Westwood Wellness

June 2024

The newsletter of Hildenborough & Tonbridge Medical Group

Are you looking after someone? Is someone looking out for you?

Leanne Flux

Hello again.

It’s important that your GP knows if you are a carer, or if someone is caring for you. Help is available if you need it, and we want to be sure that we are supporting carers in every way we can.

Even if you don’t need help now, it’s important that we know in case things change in the future. So we would like you to tell us – confidentially, of course - what care you provide, or what care somone else is giving you. 

What do we mean by a carer? 

Here’s our definition: “A carer is someone, irrespective of age, who regularly provides (or supervises) a substantial amount of care for a child, relative, partner or neighbour who is unable to manage on their own because of illness, frailty, mental
illness or impairment.”

You may be a parent, a child, a sibling, a partner, someone from a voluntary agency - or just a kind neighbour. Please let us know: go to our website or pick up a form in the surgery.

Leanne Flux, Practice Manager


Calling all pregnant women!

Have you had your whooping cough vaccine?

Whooping cough is a lung infection and cases are currently on the rise. It can cause serious illness in a newborn before they are old enough to have their vaccinations to help protect them. Having a whooping cough vaccine in pregnancy can help pass on immunity to your newborn and is effective at protecting them from the infection in the first few weeks of their life.

The whooping cough vaccine is safe in pregnancy and is ideally given between 16 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. However, it's now possible to have it after 32 weeks of pregnancy and - if you’re breastfeeding - up until 8 weeks after your baby is born.

Please book your appointment with a practice nurse now!


100,000 GP appointments a year! 

We’re a busy practice. In the first three months of 2024, our GPs saw over 23,500 patients – which
translates to nearly 100,000 a year. Sad to say, 300 patients did not turn up for their appointments,
which wastes everyone’s time. If you can’t make yours, just ring in and let us know so that
someone else can have your slot.


Appointments via 111

If you phone 111 in the first instance, there are some occasions when you will be referred to your GP. To allow for this, the 111 system automatically blocks off some of our GPs' time when they are not available to speak to patients except those booked by 111.

This results in the confusing situation that you might ring the surgery to be told that there are no appointments available, and you are advised to ring 111. So you ring 111, explain the problem, and they say they will get a GP to call you – which looks like the appointment you have just been told you can’t have!

Please don’t blame our hardworking care navigators. NHS England limits the number of appointments we can offer to maximise patient safety (and our GPs’ sanity). Within that number are the appointments allocated to 111: it might seem odd, but it’s the NHS system. 


Blood test - When will I know my results?

The results of your blood test will normally be available five days after it was taken, though sometimes your GP may ask you specifically to call earlier. If the blood test has been requested by a hospital consultant or clinician then you will generally need to call them directly for the result.

To get your test results, call the surgery between 1.30pm and 4pm Monday–Thursday, using option 4 on the telephone system. Please don’t call for your results outside these times as that just slows
everything down. 


Comings and Goings

We are delighted to announce that Dr Tara Sheehan and Dr Phillippa Wilson will be joining the HTMG Partnership from 1st July 2024.

Welcome back to Dr Tamsin Apps who has returned from maternity leave, and warm wishes for a very happy retirement to Admin Assistant Julie, who has been with us for a
total of 44 years.

We also extend a warm welcome to Louise, our new Finance Assistant supporting the Practice Manager, and to Edward who has joined the care navigation team. It's with great sadness that we inform you of the death of Dr Ann Nicholls who was a Partner at the practice for many years. She passed away peacefully at home on 24 April 2024 and will be greatly missed.

Published: Jun 11, 2024