Last time I wrote snippets it was on the back of a pleasant summer with a hope for a mild winter. These hopes seem to have been realised unless there is a sting in the tale to come....
The milder weather means the hay fever season may well start earlier than normal this year as plants/trees return to bloom. Current evidence suggests that those who start their usual preventer medications before their hay fever symptoms begin,tend to achieve better control of their symptoms over the season. It is never too early to start thinking about ordering your usual repeats if you are unfortunate enough to suffer with this common and inconvenient ailment
As ever, nothing stands still in the surgery. There has been a lot of positive news for our medical staff. Dr Kirsty Moreland got married in February to Alasdair and she has changed to her married name at work and is now Dr Ross. Both Dr Amy Pickles, our locum and Dr Gillian MacLeod, one of our trainees, have had babies since the last snippets and both have left for pastures new. Dr Gillian MacLeod will be returning to us to complete her GP training in a year or so. Dr Lynn McGurran is also now off on maternity leave, joining Dr Fiona MacLeod who had her baby last November. This means there will are some new faces in the surgery. Some will already have met Dr Aileen Connelly who joined us from Portlethen as a locum in February and also Dr Bharati Chirangi who joined us in March as a locum from Banchory Medical Practice.
PLT (protected learning time)
We recently received our training dates for the year from the Health Board. These are Wednesday afternoons where the surgery is closed but emergency cover is still provided through NHS 24 and GMeds. In common with most organisations these are essential days for staff training. The dates for the coming year are 14.5.14, 25.6.14, 10.9.14, 12.11.14 and 11.2.15
Visit and surgery appointment requests.
Non-emergency home visits are typically performed by the doctor that knows you best over lunchtime. As such, any requests for home visit are best made before 11am and certainly before noon so they can be distributed to the most suitable doctor. Requests made for non-emergency home visits in the afternoon are unlikely to be met that day as the doctor will usually be in surgery. We are happy to visit any patients that are genuinely house bound, the flip side of that is that people that get out to other appointments such as the hairdresser and the supermarket we would ask to come in to see us. This is simply an economy of time – typically we can see three patients in the surgery in the time it takes us to do a home visit- more than that if you live towards the periphery of our practice area.
There is a new initiative that has been recently highlighted to us called THInC (Transport to healthcare Information Centre) that offers guidance on suitable transport options for patients to get to and from hospital/GP appointments when they have no means of personal transport. While they can not book transport they provide details on suitable bus/train times including contact numbers and other services such as local dial-a bus and voluntary car schemes. Their number is 01343 567839 it is charged at a local rate and advice is available Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm.
In a similar way there is a trend towards people looking for on the day surgery appointments deep into the afternoon. This is entirely appropriate if the symptoms are new and urgent and in that scenario this need would be dealt with by our duty doctor.
However we are getting an increasing number of calls where people have had non-urgent symptoms for several weeks and phone us once they are finished work for the day to see if they can pop in for an appointment – you would be surprised how often we get such a call a few minutes before 6pm. This is just likely to lead to disappointment so in that scenario we would encourage you to phone as close to 8.30am as you can.
There are a number of opportunities locally for those wishing to start or return to a rewarding career in caring. This is a vital and important role in the community, allowing people to be looked after for longer in their own homes rather than having to be admitted to nursing homes or even hospitals. It also allows people to regain their independence and return to their community quicker after a hospital admission as they may just need a bit of extra help for a few days or weeks as they recuperate. For more information contact Elaine Walters Home Care Manager (South) telephone 013398 87096 With an ever-increasing elderly population forecasted this will become a more and more essential and valued role in our community in the years to come.
To be continued next week.