Prescription Ordering Direct service

The Prescription Ordering Direct service is new and we completely understand that people are concerned when they can’t get through to the service. 

We also apologise for the deep frustration people feel.  We are taking extraordinarily high numbers of calls currently – up to 900 calls a day, and we ask people to please be patient while they are waiting to talk to a trained prescription coordinator.  Orders are currently taking longer than usual to process because people are ringing to order their medication to cover the Christmas period.

Your call WILL  be dealt with, so please do keep trying.  We are currently training more coordinators so that we are able to manage the high levels of calls and to help cut the time that people are waiting. 

The prescription ordering direct service was introduced in April this year, as a way to help patients order only the repeat medication that they need.

The service is currently being provided from 7 surgeries in Wiltshire:

  • Lovemead Group Practice, Trowbridge
  • Giffords Surgery, Melksham
  • Castle Practice, Tidworth
  • White Horse Health Centre, Westbury
  • Avenue Surgery, Warminster
  • Tinkers Lane Surgery, Royal Wootton Bassett
  • New Court Surgery, Royal Wootton Bassett

There is no need to register to use the service.   Patients just call the POD when they have 7 days of medication left.  For those patients who are unable to ring to use this service, they can order their repeat medication using the online service offered by their GP practice, or alternatively they can speak to a member of staff at their GP practice who will discuss with them other ways they can order their medication.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about the service.

NHS Wiltshire asks patients to plan ahead and order their repeat prescriptions before Christmas

Many GP practices and pharmacies will have limited opening hours between Christmas and New Year, so Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is reminding patients to plan ahead to ensure they have enough medication to last over the festive break.

Alex Goddard, Deputy Head of Medicines Management at Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said,
“As you get ready for Christmas, the last thing on your mind might be to check that you have enough medicine.  However being prepared is important to ensure that you have enough of the medication you need. “Because of the bank holidays and the amount of winter illnesses circulating at this time of year, your GP practice and pharmacy may be busier than normal. Ordering your prescription early means you can save yourself some time and help to ease the pressure on the NHS.”

Ordering and collecting new prescriptions can take several days, which is why patients are being urged to plan ahead. Prescriptions can be ordered by patients visiting, or phoning their pharmacy or GP practice, with some practices offering a quick and easy online ordering system.

Seven Wiltshire practices also use the Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) service, which allows patients to order their repeat prescriptions over the phone then collect them from a pharmacy.

These are:

  • Lovemead Group Practice
  • Giffords Surgery
  • Castle Practice
  • White Horse Health Centre
  • Avenue Surgery
  • Tinkers Lane Surgery
  • New Court Surgery
Alex continued,
“The last thing we want for our patients is having their bank holiday spoilt by not being able to take regular medication. Check now that you have enough daily medication to see you through the break.  If you don’t, call into your pharmacist, local GP or ring the POD so that you get your repeat prescription in good time.”


Joy as Wiltshire charity named UK’s Best dementia Care team

A Wiltshire charity is celebrating after being told it has the best dementia care team in the UK.

The Support at Home team at Alzheimer’s Support won the Best Team category at the prestigious Dementia Care Awards 2017.

The team, which provides highly personalised, one-to-one companionship and support to people living with dementia across Wiltshire, comprises 65 support workers and eight care coordinators. They visit people in their own homes and take them on outings, building up a strong rapport with clients and helping them stay active in their communities for as long as possible.

Registered Services Manager Sally Haddrell-Jenks, who accepted the award on behalf of the team, said:
“I am absolutely thrilled to be receiving this on behalf of our wonderful colleagues who do so much to support people living with dementia in Wiltshire. The important work we do is very much ‘behind the scenes’ so it is wonderful for the team to get this recognition.”
CEO Babs Harris said:
“I am bursting with pride. Our small Wiltshire outfit stood out amongst all the large, national, and well-funded organisations and what came through was the dedication, understanding and love that our colleagues show every day in their work.”
Joanne Armstrong, from Devizes, who cares for her husband Robin said: 
 “This is so well deserved. The service from Alzheimer’s Support has been wonderful. I cannot speak highly enough of the support worker who comes to us at home. He understands our needs.”

The award was handed over by former Emmerdale actor John Middleton at a ceremony in Doncaster as part of the National Dementia Congress.

The judges’ citation said:
“Support at Home was chosen because the team is making a tangible difference every day to people in their own homes. Even though the support workers work with clients individually, there is an immense feeling of belonging and team identity. There’s been huge investment in team development and support which has been acknowledged and spread across Wiltshire.”
Ted Wilson, Community and Joint Commissioning Director said:
‘We are really proud of Alzheimer’s Support.  They have considerable engagement and commitment and allow people with dementia to take an active part in the community and participate in meaningful activities.  We highly commend the level of support they give to people, and are absolutely dedicated to ensuring that the people they support lead full and happy lives.”


Firm commitment made to support carers

Local organisations have made a firm commitment to work together to recognise, support and promote the wellbeing of carers by signing  a memorandum of understanding.

By signing the document at the recent Wiltshire Health & Wellbeing Board meeting,  the organisations have committed to abide by a number of principles. These focus on:

•       Carers’ physical health and emotional wellbeing
•        Supporting and empowering carers to manage their caring role and their life outside of caring
•        Raising carer awareness within health and social care
•        Respecting carers as expert partners in care
•        Improving information sharing and early identification of the needs of vulnerable carers.

The updated Wiltshire Carers’ Strategy, due to be published in March 2018, will detail how this will be achieved.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council and Chair of the Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board, said:
“ We are all fully committed to supporting carers in Wiltshire and we recognise the invaluable contribution that they make, as well as the positive impact that the work they do has in reducing the pressure on the health and social care system. “This is certainly not a nine to five job and is one that can really take its toll. We have made a commitment to work together to make sure they have the support they need and deserve. This memorandum of understanding underlines how collectively we aim to achieve this.”
Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Deputy Chair of the Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board added:
Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Deputy Chair of the Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board added: “We recognise how important it is to support carers in their role because without them giving their time and commitment to tend to the needs of their friends and families, the number of people who are looked after in their own homes would be fewer and the impact on the health and social service system would be overwhelming. We understand the demands placed on carers and the difficulties they may face looking after someone – we welcome this memorandum of understanding as our carers deserve to be valued and supported.”

Representatives from the following organisations have signed the memorandum of understanding:

•         Wiltshire Council
•         NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group
•         Salisbury Hospital Foundation Trust
•         Bath Royal United Hospital
•         Great Western Hospital
•         South West Ambulance Service
•         NHS Foundation Trusth
•         Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership
•         Healthwatch Wiltshire
•         Carer Support Wiltshire

Good feedback for cancer services in Wiltshire

Cancer patients in Wiltshire have rated the overall care they receive as a positive 8.8 out of 10, according to the 2016 National Cancer Patient Experience Survey published in July 2017.

Patients answered a series of questions which asked for their thoughts on the quality of care and standard of cancer services in Wiltshire. A total of 845 patients (72%) completed the survey, representing a response rate higher than the national average of 66%.

Dr Debbie Beale, a GP at White Horse Health Centre in Westbury said:
“There is much to be proud of with this feedback from our patients. Areas in which we have historically done well and continue to do so include good quality patient care, involving patients in the decision process of their care and treatment and our clinicians instilling our patients with confidence and trust. ”

Key highlights include:

  • 81% of patients said they were definitely involved as much as they wanted to be in decisions about their care and treatment
  • 89% of patients said that they were given the name of a Clinical Nurse Specialist who would support them through their treatment
  • 90% of patients said that, overall, they were always treated with dignity and respect while they were in hospital
  • 95% of patients said that hospital staff told them who to contact if they were worried about their condition or treatment after they left hospital
  • 66% of patients said that they thought the GPs and nurses at their general practice definitely did everything they could to support them while they were having cancer treatment.
Debbie continued:
“Our cancer services team work incredibly hard to ensure that people have the care and support they need before, during and after cancer treatment. These results show us that the vast majority of our cancer patients are very positive about the NHS care they are getting and we are proud to see continued improvement in patient feedback about cancer care In Wiltshire.

We are delighted with the results of the survey, and are pleased that a majority of our patients feel that they are getting the treatment they deserve; there will always be areas where we can do better, so we will continue to strive for improvements. These latest results from the national cancer patient survey are testament to the team and the GP practices who work together to ensure high-quality care and services for their cancer patients.”

Helping you make the right decision about where to go for health care in Wiltshire

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is helping local people to make the right decision about where to go for healthcare treatment with the help of an easy to use clock.

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire CCG said,
“We recognise that knowing which services to access for health advice and treatment can seem a little confusing. There are numerous ways for you to get healthcare advice and treatment and knowing what health services are available when you start to feel ill, will help you to manage your condition quicker.”

Because it’s confusing, people very often go straight to a hospital or to a GP regardless of their healthcare requirements. To help you understand the range of healthcare services available and to help you make the right decision about where to go for treatment, Wiltshire CCG has produced an easy to use “Around the clock healthcare in Wiltshire’ leaflet available to download from their website.

Around the clock healthcare in Wiltshire

NHS 111 – Free non-emergency number where trained callers will listen to your symptoms and direct you to the best medical care for you and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

NHS Choices – UK’s biggest health website for information and advice

GP out of hours – available from 6.30pm until 8am on weekdays and all day at weekends and bank holidays. Call your GP practice to access the service

Minor Injury Unit – treats minor injuries that are not life-threatening e.g. cuts, bites, stings and simple fractures

Pharmacy – experts in medicine and can give you advice on common ailments and are a potential alternative to a GP visit

GP – if you have a condition that can’t be treated with over the counter medication or advice from a pharmacist, make an appointment to see your GP

A&E – for genuine life-threatening emergencies only and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

When we are able to make the right decision on the type of treatment we need, we’re actively helping to ease the strain on a pressured NHS by taking personal responsibility for our health. This helps free up time for doctors and healthcare professionals allowing them to focus on those people who need their services the most.

The NHS in Wiltshire – The challenges, our responses

Come along for an opportunity to find out what is happening to local health services in your area from local GPs, what it means for you and how you can help

Events are taking place on:

Tuesday 25 October – 6.30pm until 8.30pm
Civic Centre, Sambourne Road, Warminster, BA12 8LB

Thursday 27 October – 6.30pm until 8.30pm
Devizes Bowl Club, Long Street, Devizes, SN10 5BY

Tuesday 1 November – 6.30pm until 8.30pm
Melksham United Church, High Street, Melksham

We look forward to seeing you there.

Salisbury Walk-in Centre

The Walk in Centre will be providing a service for patients for advice and treatment when their GP surgery is closed from 6.30pm and extended until 10 pm every weekday evening, and 8am until 8pm every weekend and bank holiday as currently. There will be an increased GP presence over the later opening times to provide more GP advice and treatment.

Dr Hugh Bond, from Wilcodoc who runs the services says
“By being open until 10pm every weekday evening and from 8am to 8pm at weekends and bank holidays, we will be supporting our local Emergency Department (ED) by giving patients access to our service when ED is at its busiest, and the GP surgeries are closed. We also expect our waiting times to reduce enabling patients to see a health care professional more quickly”.

The most common problems patients attend the Walk in Centre for are minor illnesses such as respiratory infections and sore throats, and medication queries. During working hours, advice and treatment for these conditions can be advised through NHS 111 or talking to your local pharmacist or by a patient making an appointment with their own GP practice. If a patient’s condition is serious enough to warrant an on the day appointment then individual’s practice will be able to advise on this.

Patients are advised to attend the Walk in Centre during the opening times for minor illness and minor injuries rather than attending the Emergency Department which is for emergency situations only.

The decision was taken by the GP led Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group after due consideration and debate by clinical leaders. The changes are to ensure that our finite and precious GP resources are being used in the best possible way, at times when patients’ own GP surgeries are closed and working to provide an alternative service for patients than attending the Emergency Department.

The Walk in Centre will be open from Monday to Friday 6.30pm until 10pm and then on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays, from 8am until 8pm as currently.

If people need to access services during the day time Monday to Friday then they should ring their GP in the normal way. If an urgent appointment is required then all practices will be able to accommodate. Alternatively, people can ring 111 and they will be directed to the service which is most appropriate for their needs.

First patients from west of England recruited to 100,000 Genomes Project

The West of England Genomic Medicine Centre (WEGMC) is helping the NHS build a new genomic medicine service by providing NHS patients with the opportunity  to take part in the 100,000 Genomes Project.

Last month, the WEGMC achieved the major landmark of enrolling the first patients in the West of England region.

The project, a ground-breaking initiative launched by former Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012 and the largest national genome sequencing project of its kind in the world, aims to sequence 100,000 genomes from around 70,000 people with a rare disease, and their families, and from people with cancer. The West of England region was successfully awarded the status of being a national Genomic Medicine Centre at the end of 2015.

Adrian Shipp, 39 and from Bristol, is a haematology patient at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and is one of the first people to join the 100,000 genomes project at the WEGMC.

Adrian said:
“I’ve had a haematological condition since birth and I think this important genomics research could provide some answers around it. I also hope the research could lead to improved diagnosis and treatments for people with rare conditions.”
Professor Ruth Newbury-Ecob, WEGMC rare disease clinical lead, said:
“At the moment many patients with rare conditions go through a ‘diagnostic odyssey’ of tests. Genomics has the potential to provide prompt and accurate diagnoses. As a result of this project, genomics may also provide screening and targeted treatments for common conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease in the future.”
Dr Andrew Mumford, clinical director of the WEGMC, said:
“Patients, like Adrian, are absolutely at the heart of this project. We are thrilled to see that patients in the West of England region are supporting this very important initiative that will shape the future of healthcare and personalised medicine in the NHS.”
Professor Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for NHS England, said:
“Genomics is vital to the future of healthcare and this is another great step in keeping NHS care at the cutting edge of science. The contributions of people like Adrian as well as families of people with rare disease are helping to build the future of healthcare across the country.

“We’ve been particularly impressed by the strength of the partnerships that the West of England Genomic Medicine Centre has brought together between the NHS and other key players which will help them to ensure a strong and effective service for the region.

“The UK is already a leader in genomic technologies and the unique structure of the NHS allows us to deliver these advances at scale and pace for patient benefit. This is another step towards building the knowledge and skills to improve care for generations to come.”

Clinicians from the hospitals involved will recruit potentially eligible patients. Patients choosing to be involved will then take part in a test which will then be processed in a lab at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, before being sent to a national centre for sequencing.

Some of the patients involved could benefit from a quicker conclusive diagnosis for a rare and inherited disease. Cancer patients may benefit because a treatment might be suggested based on a particular genetic change in their tumour.