image-20231108161252-1.png   Ash Surgery Newsletter

No.6 April 2024 

Update from the Practice Manager
Sue Skinner reports that Dr Hiru Jayakody, who has been one of our locum doctors for some time, has now joined the team as a salaried GP. She started in the first week of April, and we’ll be inviting her to write  a few words about herself for the Summer Newsletter.

Dr Paul Vig
Dr Vig is one of our locum doctors. He lives with his other half and two sons in Thanet. He hails from West London - where he was born. As a boy he had a keen interest in science and his chemistry teacher told him that he was good at all the experiments. This, he says, led on eventually to his interest in surgery. 

First, though, he trained at Guys and St Thomas's Hospitals and graduated from Kings College in 2001.
Paul trained in Surgery and obtained his Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh in 2007. He then did orthopaedics (bone surgery) for many years, using air-powered drills, saws, titanium plates and screws. He describes it as being a body mechanic and says it was great fun with technical skills to boot!

Following this, Paul was offered a job in Thanet, trained as a GP and obtained his MRCGP (Membership of the Royal College of GPs) in 2009. He worked as a GP in Deal for many years. 

He has also worked in Pharmaceutical Medicine. You might think that this field would involve only pharmacists, but doctors in the industry deal with supervising many of the trials of drugs. Paul says that a lot of the work meant going through data with consultants - which wasn’t for him. He found he needed to be a salesman and it wasn’t his forte.

At one stage he worked on a P&O cruise liner as a Locum Ship’s Doctor! It gave him a few weeks sailing round the Mediterranean on the ‘OCEANA’.  On one occasion, when the liner was off Lisbon, the captain had to call the Portuguese coastguard as there was a passenger who was ill, and needed specialist attention. They sent a helicopter but the ship had no helipad for ‘medivac’ (medical evacuation of a patient).  This meant that a winchman had to be lowered with a gurney basket - a special stretcher, used for moving patients who require medical care.  The patient was then air-lifted to hospital. There are typically two  Doctors on board a cruise ship. One involved in the evacuation of the patient, while the other has to stay deep inside the hull in case the one on deck is killed if the chopper crashes! ‘Pretty dark,’ says Paul, ‘you don’t have to think like that in many fields of medicine.’ You’re asking yourself where Paul was on this occasion, risking life and limb up on deck, or tucked away safely ‘below’! He tells us he saw the helicopter coming in, with the winchman dangling, and then he was sent downstairs by the senior doctor!

On dry land Paul is known to occasionally play five-a-side football.  But he also describes himself as a failry keen cyclist - mainly "Road" and some "Trail".  Trail cycling involves using bridleways, tracks etc.  "This", Paul says, "is now uber trendy".  He adds, "The thing about cycling is that you get to sit down and exercise, and go places!  It's a great social and individual sport."  He's done about 3,600 miles a year over the course of the last 8 years. 

So if you're out and about and you see a streak of fluorescent red or yellow it'll be your uber trendy doctor putting in some of his 70 miles a week!


Pharmacy First

The NHS ‘Pharmacy First’ scheme was launched in January. Dario Canada has for eight years been our local pharmacist/store manager at Boots in Ash. We asked him to tell us about his work and the new Scheme.

In a constantly changing environment for the NHS, we are extremely fortunate to have both a surgery and chemist in this village within five minutes of each other, and more than ever, it's absolutely vital that we support each other to ensure that we stay like this.  Our village is growing, and so the demand for a good healthcare service increases.  We are here to suppoer the community and the local surgery delivering excellent care for everyone. 

The "Pharmacy First" service aims at relieving some of the pressure on the local surgery and therefore helping more patients every day!  We are able to help with seven conditions such as sore throats, earaches, shingles, insect bites, otitis (ear infection), uncomplicated urinary infections and impetigo!  These are age dependent, so please refer to the NHS website for more information. 

We are a small Boots branch with limited stock and a high volume of prescription items - but with a great team, Louise, Kath and Siobhan.  Like everyone, we have our struggles and stock issues, but we aim to deliver the best care possible to those in need!  We are together in good times and also in difficult times like Covid, where we remained open to help the community, especially the vulnerable.  In a time where everyone is going online and everything is becoming digital, we remain our physical local pharmacy, accessible to everyone and ready to help! 

So please don't pass on the opportunity to support all the services at your disposal in Ash, show them some love, as you never miss something until you lose that something!  Together we fight and we survive!

Physician Associates 

The Government Health Secretary, Victoria Atkins, said last month that the training of more Physician and Anaesthesia Associates in central to the NHS long term workforce plan in providing faster care for patients. 

The function of associates is to help ease the pressure in hospitals by performing some duties alongside doctors, such as taking medical histories and carrying out physical examinations.  They also support doctors during and after operations. 

PAs have been proven to be sage and effective, not just in the UK, but across Europe and North America, where they have been part of medical teams for decades.  In particular, anaesthesia associates can reduce downtime in operating theatres - boosting efficiency and cutting waiting times. 

Research carried out within the NHS shows that PAs reduce the administrative burden on doctors and GPs freeing them up to sped more time with patients. 

New Diabetes Procedure Assessment 

The safety of a procedure for type 2 diabetes patients is being explored for potential use.  The technique uses heat to destroy the lining of part of the small intestine - allowing it to regrow so that cells respond better to insulin.  The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says more research into the procedure is needed. 

Kent Fire Brigade

The Brigade offers a free smoke alarm installation/check if you are a pensioner or have a carer living with you. 

Quote from their website "We offer free home fire safety visits to customers who are over 70, have long term health issues, dementia or have young children, or who smoke.  During these visits we provide fire safety advice and identify and potential risks, test smoke alarms and install new ones where needed, discuss escape routes and more, to help our customers feel safe and well at home.  Book a free safe and well home fire safety visit or call 0800 923 7000"



The purpose of the Newsletter is to keep patients informed about medical matters generally and the running of Ash Practice in particular. 

If you have anything that you feel needs to be brought to the attention of the Practice, or other patients, please let up know and, and, hopefully, we'll be able to see that it gets an airing in the Newsletter.