Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Health Matters; Extended Access; Breast Screening; Mental Health Week; NHS Changes

Five Issues in tonight’s DriveTime 
  •          GP Extended Access
  •          Breast Screening Problems
  •          Mental Health Week
  •          NHS changes next year
  •          NHS at 70

1. GP Extended Access
Let’s clarify – GP “Extended Hours” refers to early and late opening as well as some Saturdays; this has been generally available for some time. But now there’s also Extended Access as well. This program is being run by our local GPs who have formed a “Federation” to provide the service

If you’re registered at a local practice, you could be offered pre-bookable appointments outside the Surgery’s normal hours – either in the evenings or at weekends – at any practice that is acting as a HUB for local patients from other surgeries. NB the plan is to introduce early mornings soon. The current timings are shown below:

18.30 – 20.00
09.00 – 13.00 & 15.00 – 19.00
09.00 – 13.00

They are 15 minute appointments and your GP will be able to access your full medical record. They are intended for most appointments apart from repeat prescriptions or fit (formerly known as sick) notes.

You can book into these appointments through reception at your practice; there is supposed to be a mobile number (I couldn’t find it!) and soon 111 or an Out-Of-Hours organisation will be able to make bookings. Our choice of evening and weekend appointments should be on an equal footing to normal hours appointments. For further information check your Practice web site; for example, for Maltings Patients go to

To see the general standards for this service go to

2. Breast Screening Problems
Were you one of the roughly 800 people locally who missed an appointment? Due to a technical issue women between 68 and 71 may not have received their final invitation. If you’re not sure, check here – and remember, if you’re over 71 and still want a check you can get one. See

3. Mental Health Week
Did you know this week is Mental Health Week? One of the issues they’re focusing on for this week is stress at work.  The three typical causes of stress at work are:-
  •         Having problems with your workload;
  •         A poor work-life balance; and
  •         A lack of support.

There are lots of suggestions here

And, to find out just how stressed you are take this simple test – I did it, and I scored 6 out of 40; but you’ll have to go to the web site to see what that means!

4. NHS Changes Next Year
The plan is for some big changes in the way in which the NHS operates locally; at the moment we come under the West Herts area but from APR next year we’ll be working closer with two other areas – the remainder of Hertfordshire and West Essex.  But the biggest change will be in the way in which they work – more openly and collaboratively with a much tighter integration of health and social care. That’s the plan, anyway; as ever the devil is in the detail and one of the biggest problems is that there is no legal basis for this way of working. The way in which the NHS operates is defined by the Health & Social Care Act 2012, and the changes in the new integrated care partnership aren’t covered by Law. With BREXIT going on there’s no time for legislation so it could be very problematical. For all the details go to the St Albans & Harpenden Patient Group meeting at the Civic Centre on THU May 24. For details go to http://www.sapg.org.uk/home-page

5. NHS at 70To celebrate the NHS, turns 70 on July 5th the NHS is organising tea parties; there’s one planned for Harpenden on the day. Full details next month

As for my NHS 1,000 mile challenge. I should be on 370 miles today, but I’m still a bit short!

So, this is a great time to support your NHS!

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