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Advice from the NHS and Medicines Regulatory Authority

Covid vaccination scams.

We have been made aware of a number of text scams which invite patients to book their Covid vaccinations. The way to tell real texts from the scams is that the real texts never ask you to provide any personal details or to provide credit or debit card details.

Why are we inviting patients to go to the Steam Museum for their Covid vaccination?

We hope the following background will help to explain why we are offering Covid vaccinations at the Steam Museum rather than at Elm Tree Surgery or another location.

Elm Tree Surgery is located on the very edge of Oxfordshire and many years ago the Partners were asked to align the practice with either Oxfordshire or Swindon. The Partners considered the benefits of both options and, taking everything into consideration including proximity of Swindon vs Oxford for hospital care, the length of time for an ambulance to reach patients etc, elected to align with Swindon.

In 2013 the NHS structure for managing GP Surgeries changed from Primary Care Trusts to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Elm Tree Surgery became part of Swindon CCG. In 2020, under the government ‘encouragement’, Swindon CCG joined with two other local CCGs and became Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG (BSW CCG). Hence Elm Tree Surgery is part of BSW CCG and not Oxfordshire CCG.

Over the last 3-4 years Elm Tree Surgery has been working closely with some of the surgeries in Swindon in order to expand the care that we are able to offer our patients. We work together under the name of Brunel Healthcare Group and together provide GP services for approx. 150,000 patients in Swindon and Shrivenham. This loose affiliation has proved very successful.

In 2019 the NHS asked GP Surgeries to work together in Primary Care Networks (PCNs). Initially we were told that PCNs should serve between 30,000 to 50,000 patients. Clearly Brunel Healthcare Group was too big to be one PCN so we formed 4 PCNs within Brunel Healthcare Group and Elm Tree Surgery is part of Brunel PCN1. The other surgeries that make up PCN1 are Ridgeway View, Victoria Cross and Eldene.

In late November 2020 we were told that Covid vaccinations must be provided at PCN level rather than at individual surgeries. All PCNs were given 7 days to identify the premises from which the PCN would offer Covid vaccinations. Following discussions we realised that none of the premises within PCN 1 could meet the requirements to offer Covid vaccinations. The other PCNs within Brunel came to similar conclusions and hence we decided to work together at Brunel Healthcare Group level rather than at PCN level. We identified two possible premises in Swindon that would be big enough and be available to provide the quantity of vaccinations that we were asked to provide.

Following further investigation we chose the Steam Museum and provided details to BSW CCG. The site was approved after visits from the NHS, BSW CCG, Swindon Borough Council, the Fire Brigade, the Police and others. Fortunately, because we acted so quickly and had all our ducks in a row we were classed, by the NHS, as a Wave 1 Covid vaccination site which meant we were one of the earliest groups to receive a delivery of Covid vaccine – our 1st clinic took place on 16 December. Those PCNs in Wave 6 are only just starting their Covid vaccination programmes.

Due to the size of the Steam Museum we can vaccinate up to 2,500 patients a day safely, dependent on vaccine deliveries. The GP surgeries which are part of Brunel Healthcare Group have already been able to invite almost all of their patients who are 80 years and older to attend the Steam Museum for their 1st dose of Covid vaccine and are now inviting the next cohorts of patients.

We are inviting patients either via a text message for those patients with mobile phones or via a telephone for those without a mobile phone number listed in their records. Those patients who do not book an appointment via text message will also be telephoned to make sure everyone is invited. The text message from Elm Tree Surgery will not ask for any personal details beyond asking you to confirm your date or birth and will definitely NOT ask for credit or debit card details.

Due to the nature of the vaccine and the quantities contained in a delivery it is extremely unlikely that the ‘rules’ will change and that we would be allowed to offer vaccinations at individual GP surgeries.

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Welcome to Elm Tree Surgery

We are confident that our website will provide clear and concise help and give our patients the information they require in an easy and convenient format. It has been designed with the patient’s needs at the forefront of everything, from checking surgery times to letting us know what you think of us.


Covid vaccination scams.

We have been made aware of a number of text scams which invite patients to book their Covid vaccinations. The way to tell real texts from the scams is that the real texts never ask you to provide any personal details or to provide credit or debit card details.

Message from Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BSW CCG)

Public advised to wait for coronavirus vaccine call

People living in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire who are eligible for the coronavirus vaccine should wait to be contacted by the NHS, instead of calling local hospitals or GP practices directly.  

The advice comes as the region prepares to deliver the first batch of vaccines for Covid-19, which were officially approved for use by the medicines regulator last week.

First in line for the vaccine will be people aged 80 and over, as well as care home staff and the frontline NHS workers most at-risk.

The rollout of the vaccine is a huge logistical challenge, and comes at a time when the NHS is already managing ongoing coronavirus-related challenges, as well as traditional winter pressures.

 Local people can show their support for the operation by waiting to be contacted with instructions of how to receive the vaccine, while continuing to observe the current social distancing guidance.

The physical process of giving the vaccine to the one million people living in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire will be a marathon and not a sprint, with vaccination happening over the next few months.

More information on the vaccine can be found online at www.nhs.uk


Flu Vaccinations Update - Elm Tree Surgery, Shrivenham

In light of the Covid pandemic more people than ever will be eligible and want to be vaccinated against flu – which we would clearly encourage.  Because of the greatly increased numbers and the necessity to maintain social distancing, the planning is more complicated than in previous years.  We hope to hold several flu vaccination clinics in Shrivenham Memorial Hall and we will contact patients to invite them to attend a specific session depending on their age and clinical needs. 

We will be initially concentrating on the most vulnerable (especially those patients who were shielding and their households), then the over 65s and those between 18-64 who have specific underlying medical conditions, followed by children aged 2-3 and those children between 12-17 with specific underlying medical conditions.  Children aged 4-11 will be vaccinated under the school’s vaccination program and finally those aged 50-64 (expected to be November/December but not yet confirmed).  

We will contact patients directly as soon as the clinics have been finalised, so please do not contact the surgery with any requests about flu vaccinations until then. 

Elm Tree Surgery


An Update from Elm Tree Surgery

The last few months have been a very challenging time for the NHS including general practice, and we would like to thank all our patients for being so accommodating and accepting of the changes we have had to implement.

We have now moved to a total triage model, so most consultations are on the telephone or via a video link, but we are offering face to face consultations where appropriate, after discussion with a doctor or nurse, or for most nursing procedures including immunisations, blood tests and dressings. The surgery has always remained open and we are now able to resume all the normal services as previously, with the exceptions of minor surgery, ear syringing and spirometry. Please do book for blood tests, annual review of chronic conditions, maternity care, coils, smears, implants, new baby checks, all immunisations and other checks as before.

Many patients have stayed away from general practice because of the Covid virus, but we don’t want any physical or mental health problems to be missed or forgotten, so please do call us if you have any medical concerns. We have the recommended PPE and strict cleansing procedures are in place. Please always wear a suitable face covering or mask when entering the surgery. Access to the building is now strictly by invitation. If you have acute or repeat medications to collect you will be contacted via a text or phone call when your medications are ready to collect.

We have made some changes to the annual reviews of long term conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease. All or part of the review will now be via the telephone, and the date of the review will be aligned with the month of your birthday. This will make it simpler for everyone to know when the review is due and to make sure the repeat prescriptions match the review dates, but it may mean some patients have their next review slightly later or earlier than usual.

We have a new telephone system which should make it much easier to get through to the surgery, and which will give the caller a list of options so you can find the service you want more quickly and easily. Please bear with us over the next few weeks while we all get used to the new phone system.

We also encourage everyone to sign up for the NHS app. Once signed in, you will be able to access a range of services including booking a telephone appointment, requesting repeat prescriptions, or viewing your medical record, as well as being able to access the vast amount of excellent information and support available from the NHS. In time, there will be the facility to have on-line consultations which will often advise on self-management or give you quick, convenient and simple information and advice or alternatives to an appointment with a doctor or nurse. You can search for “NHS App” or use this link: https://digital.nhs.uk/services/nhs-app. You will then need to contact the surgery to complete the registration process.

We would also like to pay tribute to our wonderful clinical and especially the non-clinical staff all of whom have rapidly adapted to the changing circumstances and have continued to have the welfare and safety of the patients and community as our priority. The whole community has been brilliant in protecting the vulnerable and providing practical help and support, especially the staff at the Shrivenham Pharmacy, and the local Parish Councils, and the army of volunteers organised so ably by Councillor Chris Hand and his colleagues.

Thank you too for the Thursday ‘clap for carers’.

The Partners, Elm Tree Surgery

June 2020


Serving You

Our dedicated team are here to treat those minor ailments that occur as well as providing specialist management of long-term conditions and clinics covering a wide range of healthcare issues. The technology also means you can now do a lot of things from the comfort of your home such as order a repeat prescription or cancel an appointment.

Partners in Care

Once registered, patients and healthcare professionals work together to ensure the most appropriate care is provided. This partnership philosophy extends even further and our active patient group exists to make sure that patient needs and the practice offering are always heading in the same direction.

Access

Please let reception know if you cannot manage the stairs to the first floor consulting rooms. There is access for wheelchairs to all ground floor consulting rooms and the toilets.

(Site updated 26/04/2021)
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