Friends of Parkwood Surgery

Friends of Parkwood Surgery Newsletter - April 2024

View from the FPS Chair - Yvonne Metcalf

This month’s major news is the appointment of a new Managing Partner of the practice. His name is Ranvir Kalra. At the moment, he is working part time in the practice and will be joining full time in May. He has a wealth of experience of GP practices and so brings a huge amount of knowledge and expertise to his new role.

I have had the opportunity to meet with him and spent an afternoon talking about the issues which have arisen for patients over the last months. I was reassured that he is well aware of how difficult things have been with, as examples, the appointment system, complaints, the surgery closing for training, and a less complicated but equally challenging issue of the door being locked at lunchtime. He has already started looking at processes and working with practice staff to ensure they have the right information and hence skills to support patients’ experiences of the surgery.

He had many facts and figures at his fingertips, many of which impact on availability of appointments. Did you know, for example, that almost one third of appointments last year were lost because patients did not attend? It struck me that we all have to take some responsibility for how the practice operates. He enlightened me on how many processes have to be ‘NHS compliant’, including the surgery’s updated website which was launched this week. So sometimes there are things over which the surgery per se has little control.

We in the FPS committee are very aware that changes will not happen overnight but it feels that there is a positive start to this new financial year. So watch this space …… and keep in touch !

Logo of Parkwood Surgery - a green filigree tree with the words 'Parkwood Surgery' next to it

Feedback from the surgery

As your committee, we regularly put forward your queries, concerns and feedback to the surgery management. Here are some of the top concerns you’ve raised with us, and the responses we’ve received from the surgery.

Obtaining a routine appointment

Appointments continue to be released every other Wednesday: a batch at 8.30am and another at 1pm. These are sometimes all taken by the end of the day, but are sometimes lasting until the following week, dependent upon demand. The surgery has been operating with 2 fewer GPs than the size of the practice warrants, and are actively recruiting to avoid over-reliance upon locums. For more information, check out the surgery’s website.

Text-requests for blood pressure readings

Some patients reported receiving text messages requesting a series of blood pressure readings without an explanation or indication where this information was going to. These are genuine requests from the surgery to update patients’ records where necessary. The surgery is going to look into improving the wording of these messages to try to clear up any confusion or concern.

Training sessions

The training sessions which cause the surgery to close once a month have been an ongoing source of confusion for many patients. This is mandatory training carried out by all surgeries in the area, and the dates are determined by the Integrated Care Board (ICB) rather than the surgery itself. 111 is available at these times to support with non-emergency medical needs.

Booking blood test appointments

Whilst the surgery is not responsible for the changes made at West Herts Teaching Hospital Trust (WHTHT) with regard to booking appointments for blood tests, it is fully aware of the problems some patients have faced. WHTHT has got a Patient Advice and Liaison team who can be contacted with any queries, advice or complaints. If patients contact directly, they should be able to look into what happened during the booking process and if there are technical errors, they will be alerted to rectify these. Their contact details are 01923 217198 or email

What’s been happening with FPS?

Check out the minutes of our meetings

The minutes from FPS’ monthly meetings, including our most recent April meeting, are available here. We hope this will improve the transparency for patients so you can see your concerns and queries are being raised.

Using the right service

It feels like there are any number of places which provide medical help these days, and it can be hard to know which is the most appropriate for any given issue. To help, we’ve put together this infographic, adapted from a range of NHS resources available. Why not save a copy or print it for future reference?

Knit and Natter Group

The Knit and Natter group continues to meet on Tuesdays from 2-4pm at the Community Hall on Great Sturgess Road. If you’d like to come along to it, or know someone who would like a chat and some company, please contact Val on 01442 255449.

Want to stay up to date?

One easy way to keep up to date with FPS’ events is to follow us on our Facebook page. Every time we update the website, we’ll post a link there!

Unsubscribe from FPS communications

If you wish to unsubscribe from receiving communications about FPS, you will need to contact the surgery to ask for this note to be placed on your file. FPS does not hold any data on patients other than that provided directly by them, such as emails sent to the FPS mailbox.

Get Your Blood Pressure Checked

High blood pressure, often described as a ‘silent killer’, affects an estimated 32% of adults. As the condition rarely has any symptoms, approximately 3 in 10 of these remain undiagnosed, equating to 4.2 million people in England.

Despite being an invisible condition, it can lead to fatal heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, and vascular dementia.

The NHS’ ‘Get Your Blood Pressure Checked’ campaign is aimed at all adults over 40 who have not previously been diagnosed with high blood pressure, or had their blood pressure checked by a professional in the past 6 months.

To find out what your blood pressure is doing, simply visit a participating pharmacy, with no need to pre-book, and ask for a free check.

Local pharmacies taking part include: Boots (Stoneycroft), Nash Chemists (Chaulden), Gadebridge Pharmacy (Rossgate), and Byrons Pharmacy (Boxmoor). Click the link above to find more.


The Allergy and Free From Show 2024

Several members of the FPS committee recommend this event for anybody with allergies or intolerances. This year it runs from 22nd to 23rd June at London Olympia, with tickets costing £5 and free for under 16s.

Find out more and book your tickets by clicking on the image above.