre, Opening Hours
Sevenoaks Urgent Treatment Centre, based at Sevenoaks Hospital is Open 8am to 8pm,7 days a week 365 days a year and has two GPs stationed there throughout the day.
The service is suitable for patients for same day appointments that cannot wait 24hrs to be seen.Patients can be seen by a GP in the UTC either by obtaining an appointment through NHS 111 by asking for a booked appointment, or alternatively signposted to attend as a walk-in patient
UK Malnutrition Awareness Week
This year, UK Malnutrition Awareness Week focused on malnutrition and dehydration through preventable causes or disease. Our bodies are designed to work best with optimal levels of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and hydration. Where causes are known and preventable, we should ensure that we’re doing all we can to meet these needs
International Men’s Day
International Men’s Day fell on 19th November, and the theme for this year was “Zero Male Suicide”. Men provide positive contributions to their families, friends, workplaces and communities. But men are at greater risk of suicide as many find it difficult to talk about the things that are bothering them. This year’s campaign focuses on our ability to help and support men so they feel there is hope
UK Disability History Month, 16th November to 16th December
People living with disabilities face difficulties and discrimination in their lives which provide additional challenges for them to overcome. Understanding the difficulties faced and taking positive steps to ensure equity are important so that disabled people have the opportunities enjoyed by others.
If you’ve ever wondered about the challenges faced by disabled people and what you can do to help make their lives easier, this illustration neatly outlines the difference between equality and equity. Equality makes sure everyone has the same; equity makes sure everyone has what they need to access the same opportunities.
New Online Mental Health Service for Adults
A new online service is now available to all adults in Kent and Medway, giving people aged 18-years-old and over increased access to mental health support.
Qwell provides adults with professional support for all mental health issues seven-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year.
Whether you are feeling low, grieving the loss of a loved one, going through family and relationship issues and/or feeling anxious, help is there for you through Qwell.
By visiting the Qwell website, adults in Kent and Medway can:
- get anonymous expert advice from a team of friendly practitioners via a one-to-one text-based chat session (available from 12noon to 10pm on weekdays, and from 6pm to 10pm at the weekend)
- use self-help tools to set goals, document feelings and practise self-care strategies
- access a library of resources for boosting mental wellbeing and coping with life’s challenges
- talk to Qwell’s community through forums and connect with others who may feel the same way.
Stay well in winter and cold weather
Some people are more vulnerable in cold weather, and as winter rapidly approaches, we need to think about how we can stay well when it’s wintry. This might include vaccinations if you’re vulnerable, making sure the temperature is warm enough indoors and making sure you’re getting all the help that’s available.
The NHS website have some fantastic guidance on the things that might help us to stay well over the winter, including links to some of the available financial support you may be entitled to.
If you have elderly or vulnerable neighbours, can you check that they’re okay? From knocking on the door to see if they’re alright if you haven’t seen them doing their normal activities, to sparing the time for a cuppa if they’re alone for long periods, there are many things we can do to foster great communities and support our older population.
Age UK run day centres for older people. With planned activities, a hot meal at lunchtime and with many offering accessible transport, you may find that getting out of the house, with a little support, is just what you need to have an enjoyable day especially if enjoy some company and a warm welcome.
From transport to helping with small maintenance jobs around the home, Age UK can help across Great Britain. To find out more about the support Age UK offer, have a look at their local pages.
New initiative tackles ‘silent killer’ condition
Thousands of patients have reduced their risk of developing serious health problems as part of a new drive to tackle hypertension. Hypertension – or high blood pressure - is a leading cause of strokes and heart attacks and affects more than one in four adults in England.
It is not always clear what causes high blood pressure, but certain factors may increase your risk. You may be more at risk if you:
- are overweight
- eat too much salt and do not eat enough fruit and vegetables
- do not exercise enough
- drink too much alcohol or coffee, or other caffeine-based drinks
- have a lot of stress
- are 65-years-old and over
- have a relative with high blood pressur
- are of black African or Black Caribbean descent
- live in a deprived area.
Early detection is important as the condition, described as a ‘silent killer’, often shows no obvious symptoms.
Left untreated, high blood pressure can increase the risk of serious long-term health conditions, including heart and kidney failure and vascular dementia.
Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure, if it is already high.
NHS Kent and Medway has been working with GP teams, community pharmacies and voluntary organisations to identify people who may be at risk or unaware they have hypertension.
More than 290,000 people in Kent and Medway were living with hypertension between April 2022 to March 2023.
Now, 66 per cent of these patients have a controlled blood pressure after receiving lifestyle support and medication.
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