Ash Surgery Newsletter
No.4 October 2023
Welcome to the fourth edition of the Patient Participation Newsletter.
The Patient Participation Group meets every three months. The purpose of the Newsletter is to keep all patients informed about the running of the practice while, at the same time, members of the group feed back to Sue Skinner the Practice Manager, or the Doctors and clinicians anything which is relevant to patients as a whole.
If you have anything that you feel needs to be brought to the attention of the Practice, or other patients, please let us know and, hopefully, we’ll be able to see that it gets an airing in the Newsletter.
Update from the Practice Manager
We are now up to full complement at the Practice (with one exception!) I’ll come to that in a moment…
We have Dr Lambie, Dr Fox, Dr Marshall and our two regular locums Dr Vig and Dr Jayakody together with our paramedic practitioner Richard Simmons. Melissa Allinson is our advanced nurse practitioner. The Practice nurse is Kelly Simmons who, alongside our HCAs Michelle and Doreen, make up our nursing team.
The diabetic specialist nurse is Nancy Weeks and we also hope to provide regular diabetic appointments from November with a new diabetic service that is rolling out across Kent. Jan Reid is our Health Trainer (or Lifestyle Adviser). Mohammad Asim is our physiotherapist.
We also have a dedicated carehome nurse, Leanne Evans, a midwife once a week and our social prescriber, Amy Burt, who is also with us once a week and helps patients with a variety of personal, medical, social or financial needs and will visit patients at home. In addition, we have access to many other teams across our network, our home visiting service, the Acute Response team, hospital at home and frailty team to name just a few - all of which are accessible via the surgery.
Our receptionists are Kelly, Maureen, Jessica, Amber and Michelle. Michelle also works as an HCA (see above).
Prescribing lead is Hayley (meaning that she handles prescriptions). Hayley is assisted by Jessica, and the admin team is led by Sarah, office manager, assisted by Hazel and Louise. The two medical secretaries are Joanna and Laura
So, who is missing you may ask - I mentioned this in my first paragraph, above. Well, perhaps it’s you! We’re currently looking for a Workflow Administrator to join our happy team. The title is self-explanatory but for further details call or email the surgery. If you’d like to apply simply get in touch with me at
firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01304 812227.
The annual flu vaccine rollout has begun and patients need to call the Surgery for an appointment if they qualify.
You qualify if you’re 65 years old or over or you have certain health conditions or you have a learning disability. Carers can also get flu and COVID-19 vaccines if they are paid or unpaid. They may be able to get the vaccines at the same time as those they're caring for.
The Practice is not routinely offering the Covid vaccine to anyone not in a care home or coded as housebound. Patients will need to access an appointment via 119 or the online national booking system.
A newcomer to The Practice
We went in to The Surgery recently to meet the latest member of the team. We asked Jessica Macdiarmid, who was the receptionist on duty to explain
You may have noticed a new addition in our waiting room. It’s tall, dark, handsome and ready to use!
This is our new patient health pod. You can pop in and use it on any day of the week, at your own convenience, to check your blood pressure, weight, BMI and height. There’s no waiting around and results are given in under 2 minutes. In the manner of modern technology this information is reviewed and automatically uploaded to your records!
The pod loudly and clearly talks you through how to start, and a screen with the instructions is available if you’re hard of hearing. Your results are kept confidential and printed out on a receipt for you to take home.
An added benefit of the pod: blood pressure is measured by inserting your wrist into the machine, this is often easier than having your upper arm measured. For me, personally, I suffer from the well-known 'white coat syndrome', and my blood pressure readings are significantly better when using the machine and my palms are less sweaty!
The pod can reduce the appointments you need to book at the surgery and will aid prescription requests by keeping this information as up to date as possible. It can also enable you to accurately track your own health in your own time. Please come and in and give it a try, my colleagues and myself are here to help if you need assistance.
Add potential decades to your life
People who adopt eight key healthy lifestyle habits at the age of 40 can add more than two decades to their lives. The 8 factors are well-known to be good for health but a study has for the first time brought them together.
The eight habits are: being physically active, being free from opioid addiction, not smoking, managing stress, having a good diet, not regularly binge drinking, having the correct amount of sleep and having positive social relationships.
Even the adoption of one factor can give a significant increase in longevity – and this increases further as two, three, four, five, six and seven of the habits are adopted. And it’s never too late to put this into practice. While the earlier a person adopts the habits the better, even if the changes are made in the 60’s, or later, it’s still beneficial.
There is a slight difference between men and women. Men who adopt all eight habits at the age of 40 would, on average, be expected to live an average of 24 years longer than men who followed none. For women, an average of 21 years would be added to their lives.
The researchers point out that there could also be other factors at work. But the findings align with a growing body of research supporting the role of lifestyle in preventing chronic diseases and promoting healthy aging.
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