Local news

Lambton Road Medical Practice - June 2016

Longer days 

As we move into British Summer Time with longer days, we also seem to have an increasingly earlier hayfever season.  Please be aware that you can obtain hayfever remedies from the local pharmacists (free-of-charge if you do not ordinarily pay for escriptions) under the Minor Ailments Scheme. 

If you are buying medication over the counter, we recommend a once-daily non-sedating antihistamine such as Cetirizine 10mg or Loratadine 10mg. Anasal spray such as Beclometasone (Aqueous Beconase) needs to be taken regularly from the onset of symptoms, as do eye drops such as Sodium Cromoglycate (Opticrom) or Otrivine-Antistin. 

Longer days also mean more sunshine. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common and current guidelines advise 1 to 11⁄2 hours daily midday sunshine for all of us. This is, of course, not always possible and we recommend certain groups continue to take a daily 1000 unit supplement throughout the year. 

We are currently having a catch-up campaign for the pneumococcal vaccine at the surgery. This protects against bacterial pneumonia and it is highly recommended for elderly patients and others in high-risk groups. We will be contacting patients who are eligible over the next couple of months and would highly recommend this vaccine which gives lifelong protection in most people. 


The shingles vaccine is a relatively new vaccine for over 70s and the eligibility can seem quite complicated. Ultimately, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advised that all 70 year olds should be vaccinated as this is felt to be the most at-risk group and the age group for which we know the vaccine to be most effective. 

The protection is thought to last eight years so vaccinating a 70 year old takes them through most of their 70s. We know vaccinating those over 80 becomes less effective so those in this age group will not be offered the jab on the NHS. 

The ‘rules’ we must abide by are quite cryptic. The jab is currently being offered to all people who are aged 70 and 78 between October 1st 2015 and before August 31st 2016. In addition, anyone who was eligible for immunisation in the first two years of the programme but has not yet been vaccinated against shingles remains eligible until their 80th birthday.

This includes people aged 71 and 72 on September 1st 2015 and people aged 79. If you are eligible, we will be writing to you. 

Online services

 As of April 1st 2016, it is possible to request access to view some of your medical record online. To ensure this is safe, and that records are only accessible to the patient they relate to, it is necessary to apply for this facility providing photographic ID. 

Online services are developing. We are offering increasing numbers of online bookable appointments – including on-the-day slots which open at 7am – and we are pleased that more local pharmacists are signing up to the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) which enables you to request repeat medication from the surgery online. 

These requests can then be authorised and sent to an eligible nominated pharmacy of your choice, removing the need for a paper slip or a trip to the surgery to pick your issued prescription up. Please ask at reception for further information. 

Booking online also offers you the ability to cancel scheduled appointments online. We have developed an annotated guide which gives clear details as to how to download Patient Access, our online booking app, onto your smartphone. Please ask at reception or take a copy from our leaflet rack. 

Every day we still waste huge numbers of  appointments. Please keep a note of our cancellation line (020 3668 1946) and let us know if you cannot make your scheduled appointment. Extraordinarily, we continue to have patients who make on-the-day appointments and then fail to turn up and do not even attempt to cancel them. We will be sending letters to our frequent offenders this year and are trying to reduce our Did Not Attend (DNA) rate as it impacts on all of us. Please ensure your contact details, particularly mobile numbers, are up-to-date in our records. This ensures that you receive text reminders of booked appointments and allows you to cancel conveniently by return text. Rising workload, increasing amounts of work transferred from struggling local hospitals, an ageing population and diminishing resources are affecting all GPs. 

We are not any different. We continue to try and maintain and improve our services but we need you to work with us to do this. 

Please realise that free NHS appointments are a precious resource and cancel if you cannot attend. Please treat our staff courteously and appreciate that they can have a difficult task at times. 

Resources for our older patients 

A recent study led by academics from the University of York was an analysis of data from over 20 studies involving over 180,000 subjects. This suggests that loneliness may be as substantial a killer as obesity and smoking. 

Our Patient Participation Group (PPG) remains a dynamic ‘critical’ friend. We thank them for their ongoing support and input and for such a detailed analysis of their listening week responses. The practice is working through these and feels confident this will help us to develop better services. 

Finally, a request. We have two disabled parking spaces at the front of the building. To use these, you need a Blue Badge. Every day, we are very sad to see cars parked there who should not be there, which hugely inconveniences and stresses those who should be able to park there. If it is you, please reconsider. 

Dr Penelope Smith (Senior Partner) - Lambton Road Medical Practice

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