Early Thursday Morning Blood Clinics

As from Thursday of next week (15th June), these early morning clinics will no longer be taking place. If you do need to have a blood test, then appointments for fasting and non-fasting tests are still available on a daily basis. These can be booked online or by calling our appointments line on 01373 301301.

Alternatively, we also offer the ‘sit and wait’ blood test service every day between 8.30 and 11.30 am. This service is also available on Monday to Thursday afternoons between 2.00 and 4.30 pm. These ‘sit and wait’ clinics are however not recommended for fasting blood tests as the waiting time cannot be guaranteed.

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Frome’s Assessment Bed Service: Future Secure-For Now

Photo of Dr Nick Ashley, Unit Lead Nurse Jane Durant, Senior Ward Nurse Anna Hale, Lead Ward GP Dr Alex Blackham and Unit Nurse Amy Mitchell

Everyone in Frome knows where the Community Hospital is in town. Many also know about the 28-bed Marshfield Ward at the hospital, which is dedicated to the rehabilitation of patients recovering from fractures and serious illnesses. Within Marshfield Ward itself however there is also the specialist Assessment Unit, which is currently about to celebrate its fourth anniversary.

Until recently, any patient requiring a medical assessment before undergoing possible secondary treatment at the RUH in Bath, inevitably had to travel and attend at Bath first in order to have that assessment carried out. Since the 2-bed Assessment Unit was set up at the Marshfield Ward, this is no longer necessarily the case.
Dr Alex Blackham is a GP and partner here at the Frome Medical Practice. She is also a key member of the Assessment Unit project.

‘The Assessment Unit has already made a huge difference to hundreds of our patients. Preliminary procedural tests can now be carried out here in Frome, rather than patients having to go through the stress and upheaval of having to travel to the RUH or elsewhere,’ says Dr Blackham. ‘Patients do not stay overnight at Frome. Most are only here for a few hours. What we are doing is to make available as much medical treatment as we can here in our own community. This is really modern GP practice at its best and we know from the feedback that we get from the regular Marshfield Ward Forum meetings that our patients are absolutely delighted to be treated in their home area and particularly for the elderly and the vulnerable, they do not have to face the worry of travelling elsewhere to a large urban centre. It also saves money.’

The Assessment Unit is available for all local patients in Mendip, including patients from the Beckington Family Practice, the Mendip Country Practice as well as here at the Frome Medical Practice.

‘The first three years of the Assessment Unit project have been a real success and has substantially benefitted patients,’ adds Dr Blackham. ‘The positive news is that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has now agreed to extend the contract until April 2018 when a further re-evaluation will then take place. The facility that patients have here in Frome really is ahead of its time. However, we must all just hope that this great service has a future that stretches beyond April next year.’

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Locks Hill Surgery: Update

We have now heard that NHS England has formally approved the closure of the Locks Hill branch surgery.
Set out below is the response to the decision from our Senior Partner Dr Helen Kingston:
‘This has been a long process but it is important that right at the outset I thank the hundreds of patients who participated in the consultation process last summer as well as the extended consultation process that took place over the new year period. The input from our Patient Participation Group (PPG) has also been invaluable.

As GPs we are always faced with difficult choices. Locks Hill was a difficult choice. Leaving aside the increasing risk element and having to cope with a reduced real income and increasing demand every year, we had to query whether the £50,000 annual cost of just keeping Locks Hill open could be better spent on providing more appointments and easier access to GPs, Nurse Practitioners and other health professionals.

We must now look to the future. However, we do so having taken on board the comments and views from our local councillors, the Trustees of Fair Frome, our own patients and of course NHS England. We are very grateful for all their input.

This practice has always been vociferous supporters of public transport and particularly the ability of public transport to deliver patients to such an amenity as the local Community Hospital and the Frome Health Centre. We were therefore all delighted when on the 3rd January Frome Minibuses Limited extended their No 30 service to stop by the entrance to the Health Park at Rodden Road. This service runs every 30 minutes and of includes stops at Keyford, The Mount, Locks Hill itself as well as in the middle of town.
Additionally, we have been working closely with Frome Town Council and at the end of last year we were pleased to contribute the sum of £5000 towards the excellent volunteer car club initiative-Frome Community Cars. As a medical practice embedded in the community, we shall of course continue to listen to the ideas of those around us and with whom we live and work. Together with the extended bus service, we would certainly hope that this project at least goes some way towards helping those patients without private transport and who used to frequent the Locks Hill Surgery.

We shall also continue to work closely with our PPG. We take on board the comment from NHS England that notwithstanding our very active PPG, there are nevertheless patients outside the PPG who do not feel so well informed or engaged. At our next meeting with the PPG we shall start developing new ways in which the practice can get across our message more extensively to the wider practice population.
Following our recent ‘Outstanding’ CQC Award, all of our patients can be re-assured that everyone here at the practice will continue to strive towards building a primary care medical service that really is second to none.’

Dr Helen Kingston
Senior Partner Frome Medical Practice
Tuesday 28th March 2017

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