All posts by Neil Phillips

Prescribing preparations available to buy over the counter

NHS Buckinghamshire CCG is committed to providing best value by using our resources well. To support the cost effective and evidence based use of medicines, we no longer support the routine prescribing of health supplements and medications that can be bought over the counter.

Why are we doing this?

  • We want to help people live longer, healthier lives and support them to take better care of their health
  • By managing minor health needs through self-care, it will help to ease the pressure on the NHS. Self-care is about avoiding becoming ill and seeking help when needed
  • Buckinghamshire has a set amount of money to pay for the health services that are needed and must spend that money wisely

What treatments and preparations are included?

  • Pharmacy Only (P) and General Sales Lists (GSL) treatments that can be purchased over the counter from a pharmacy with or without advice
  • GSL treatments that can be purchased from other retail outlets such as supermarkets, petrol stations, convenience and discount stores
  • Treatments used to treat a condition that is self-limiting. It does not need treatment as it will heal/resolve by itself
  • Treatments used to treat a condition which lends itself to self-care, i.e. that the person will not normally need to seek medical care and/or treatment

Examples of treatments available OTC which will no longer be routinely prescribed on the NHS in Buckinghamshire: (This list is not exhaustive).

Our list:

  • Acne treatment
  • Analgesic/pain relief treatment (short term pain, fever, headache, muscle/joint injury, infrequent migraine)
  • Anti-fungal treatment (athlete’s foot, oral and vaginal thrush, ring worm, dandruff)
  • Antiperspirant treatment (excessive sweating)
  • Antiseptic creams and treatment for minor burns and scalds
  • Camouflage creams
  • Cold sore treatment
  • Colic treatment
  • Constipation treatment
  • Cough, cold and sore throat treatment
  • Cradle cap treatment
  • Diarrhoea treatment
  • Ear wax remover
  • Emollients and bath oils for mild dry skin
  • Eye treatments/lubricating products (Conjunctivitis/ dry eyes)
  • Fluoride containing products for prevention of dental caries
  • Haemorrhoid (piles) treatment
  • Hayfever treatment
  • Head lice treatment
  • Herbal and complementary treatments
  • Homeopathic preparations
  • Indigestion and heartburn (dyspepsia) treatment
  • Mild cystitis treatment
  • Mouth ulcer treatment and treatment for teething
  • Nappy rash treatment
  • Probiotics
  • Scabies treatment
  • Sunburn treatment
  • Suncream
  • Threadworm treatment
  • Topical steroid treatment (insect bites/stings, contact dermatitis, nappy rash)
  • Travel sickness treatment
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Wart and verruca treatment

What general exclusions apply?

  • Medicines that can only be obtained with an NHS prescription
  • Where an OTC medicine is outside of its marketing authorisation, also known as “off-label use” or “unlicensed use”. For example when it is not licensed for use during pregnancy or where age or existing medical condition restrictions apply
  • Where an OTC medicine is being prescribed for a long-term (chronic) condition e.g. regular analgesia in osteoarthritis
  • Frail or housebound patients
  • Where there are possible safeguarding concerns including, but not limited to, children, where there might be concerns that treatment might not be provided.

To help you look after yourself

  • Managing short term illnesses and minor conditions,
  • When to seek medical advice
  • What to take if you take other medications.
  • You do not need to make an appointment to see the pharmacist, and many pharmacies are open late and at the weekend
  • If your problem is more serious and needs the attention of another healthcare professional such as their GP, the pharmacist will advise you

Guidance for prescribers

General Medical Council (May 2013) guidance ‘Good practice in prescribing and managing medicines and devices’ states the following:

  • “‘Prescribing’ is used to describe many related activities, including supply of prescription only medicines, prescribing medicines, devices and dressings on the NHS and advising patients on the purchase of over the counter medicines and other remedies”
  • Clinical judgment should be used when considering whether it is acceptable or appropriate to ask patients to purchase their medication
  • The Self Care Forum has produced numerous resources that can be used by healthcare professionals to help support people to self-care

Take control of your healthcare – join a Patient Participation Group


Working hand in hand with their local GP practice, Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) support and advise their local doctor’s surgery on patients’ needs.

GP surgeries across Buckinghamshire rely on the support PPGs offer by giving a voice for all and helping the surgery keep an ear to the ground. Groups are made up of patients from the surgery itself – no other qualifications are needed. The theme of this year’s national campaign to promote PPGs is ‘Celebrating General Practice’.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Clinical Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “PPGs are an important way that people of Buckinghamshire can work with their GP practices to provide insights about the quality of service they receive and how practices could improve.

“They can support practices to communicate better with their patient population.

“They also have the potential to empower patients to take greater control and responsibility for their own health and that of their family.”

Working in partnership with GPs and practice teams, PPGs ensure the patient perspective is at the heart of local provision so that services are of high quality and continuously improve. Groups also provide practical support in the surgery, foster improved communication between the practice and its patients and help patients to take more responsibility for their health.

Patient Participation Week* runs from 10 – 15 June and aims to highlight the importance of patient participation in achieving excellence in care for everyone.

If you are interested in becoming part of a PPG then please contact your local doctor’s surgery for more information.

*Patient Participation Week is organised by the National Association for Patient Participation, (N.A.P.P) a national charity, formed in 1978. For more information, click here.

NHS Buckinghamshire CCG presents inaugural annual report

NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group is pleased to present its inaugural annual report.

The CCG was created in April 2018, from the merger between NHS Aylesbury Vale and NHS Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Groups.

The annual report summarises the CCG’s achievements over the last 12 months and explains how its budgets have been spent. It also outlines future plans and the way the CCG is working with partner organisations to deliver its vision of everyone working together so that the people of Buckinghamshire have happy and healthier lives.

Please click here to view the 2018 report.

You can view the previous annual reports published by Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern CCGs by clicking here.

Enter the Healthwatch Bucks Kindness in Care competition


There are thousands of people working in our local health and social care services who go that extra mile every day – and Healthwatch Bucks is asking members of the public to help recognise their great work.

Healthwatch Bucks, an organisation dedicated to ensuring health and social care services put the experiences of people at the heart of their work, want to listen to what you have to say about the great care that you receive.

You might have a really wonderful social worker. You might have a nurse who has been kind and compassionate when you needed it most; perhaps a GP has seen you through difficult times; your carer may mean the world to you or a receptionist might have been really helpful. This is your opportunity to say, ‘thank you’.

Simply click here to enter the competition.

By telling Healthwatch about the person who made a big difference to you – what they did and why it meant so much – you could win a £25 Amazon Voucher for yourself and one for them.

Winners will be invited along with their nominee to attend the prize giving ceremony at our annual report launch on the 23 July. If you can’t attend, prizes will be sent to you instead.

Five winning entries will be chosen – those that Healthwatch feel show most clearly that ‘small acts of kindness make a big difference’.

You can enter the competition until 11 June.

Queen’s Nurse titles for two Buckinghamshire nurses

Two nurses from Buckinghamshire have been awarded the prestigious title of ‘Queen’s Nurse’ for their dedicated work in healthcare.

This award is given to individual nurses who have demonstrated a high level of commitment to patient care and nursing practice.

Christine Croft from Riverside Surgery in High Wycombe and Julia Coates from Unity Health in Princes Risborough have both received the award.

Lou Patten, Chief Officer of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “On behalf of the CCG and the practices in Buckinghamshire I am delighted for both Christine and Julia. This award is given to nurses who provide exceptional care, and are committed and passionate about nursing.”

“In Buckinghamshire our aim is to provide the highest level of care to our communities and these awards recognise the dedication and hard work that is happening to help us to achieve this.”

Christine Croft, Queen’s Nurse at Riverside Surgery, said: “It is a privilege and honour to receive this title in recognition of the work I have undertaken to improve standards of patient care within the community over the last 19 years. I have worked in the Wycombe Locality and more widely across Bucks. I will also value the opportunity to meet with, and share best practice with, the wider national Queens Nurse Network, seeking to continue to improve standards of care and outcomes for all our patient populations.”

Julia Coates, Queen’s Nurse at Unity Health, said: “I am overjoyed and very proud. It is the most wonderful feeling to look back at your own career and see all that has been achieved.”

For more information about Queen’s Nurses, please visit the Queen’s Nursing Institute website.

GP Return campaign

A campaign has been launched by NHS England and Health Education England to raise awareness of the support available for GPs who may wish to return to general practice after time away.

Whatever the reason for the break – whether to raise a family, work abroad or in a different profession – the GP Induction and Refresher scheme can provide a route for qualified GPs to join or return to the profession.

The I&R scheme, which launched in 2016, is tailored to meet the needs, experience and personal commitments of individuals to make the move simpler for them. This can include financial and practical support and access to a dedicated account manager.

Available support, depending on which route of the scheme an eligible GP may take, includes:

  • A placement bursary of up to £3,500 a month
  • Help towards indemnity costs and other fees
  • A dedicated account manager
  • A tailored programme to meet learning needs, experiences and personal commitments
  • Access to training and development support
  • No fees for I&R assessments or the Portfolio Route
  • Up to four fully funded attempts at the I&R assessments
  • Relocation support for GPs relocating from overseas up to £18,500
  • Help with visa costs and sponsorship for non-EEA clinicians
  • Options to complete most parts of the scheme before moving back to England, if you are living overseas.

UK-qualified GPs who have been working overseas as a GP for less than 10 years may be eligible for the Portfolio Route, with the option of no assessments and a one-month refresher placement on their return.

Click here for more information.

Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week – Buckinghamshire man’s healthier lifestyle success

A year ago Buckinghamshire man Harry Matharu was at serious risk of developing Type 2 diabetes – his weight had teetered into the ‘obese’ category and his blood sugar levels were worryingly high.

Harry’s GP referred him to the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP), where he has lost 3 stone 8lbs, dropped three clothes sizes and feels fitter and healthier than he has for years.

So much so, that he recently found himself addressing a conference of GPs to tell them the secrets of his success. And now, during Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week (1-7 April), he wants to encourage others to make the lifestyle changes that will help prevent conditions like Type 2 diabetes.

Pictured: Harry Matharu, before and after taking part in the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme

Harry, 57, from High Wycombe, visited his GP surgery last year for a general check-up. What his GP found was alarming – particularly his diagnosis of being at very high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future. Harry said: “I was told that unless I change my lifestyle I’ll be on a lifetime of injections and pills.”

This was the kick Harry needed to take action. His GP referred him to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, which Harry agreed to participate in. The programme is run by health services provider Ingeus on behalf of NHS England and encourages healthy changes in behaviour. Harry attended regular meetings in High Wycombe, where he and others learned more about healthy living and motivated each other to make the right lifestyle choices.

Harry finished the programme in January. As well as losing an incredible 10 inches from his waist, his lower blood sugar levels mean he  is no longer deemed to be at risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Harry found the NHS DPP inspiring and informative: “It made me realise, you only have one chance to take care of your body.

“Most of us know what’s good and bad to eat, but I think the biggest problem is that we are in denial about it.  It’s important to be honest with yourself and eat the right food. We wouldn’t put fuel that was detrimental into our cars, but we all eat things that are just not good for us.”

Harry stopped buying processed food and looked more closely at food labels, choosing healthier options. The impact on Harry’s health has been enormous: “When I started this, I looked my age. I think when you reach your 50s you say ‘it’s my age – I can’t really do anything about it.’ But the truth is, age is no restriction.”

Now, Harry swims regularly. Whereas once he stayed in the slow lane he now finds himself overtaking teenagers in the fast lane. He added that aches and pains he blamed on age vanished as he got fitter.

He said:  “It makes sense. I lost 23 kg – that’s the equivalent weight of a six-year-old child. Imagine carrying that wherever you go. It’s no wonder I’ve got the extra energy – it’s a huge reduction in stress on your heart.

“I would recommend anybody to look at themselves and make a change – it’s like I’ve suddenly got my youth back.”

Type 2 diabetes usually appears in middle-aged or older people, although more frequently is being diagnosed in younger overweight people. It is a leading cause of preventable sight loss in people of working age and is a major contributor to kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke. Maintaining a healthy weight and active lifestyle can help prevent the condition.

Dr Kathy Hoffmann, GP and Diabetes Clinical Lead for NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme really makes a positive difference to people’s lives. Harry’s story is an inspiring example of that. It often takes only a few relatively minor changes to your lifestyle to prevent conditions like Type 2 diabetes.

“So, if you think you may be at risk of diabetes, please speak to your GP practice, or book an NHS Health Check if you are eligible. And, if you are invited to join the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, please take up the offer – it could make a huge difference to your health.”

Harry’s inspirational success has led him to be featured in NHSE national promotional materials for Diabetes Prevention Week.

Stop cancer before it starts – book a cervical screening

Too many women in Buckinghamshire are missing their cervical cancer screening – and risk their lives by being diagnosed with the disease too late.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35, but is very preventable. Cervical screening can stop cancer before it starts.

NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group is joining the nationwide Public Health England campaign this month, to encourage women not to ignore their cervical screening invite letter. If you have missed your last screening, please book an appointment with your GP practice now.

Every day seven women in the UK are diagnosed with cervical cancer and two will lose their lives to the disease.

Uptake of cervical screening has fallen across all ages over recent years, putting more women at risk. In particular, women aged 25-34 are least likely to attend their screening of any age group.

Cancer charity surveys suggest embarrassment and a lack of understanding of the causes of cervical cancer may be behind these falling numbers.

Dr Raj Thakkar, Clinical Commissioning Director for Planned Care, said: “Too many women are missing out on their cervical screening test, particularly women aged 25 – 34. Unfortunately this puts some of them at needless risk of developing cervical cancer. Having this quick, simple test is essential – it could save your life and help us stop cancer before it starts.

“The early warning signs of cervical cancer are very hard to detect yourself, so it is vital that women don’t wait until they notice symptoms before booking their screening. The test is usually carried out by a practice nurse. It is quick, simple and really is nothing to worry about. The test comes back normal 95% of the time and most abnormal cases can be treated easily and will never develop into cancer if they are picked up in time.”

If you have received an invitation for screening, have missed your smear or are due to be screened, please get in touch with your GP surgery to arrange an appointment – it may well save your life.

For more information about cervical cancer screening, visit NHS Choices or the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust charity

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.

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, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

‘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.

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.

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

Please submit any comments or suggestions by 2 December 2018.

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.

Patient Participation Group (PPG)

Please click here for the latest PPG briefing regarding PCN’s.

Please click here which will take you to the Kings Fund website which will give you an easy to read “Primary Care Networks (PCNs) explained”.

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.

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

 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