All posts by Neil Phillips

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Trailblazer mental health care scheme to benefit children in Buckinghamshire

Around 16,000 children and young people in Buckinghamshire are set to benefit from a new ‘Trailblazer’ scheme to transform children’s mental health care and ensure those in need get the right support at the right time.

The county is one of 25 areas across the country so far to receive Government funding for this new initiative, equating to £2 million over a two-year period.

NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group is working alongside Buckinghamshire County Council and Buckinghamshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) run by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust in the county, to create two dedicated ‘Mental Health Support Teams’. These will work closely with 40 schools (both primary and secondary) and colleges, making support available to around 16,000 pupils. Schools from across the county were invited to apply to take part in the scheme last year.

These Mental Health Support Teams will be made up of a range of health and care professionals who can respond to mental health concerns pupils may experience. They will build on support already in place from Buckinghamshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, school counsellors, nurses, educational psychologists and the voluntary sector, to offer timely assessments and interventions for pupils in need, treating those with mild to moderate mental health issues in school. If pupils have more severe need, the teams can link smoothly to specialist NHS services at Buckinghamshire CAMHS and ensure they get the right support and treatment as quickly as possible.

Schools or colleges taking part will have their own senior mental health lead among their staff. These will work closely with the Mental Health Support Teams, alerting them to health concerns or symptoms among pupils, and helping to ensure a ‘whole school’ approach to mental health. Training for these mental health lead roles will be funded and led by NHS England and the Department for Education and is planned to begin in early to mid-2019. Eventually all schools across the county will be able to access this training, not just those taking part in this initiative. The scheme will also fund more child psychologists for Buckinghamshire, helping to ensure young people with more severe need receive treatment as quickly as possible.

The Trailblazer scheme is intended to be rolled out and fully operational in Buckinghamshire over 2019/20. It is hoped the plan will be developed further in the future, allowing more schools in the county to become involved.

Vivek Khosla, Clinical Director at Buckinghamshire Mental Health Services, run by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is great news for children and young people, teachers and parents who will now be able to get advice and help at an earlier stage. We know that the earlier mental health problems are identified the better the health outcomes for children and young people. Timely, early care is something we’ve all been working towards to address the important and growing area of mental healthcare need.”

Dr Sian Roberts, Mental Health and Learning Disability Clinical Director for NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Children and young people face enormous pressure in their lives nowadays, and the more we can do to support their mental and emotional wellbeing at the earliest possible stage, the more we can do to help them stay healthy and well throughout their lives.

“This new initiative is very exciting, and will make a huge difference to the lives of young people across Buckinghamshire. By strengthening the links between schools and mental health services we can ensure children, parents and teachers know how and when to access vital support at the right time for young people with mental health concerns.”

One in nine young people aged five to 15 had a mental health condition in 2017 and teenagers with a mental health disorder are more than two and a half times more likely to have a mental health disorder in adulthood. The Trailblazer scheme forms part of the Government’s plans to transform children and young people’s mental health through the NHS Long-Term Plan.

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Ask NHS app goes live in Buckinghamshire

The new app, Ask NHS, has now launched in our area. It is free to download on any mobile device and provides patients with a symptom checker, self-care advice and access to book the most appropriate GP appointment.

Using the app can help patients take more control of their health.  A virtual healthcare assistant, Olivia, asks a series of questions to assess a patient’s symptoms in a clinically safe way. Olivia will then recommend the most appropriate care for them.  This might be self-care advice via www.nhs.uk, a GP appointment, GP call back or direct them to urgent or emergency care.

For patients who need to see a GP, the app can prioritise patients into the most appropriate appointment slots based on their needs. Patients can directly book an urgent or routine appointment without having to call the practice.

The first practice to go-live with the app is the Swan Practice in Buckingham.  Fiona Walker, practice operations manager, is a great fan.  “We recognise our major challenge is handling the increase in demand.  Ask NHS does a great evaluation of the patient’s needs; do they need to see a doctor?  If they do, then they’ll be offered an appointment but, if they don’t, they’ll be directed elsewhere.”

Since mid-December the practice has had over 480 patients download and register on the app and over 20 patients have booked appointments.  “The GPs like Ask NHS as they’ve already got a detailed history of the patient they’re seeing from the app’s triage process.  They know that the patient is with them because they really needed an appointment.”

More practices will be live with Ask NHS over the coming weeks and months, providing Buckinghamshire residents with easy to access, secure and confidential healthcare support.

The Ask NHS app is available on both iOS and Android phones and smart devices. It’s free to download from the App Store (Apple devices) or Google Play (Android devices). Patients will receive an invitation from their practice to download the App once the practice is live with Ask NHS.

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Macmillan information and support service to visit Bucks in February

The Macmillan Cancer Support charity’s mobile information and support service will be visiting Buckinghamshire in early February – in their big green bus nicknamed ‘Bertie’.

The service is open to everyone. Whether you have a cancer diagnosis, have a friend or relative affected by cancer, or are worried about cancer in any way at all, there are lots of ways that Macmillan can support you – medically, financially, emotionally and practically.

The bus will be crewed by a dedicated team of highly qualified Macmillan professionals, who travel across the area in Bertie – one of the charity’s fleet of six buses.

Bertie will be in High Wycombe’s High Street on 6 Feb, Aylesbury’s Market Square on 7 Feb and Aylesbury’s Tesco Superstore on the Tring Road on 8 Feb. It will be available from 10am to 4pm on each of these days.

The mobile team can help people with:

  • Screening and what to look out for –  for example, signs and symptoms
  • Different cancers, their treatments and side effects
  • How cancer affects your life – for example: finances or employment
  • Talking about your cancer, or talking to someone with cancer
  • Being there for someone with cancer, or the support available locally
  • Survivorship and recurrence of cancer

For more information on the service, please click here.

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Dignity in Care Awards 2019 – nominate an unsung hero

If you could publicly thank someone for the support they provided to you or a loved one who would that be…?

Buckinghamshire County Council is launching its 6th annual Dignity In Care Awards, searching for the best of the best in the county to say a great big thank you.

With thousands of people being cared for in Bucks by family, friends or professional health and wellbeing teams, there are sometimes those who go above and beyond.

Your task is simply to nominate and tell us what makes them special:

Nominate here

There are 8 different categories with an overall winner chosen from all entries:

  • Putting People First
  • Innovation Award
  • Learning
  • Community Engagement
  • Collaboration
  • Fulfilling Lives
  • Best Team
  • Most Improved Service

Last year’s award winners and shortlisted nominees produced some emotional moments which you can watch and read more about here – these really showcase the many ways in which these carer heroes provide the very highest level of dignity and respect to those most in need.

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Find out what’s happening in your community with the Buckinghamshire Online Directory

An online searchable map of community organisations and activities in Buckinghamshire is now live.

Called Buckinghamshire Online Directory (BOD), this brand new search engine contains nearly 2,000 things to do in communities across Buckinghamshire.

It shows a map with coloured markers representing different social and physical activities, support groups, and learning and cultural opportunities.

You can click on the coloured markers to see what’s going on nearby. If you’re looking for something specific, there are options to search by postcode, type of activity or support, day of the week, and key words such as lunches or music.

There is also a button at the bottom of the page to suggest groups or activities that are missing.

Click here to find out what’s going on in your community.

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Chiltern House Medical Centre – the next steps

Over the last few months, NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group has been asking for the views of patients, public and the staff at Chiltern House Medical Centre about the future of this practice of 7,000 patients based in High Wycombe.

The survey was available online, with paper copies sent to patients over 65. Further copies were available at the practice and local pharmacies. Meetings were held with the Patient Participation Group and staff at the practice, as well as with other practices in the area that cover High Wycombe and Holmer Green.

1,124 members of the public took part in a survey. As a result of the feedback from this and other engagement, the CCG has agreed that Option 3 – reprocurement – is taken forward. This means another service provider will be found to run the practice.

Nicola Lester, Director of Transformation at Bucks CCG said: “The majority of people who took part in the survey, and those we spoke to at meetings, said that they preferred the option of keeping the practice open by finding another service provider rather than dispersing the list (Option 3).

“This option means that we will now look for a suitable provider who can provide high quality care for the patients registered at Chiltern House Medical Centre.

“This option will require us to carry out further engagement with patients, staff and stakeholders to see what services they need Chiltern House Medical Centre to provide.

“We are aware that, since July 2018, patients at the practice have undergone a period of uncertainty and change and we would like to thank everyone involved for their patience and cooperation.

“We will continue to work with Chiltern House Medical Centre to ensure that services continue as normal while we carry out these next steps.”

The new provider of services is expected to be in place by late summer 2019. In the meantime, we will be publishing regular updates on our website and www.letstalkhealthbucks.nhs.uk

A report containing our recommendation that went to the CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning meeting on Thursday (6/12) can be viewed there. The results of the survey are also contained within the report.

Please click here to view  the Chiltern House Medical Centre Options Appraisal for further information.

You can view more detailed feedback and results from the survey by clicking here.

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‘Good’ CQC rating for Mandeville Practice – and now all Bucks GP practices

The Mandeville Practice in Aylesbury has been awarded a ‘good’ rating from the Care Quality Commission after an inspection in October, which described the scale of improvements it has made in such a short space of time as ‘outstanding’.

This means that now every GP practice in Buckinghamshire has been rated as ‘good’ or above by the CQC.

This latest report follows an inadequate rating at the Mandeville Practice’s last inspection in January, and represents a remarkable turnaround by the practice team. Among the points of praise were the ongoing strategy of the practice and the way services were being tailored to meet patients’ needs.

The practice was rated ‘good’ across each of five categories. This means all services are now considered safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

The report noted the practice has been through a “challenging three years”, with changes in service provider and personnel. Primary Care Management Solutions Limited (PCMS) took over the contract for GP services at the practice in April 2018 and has been working hard to transform services ever since.

The CQC described the new leadership team’s drive for improvements and the commitment of the wider practice team as an area of “outstanding practice”.

A statement from the practice said: “PCMS and the team at Mandeville are incredibly proud of what has been achieved in such a short period of time. We look forward to continuing the good work and making further improvements at the practice whilst continuing to improve the health outcomes for our patients. We are also extremely grateful for the support we have received from NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group and seek to continue our excellent working relationship in the future.”  

Dr Raj Bajwa, Clinical Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The team at the Mandeville Practice has worked incredibly hard over the last six months to attain this ‘good’ rating. This is an amazing achievement in a very short period of time and illustrates their determination to provide safe, high quality care for their patients.

“It is also fantastic news that every GP practice in Buckinghamshire now has a CQC rating of ‘good’ or above. It is great testament to the hard work of our GPs and practice staff who are so committed to delivering the best possible health outcomes for patients.”

The full CQC report can be read by clicking here.

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Do you live in south Buckinghamshire? We need your views on the GP out-of-hours service

The out-of-hours service for patients in south Buckinghamshire is changing and we need your views on where you would prefer to go to for these appointments.

An out-of-hours service offers access to a general practitioner from 6.30pm to 8am Monday to Friday, throughout the weekend and on bank holidays.

These appointments are for people who need to see a doctor urgently. They are not for routine appointments. These could be via a telephone call or a face-to-face appointment, usually at the out-of-hours base or, in certain circumstances, at your own home. The service is accessed by calling NHS 111.

Dr Rebecca Mallard-Smith, Clinical Director of Community Urgent Care, said: “We want to provide a local service for our local communities and are working with patients and practices in the area to make sure that the out-of-hours service we provide can meet their needs.

“We would like to know views on the current out-of-hours service and also where people in south Buckinghamshire would prefer the out-of-hours GP appointment to be held.

“Members of the patient participation groups from the practices in the area have been involved in helping to shape our proposed options. We have tried to provide patients with a solution that is easy to find and where parking is available.”

Currently the GP out-of-hours service runs from 6.30pm until 8am on weekdays and from 6.30pm on Friday evening until 8am on Monday morning. People who need an urgent appointment with a GP, after phoning 111, can go to Royal Berkshire Bracknell Clinic in Bracknell or the Herschel Medical Centre in Slough.

We are proposing that from 1 March 2019 patients who phone 111 and need to see a doctor out-of-hours will be able to book an appointment at a local base in south Buckinghamshire, as well as Amersham, from:

  • 6.30pm until 10pm Monday to Friday
  • 9am until 10pm Saturday
  • 9am until 7pm Sunday

On the very rare occasion when patients urgently need to see a GP overnight (from 10pm until 8am on weekdays; from 10pm until 9am on Saturdays; and from 7pm on Sundays until 8am on Mondays), they can book an appointment by phoning NHS 111 and will need to travel to Amersham or Wycombe.

To help us shape the future of your local out-of-hours service a short survey is available here.

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Would you like to get involved in planning healthcare in Buckinghamshire?

NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is asking for local people to submit their views on the CCG’s current operational plan and help shape future healthcare services in the county.

The plan is available to view here and views can be submitted online at www.letstalkhealthbucks.nhs.uk

Please submit any comments or suggestions by 2 December 2018.

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Primary care networks

Since the NHS was created in 1948, the population has grown and people are living longer. Many people are living with long term conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, or suffer with mental health issues and may need to access their local health services more often.

To meet these needs, practices have begun working together and with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas in primary care networks.

Primary care networks build on the core of current primary care services and enable greater provision of proactive, personalised, coordinated and more integrated health and social care. Clinicians describe this as a change from reactively providing appointments to proactively care for the people and communities they serve. Where emerging primary care networks are in place in parts of the country, there are clear benefits for patients and clinicians.

Watch a short animation that explains the concept of primary care networks (PCNs) and how this new way of working enables health and other services to work together to provide better access for patients.

For more information on primary care networks, please click here.

 

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Online counselling now available for children and young people in Buckinghamshire

Kooth is a new online counselling service supporting young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health. The online service can help young people avoid the stigma sometimes associated with seeking help.

Oxford Health NHS FT, lead mental health provider in Buckinghamshire, Buckinghamshire County Council and Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group have commissioned XenZone, provider of online counselling services, to give children and young people access to professional mental health counsellors through its online Kooth service.

Eleanor Rowsell, clinical lead for children and adolescent mental health psychological services in Buckinghamshire at Oxford Health NHS FT, said: “We are excited to be able to offer this service to young people in Buckinghamshire. Initially it can be difficult to reach out to our services and Kooth is a great way to get support if they don’t feel ready contact us directly.”

Young people aged 11 to 19 register anonymously on the site, which gives them access to drop-in or booked online chats with British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy certified counsellors, psychotherapists and emotional wellbeing practitioners.

Young people are encouraged to identify goals and monitor progress with their counsellor, charting movement as progress is achieved. The Kooth site is accessible at any time, via any connected device, helping to eliminate the stigma often associated with asking for help.

Dr Sian Roberts, mental health and learning disability clinical director for Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We would encourage any young person who may be struggling with their emotional wellbeing or who has any mental health concerns to visit the Kooth website. There is lots of advice available, not to mention the opportunity to have an online conversation with a highly trained counsellor.”

Warren Whyte, cabinet member for children’s service for Buckinghamshire County Council, said: “We all know that the emotional health and well-being of our young people is a growing concern and Kooth offers a great way to support those in need. It is very easy to access, confidential and free of charge, and offers help across a range of areas.”

The Kooth site is accessible at any time, via any connected device, helping to eliminate the stigma often associated with asking for help. The online counselling team is available on Kooth between mid-day and 10pm on week days and from 6pm until 10pm at weekends.

They have access to moderated peer to peer support, forums, self-help materials, discussion groups and a mood journal, where they can record their thoughts and feelings. They are encouraged to identify goals and monitor progress with their counsellor, charting movement as progress is achieved. They can also read and contribute to the Kooth online magazine.

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If you are a patient at Chiltern House Medical Centre we need your views

If you are a patient registered at Chiltern House Medical Centre, High Wycombe, then we would like to hear your views on the future of the practice.

NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working with patients, the staff at the practice and NHS England to develop plans for Chiltern House Medical Centre.

Anyone registered at the practice can complete a survey here https://www.letstalkhealthbucks.nhs.uk/consult.ti/CMHC/consultationHome

 Nicola Lester, Director of Transformation at the CCG, said: “We are keen to work with the patients at Chiltern House Medical Centre and use this opportunity to find out what patients would value and what the services could look like in the future.

 “We are hoping that as a result of feedback we receive, we will be able to really shape services to suit the needs of patients who use the practice.”

In July of this year, the GP partnership which held the contract to provide primary care medical services at Chiltern House Medical Centre ended. An interim contract was then awarded to Primary Care Management Solutions, to maintain services for registered patients at the practice for up to 12 months. We would reassure patients that this period will allow time for full and thorough planning process to take place before any future changes may be made.

For more information about Chiltern House Medical Centre and to complete the survey, please visit www.letstalkhealthbucks.nhs.uk

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Improved Access to GP Appointments – weekdays from 8am-8pm

A new and improved service to access GP appointments launched in Buckinghamshire on 1 October and is available to all patients registered with a Bucks GP. This service involves local GP practices working together to offer patients better access to appointments. It means that you can now book an appointment in a practice local to you:

  • Up until 8pm from Monday to Friday
  • Selected hours on a Saturday
  • 9am until 1pm on Sunday and Bank Holidays (at one of the three Improved Access Hubs located across the county)

Dr Rebecca Mallard-Smith, Clinical Director of Community Urgent Care, said: “This new service is an example of how we can all work together to improve care for our patients. For us to launch this new service, all GP practices have been working closely together to ensure that appointments are available between 8am and 8pm including other local surgeries to your normal surgery.

“This should mean that patients also have greater flexibility for routine, bookable appointments. Patients can receive the care they need, closer to home, at an agreed time preventing the need to use our urgent care facilities for GP care.

“It is however not a walk-in service and if you need urgent medical advice after 6.30pm or at a weekend please phone NHS 111 in the first instance who will be able to advise you and book an appointment  if necessary.”

Practices will be offering this ‘improved access’ service up until 8pm from Monday to Friday, and on selected hours on a Saturday (your registered practice can confirm which practices are open).

On Sundays and Bank Holiday weekends, additional appointments will be available from 9am until 1pm. These appointments can be booked through the practice you are registered with, and are being offered from three Improved Access Hubs located at:

High Wycombe Hospital: (located at the MIIU) Queen Alexander Road, High Wycombe, HP11 2TT

Stoke Mandeville Hospital: Corridor 5, Gate 2, Mandeville Road, Stoke Mandeville, HP21 8AL

Threeways Surgery: Pennylets Green, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, SL2 4AZ

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Statement on Primary Care Hub proposal for Wycombe

Following reports about proposals for a Primary Care Hub for the Wycombe area, Dr Raj Bajwa, Clinical Chair of Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group has issued this statement:

“We would like to reassure residents there are no plans to close any GP practices in Wycombe.

“Currently, we are working with a GP Practice that wishes to move onto the Wycombe site; this offers opportunities for Clinicians across the Minor Injury and Illness Unit, Hospital services and the GP practice to work even closer together for the benefit of our local population. We refer to this type of co-location of services as a ‘hub’.

“Clearly, once any decision is made, the practice would liaise with patients accordingly to keep them informed of any developments.

“Across the CCG we have high quality GP services delivered from small, medium and large practices; we see the benefits of supporting all such styles and sizes because it enables patients to choose their preferred service.”

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New animation explains the need for integrated care

Our health and care needs are changing, with more people living longer often with multiple long term conditions. This new animation, launched by NHS England, explains the challenges facing the health and care system and how partnerships are being formed between the NHS, local government and the third sector to integrate care and better meet our health and care needs now and in the future.

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Proposed new building for Berryfields Medical Centre and Meadowcroft Surgery

Plans for construction of a single new building to house both Berryfields Medical Centre and Meadowcroft Surgery are being proposed as part of a vision to improve access and offer more GP services for patients in north-west Aylesbury. This planned new building would hopefully be completed in two to three years, to help meet growing healthcare needs in the area.

The Berryfields Medical Centre has operated in temporary accommodation in Buckingham Park ever since it was founded, more than a decade ago. It was always planned for the practice to eventually move to the area of the Berryfields development. The Meadowcroft Surgery building in Jackson Road was built in 1991 and is now approximately half the size needed for the number of patients it serves. The site cannot be redeveloped while practice services keep running, and there is not enough space to extend it.

The proposal is for a new building in Berryfields. This would be at the roundabout intersection between Martin Dalby Way and Paradise Orchard. The site would have adequate car parking and would be accessible by bus and cycle routes. This site is 0.8 miles from the current Meadowcroft Surgery building and 1.5 miles from the existing Berryfields Medical Centre.

This proposed new building would house both practices; the two teams would work closely together but remain separate. They aim to provide a resilient, imaginative and efficient service, with increased facilities for patients. Existing patients would continue under the care of their current GP and practice teams.

The practices, and Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), are inviting patients to help with the planning ahead. They want to identify future service needs for the population and to explore ideas for a new building. Both surgeries will be scheduling public involvement events in the coming weeks, with dates to be confirmed shortly.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Clinical Chair of Buckinghamshire CCG, said“The building of permanent premises for Berryfields Medical Centre is a priority for the practice and for NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group. We recognise the future housing growth in the area requires a fit-for-purpose primary care facility to serve all the neighbouring communities.

“The CCG is supporting the collaboration of Berryfields and Meadowcroft practices in furthering their joint venture to design new premises, which, in addition to general practice services, would be able to offer space for other community services. This would contribute to meeting national and CCG strategy for offering increased out-of-hospital services and care closer to home.” 

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Closure of Dragon Cottage Surgery, Holmer Green

From 7th September, the surgery at Dragon Cottage in Holmer Green will be permanently closing.

If you attend this practice you do not need to do anything.

You will stay registered with Chiltern House Medical Centre and will be able to access all your usual GP services at Temple End, High Wycombe near Morrisons.

This unexpected closure has been out of our control and we have only recently been told that the lease is not being renewed.

In coming months, we will be seeking your views so that we can fully understand the health needs in the area and how best to address them.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 328 5640 or by emailing scwcsu.palscomplaints@nhs.net

To view Frequently Asked Questions on this matter, please click here.

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Pharmacy opening times – August Bank Holiday Monday (27 Aug)

Please see below for details of which pharmacies will be open, and their operating hours, across the NHS Buckinghamshire CCG area on the August Bank Holiday Monday (27 August).

Where possible, please also plan ahead to make sure you get any repeat prescriptions ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend.

Please note – pharmacy opening hours on Bank Holidays are voluntary and are, therefore, subject to change.

Patients are advised to check if pharmacies are open by telephone before making a journey.

Local pharmacy details can be found on the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk under ‘More Services’.

And remember, you can also check our Health Help Now web service for more information on pharmacies near you, and other health services available in Buckinghamshire.

If you are still not sure what health service option to use, and it is not an emergency, call NHS 111 for advice.

 

 

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Changes to the way you order repeat medication

Many of our residents have a ‘repeat prescription’ meaning that they can regularly receive certain medication without having to see their doctor each time. Some people order these repeat prescriptions themselves, while others choose to use a pharmacy or dispensing company to order medicines on their behalf.

Depending on how you request your medicines, the way that it works for you may change from 1 August 2018.

You can find further information in our patient letter and leaflet below.

Changes to Ordering Repeat Medication _Patient Letter

Changes to Ordering Repeat Medication _Information Leaflet