Friends of Parkwood Surgery

Friends of Parkwood Surgery Newsletter - January 2024

View from the FPS Chair - Yvonne Metcalf

Welcome to our first 2024 Newsletter! A Happy and healthy New Year to you all.

Despite my intention NOT to mention the weather, driving past ‘Lake Gadebridge’ this afternoon it’s difficult to ignore the awful rain in these last few weeks and how miserable I know I have felt at times. Let’s hope the new year brings some respite and a few crisp clear days where we can walk out and blow away those winter cobwebs.

The holiday time has given me the opportunity to catch up with friends and neighbours and to reflect on my FPS experience over the last year. Access to health care is high on many personal agendas and it has struck me how alert and proactive we all need to be to ensure our well being. Traditionally, challenging our health care provision is not what we’re used to, but recent changes have shown we need to be ‘on the ball’ to be sure that we have the right information so we have the right care. I have heard examples of tests not being reported as an example, and how patients have had to follow things up themselves. The use of Patient Access is now fairly well established for many. Then we see the introduction of an appointment system for blood tests which some patients we hear have found easy, but I certainly didn’t the first time I tried it. Change is endemic and this year will no doubt see more procedural changes for us to grapple with.

Communication with the surgery remains a focus for the FPS committee this year. We’re looking at ways we can work with the surgery to inform fellow patients of these changes, and help us all to understand how our health care is now being delivered in this changing world. What we as your representatives need most of all is input from you to help us ensure that our agenda is everyone’s agenda. Hearing about things that aren’t working well can and should be a learning experience for us all – things can’t be ‘fixed’ unless we know what they are. We are happy to hear ‘good news ‘ stories too!

I urge you to look at our website where our committee meeting minutes are posted. Our Facebook page often has well being and community ‘tips’ alongside more general information. We hope it is useful. As a committee, we can only be effective if we know what issues are arising for patients across the board. So let us know!

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.

Telephoning the surgery

A regular query from patients is whether the surgery’s telephone line can be upgraded to include a ‘number in the queue’ indication, as we know many local surgeries have. The surgery’s current telephone contract is due to expire this year and, in line with the governmental reforms for GP surgeries, the new contract will include features such as this queuing facility. The exact date for this change is not yet known, but rest assured – it’s on its way!

What’s been happening with FPS?

Flu clinic donations

Thanks to everybody who was able to make a small donation to FPS at the flu clinics in September, October and November. In total, we collected £143.09. We were especially delighted with this ‘thank you’ picture drawn by one younger patient who was clearly very pleased with her toy!


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?

Click anywhere on the infographic to open it in a new window.

Accessing the blood clinic

Those who’ve recently had to visit the blood clinics at West Herts Teaching Hospital Trust’s sites may have noticed there is a new booking system in place to try to reduce waiting times. The booking service is now available online

For patients unable to book online, telephone booking is available Tuesday to Friday, between 9am and 1pm on 01727 897376.

Some exceptions apply: haematology and anticoagulation patients will continue to receive clinic appointment letters and do not need to book online. Glucose tolerance tests can only be booked via telephone.

Already used the booking service? Let us know how you got on!

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.

Check out the minutes of our meetings

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

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.