Newsletter March 2022

Patient Participation Group Newsletter


Masks still need to be worn when visiting any of the Practice Surgeries

Nationally, the NHS has not changed Infection Prevention & Control measures. This means staff, patients and visitors must continue to wear a mask/face covering in healthcare settings. The consistent application of IPC measures, alongside the roll  out of the vaccine programme and staff and patient testing, remains the most effective defence against the entry and spread of COVID-19 in healthcare settings.

a person wearing a facemask


Covid Vaccinations

A few clinics have been held over the last couple of months and the Practice will review any additional clinics later in the month. The Practice is not routinely providing vaccines to healthy children under 16 years as these are being provided by Dorset Healthcare through the School Nursing teams.

The Government will continue to be guided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice on deploying vaccinations. As such, further booster vaccinations may be recommended this autumn for people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and ahead of that, there will be a spring booster for groups JCVI consider to be at particularly high risk.

These include adults aged 75 and over, residents in a care home for older adults and those over 12 who have a weakened immune system. The recommendation is that the booster dose should be given around 6 months after the last vaccine dose.

Where these vaccines will be administered has yet to be confirmed, but the NHS will contact those eligible in due course.



The Practice continues to review access to appointments and are offering more face to face appointments. They will continue to offer routine telephone calls as this supports many patients.

The urgent care team continues to offer telephone triage and face to face appointments, based on patient need. Please continue to use e-Consult where possible which can be accessed through the Practice Website.



Dr Matt Grist is leaving the Practice shortly, to take up a post closer to home. Despite advertising for a GP locally and nationally for several months, there have been no applications. As you will have read elsewhere, there is a national shortage of GPs including locums. This means that capacity is reduced and it’s important to remember that there is a wide range of clinical help available in addition to GPs - Practice and Community Pharmacists, Nurse Practitioners, Physios etc.

Two nurses have been recruited and they are being trained to be advanced practitioners, but this will take time. A newly qualified Physician Associate has also just been appointed. These are relatively new posts and they support doctors in the diagnoses and management of patients.


NHS Waiting Times

The NHS has launched a website to enable patients to see how long the average wait time for treatment is at hospitals across England.

This is to help manage patient expectations when being referred for treatment. When a referral is received by the hospital from the Practice, the Consultant's team then prioritise how soon the patient will be seen.

The Practice has no influence over this, therefore they have no idea where a patient might be on the waiting list.

The new website - My Planned Care NHS - gives patients access to their hospital’s waiting times. Log on, choose the hospital where you have been referred to and you can then view the average waiting times.


Carers’ Clinic

The Practice holds a monthly Carers’ Clinic at Sturminster Newton Medical Centre and intends to hold an equivalent clinic at Abbey View Surgery in the not too distant future.

Each clinic provides six, one hour appointments split into two, a general health check provided by one of the Nursing Team (Carers often neglect their own health due to prioritising the health needs of the person they are caring for) and a half hour chat with Carers’ Lead, Claire Lockett to offer useful information about relevant support, local organisations and services.

The Practice makes annual phone calls to those on the Carers’ Register in their birthday month to check that they are managing. Carers’ Clinic appointments will be offered where it is considered appropriate, however, if a Carer feels they need an appointment they  can contact the Practice and our Carers’ Lead will respond. By promoting the Carers’ Clinic, it’s hoped to raise awareness and to offer an appointment to anyone who provides any amount of care and support not already on the Carers Register.

PPG and Health Champion volunteers are supporting Carers’ attending the Clinic and if required, sitting with the cared-for person whilst the Carer attends their appointment.

If you are a Carer and have not yet had an appointment, please contact the Practice to make one.


Community Carousel Clinic

Have you had a fall?

Feel unsteady on your feet?

Need advice on movement or being safe at home?

We have a new clinic that might be perfect for you!

We can run a full health check, where you can see our specialists all in one place, as well as a cup of tea or coffee with our Wellbeing team at the end of your visit.

Contact the Practice Wellbeing Team - through the main phone number 01258 474500 or by email at


Citizen’s Advice Bureau

Every Monday at the Sturminster Newton Medical Centre, representatives from the CAB offer prebooked appointments. To book a slot, contact Reception.


Memory Café at Stour Connect

This is a way of supporting those with memory loss or dementia and their carers. Contact Stour Connect for more information: 01258 471359.


Help the NHS and care system under exceptional demand

Dorset is experiencing exceptional demand and seasonal pressure on health and social care, with the impact of Covid-19 adding to the general pressures we experience in winter. There is a very limited number of beds available in hospitals and care homes across  Dorset and there are high numbers of staff who are off work.

Health and care organisations are working closely together to ensure that patients are safe, getting the right treatment in the right place, at the right time and returning home as soon as they are able to.

You can help in the following ways:

  • Support loved ones to leave hospital so that they can be more comfortable and recover more quickly at home.
  • Use NHS services wisely to get the right treatment, in the right place, at the right time. Our hospital emergency departments are under extreme pressure. If you’re unwell and are unsure about where to go, visit or call 111.
  • Contact your local pharmacist or GP practice for ongoing or minor health issues.
  • Only ever call 999 in a medical emergency – this is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

By using the right services at the right time - help the NHS to help you.

Thank you.

Right care, right time, right place