Our July AGM is an opportunity to reflect on the work our Group has carried out over the past year and consider how effective we have been in supporting the surgery in any changes that have taken place. 

We debate a host of ideas and opinions to put forward to the surgery clinicians, based on essential feedback from you, the Thames Avenue patients. Towards that end, we have committed to a regular exercise in approaching patients in the waiting room for their views and the positive reaction we receive is hugely encouraging.

In addition we recently assisted the surgery in running a Well Woman clinic, where female patients were invited to drop in – without an appointment – for smear tests, menopause advice, or just to have a chat with our Nurses about a variety of female health issues.  We provided tea, coffee and cakes, which added to a wonderfully convivial and relaxed atmosphere in the waiting room, while ladies waited to see Nurse.    Such was the huge success of the ladies’ drop-in clinic, that the surgery is considering adopting a similar strategy aimed at male patients – a Well Man Clinic some time in the Autumn where men will be welcome to drop in, again without an appointment, to discuss their own personal issues such as prostate problems, depression, smoking cessation and many other aspects of men’s health.

Much focus has been given to improvement of services throughout the sectors of the NHS, but predictably, also a greater accent than ever on costs and expenditure.  Towards this end, patients will be interested to learn that NHS England have been working towards creating (as described on their website) “Primary Care Networks built on the core of current primary care services to enable greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care”.

Interesting and ambitious stuff! Our Group has been interested to hear that this practice will become part of the “Medway Rainham Primary Care Network” comprising 10 local surgeries who will share the services of a clinical pharmacist, paramedic and social prescriber.  The concept is in early stages – there is much to be yet agreed - but we are assured our Doctors will be monitoring the new system carefully, to ensure that any collaboration does not negatively impact on their patients nor the surgery’s high standard of service.  In addition, through the work of Rainham practices and funding from Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, we have seen the introduction of a very valued and much required regular Mental Health Nurse who distributes her time and services amongst all of the Rainham practices. Feedback has demonstrated she has been enormously well received by patients who suffer from debilitating mental conditions.

The surgery has also been proud to announce that Dr Ramakrishnan can now offer an extension to the standard GP Family Planning services, offering coil & implant insertions/removals.  Prior to this, certain contraceptive facilities were only available after a lengthy wait for an appointment with the Family Planning Clinic in Chatham or Strood.

As patients, we are hugely grateful that the health care given by this surgery is being maintained to the highest degree, despite the restrictions of the heavily burdened NHS, which faces severe challenges.  As patients, we can support our surgery throughout these difficult times, by showing appreciation for good service and by being courteously honest on the rare occasions it falls below par. 

We need to maintain realistic expectations that don’t go beyond what is achievable and reasonable and show understanding when the surgery staff are clearly under pressure.  So please help us, to help this surgery, maintain its reputation of being amongst the best-rated practice for miles around!         

                           Thames Avenue Patient Participation Group



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