PPG Newsletter Spring 2024




Welcome to your Spring newsletter for this year. 


Covid Spring Booster

If you are over 75 or fall into one of the vulnerable categories, you may be eligible for a spring Coved booster. NHS England has already begun sending out invitations to those patients who are eligible. If you’re eligible, you can get a spring Covid-19 vaccine by:

  • Booking online or on the NHS app
  • Calling 119

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Pulmonary rehabilitation service in Swale

Medway and Swale Health and Care Partnership commissioned a full pulmonary rehabilitation service for its Swale population in 2023 to make sure patients received an equitable service. Health Care Resource Group (HCRG) Care Services, the community services provider in Swale, recruited a multi-disciplinary specialist team, which has been delivering sessions and clinics since October 2023. Patients with chronic respiratory conditions are referred for an individually prescribed exercise and education programme.

This is complemented by patients carrying out a further session at home.




Have you thought of being a researcher and helping organisations, especially those in health and social care to improve their provision by researching new methods and treatments? Many of you may already be taking part in research - and we are all researchers in one way or another. We may not wear white coats, but we are willing to find time making price comparisons to find where we can buy the best value product. 

Some of you may be taking part in the current Galleri test which is attempting to find up to 24 different cancers from a single blood sample. You may have seen the van in Asda Car Park this month which is following up members who have been giving an annual blood sample. It is now in its third and final year.

Medway Hospital has its research department and is always looking for members to join their patient research volunteer team, and NHS Kent and Medway are opening up opportunities for patients to help in research. Read on …

Community Research Engagement Network

£100,000 has been awarded to NHS Kent and Medway to establish a community research engagement network.  
The project brings together a joint research collaborative made up of specialists from universities, the National Institute of Health and Care Research, the NHS and local councils.  

They will work alongside voluntary and community sector leaders to develop the network, which aims to increase participation in research by local people.  
Find out more about Community Voices in Research. 

Locally, there is a piece of research to look at the use of opioids in post – operative care. Many opioids are very addictive, even after only a few days use, so it is very important to find alternative treatments for pain relief following surgery.

If your interest has been aroused then you can find more information by clicking on the above links, and also What we do | NIHR 


Helpers Needed to Help us Keep Fit

Are you interested in leading regular health walks for patients at this surgery? If this interests you, please give your details in at reception so that a meeting can be arranged with you to tell you about the support which is available to make this an enjoyable experience for both you and the participants.

If you have other ideas to help others keep fit let us know. You may have skills you can share with others.


MS Swale

Swale is a small local charity. We support people living with Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological disabilities. We offer sport to aid your wellbeing including a very successful para-bowls team, archery and chair yoga. Our motto is ‘We can do’. Don’t feel despondent and bored, you can have fun and enjoy life even with a disability. Give us a call 07890 198 663.


Integrated Care Strategy

‘We will work together to make health and wellbeing better than any partner can do alone.’

This is the vision for Kent and Medway Integrated Care System (ICS), which brings together NHS, local authorities and the voluntary sector to make a significant difference, improve local services and support healthier living.

The new ambition for the future of health and care of the people of Kent and Medway has been set, following the final agreement of the Integrated Care Strategy.
Previously NHS Kent and Medway, Kent County Council and Medway Council worked together as lead members of Kent and Medway Integrated Care Partnership to produce an interim strategy, setting out how health and care colleagues in the NHS and across councils could work together to make improvements for our communities.

Since then, all partners have been talking to people across Kent and Medway to make sure the shared outcomes are the right ones and to understand what people needed from their health and care services so they could prioritise areas action.

The interim strategy was refined through what we heard and now sets out six outcomes. We will:

  • give children and young people the best start in life.
  • tackle the wider determinants to prevent ill health.
  • support happy and healthy living.
  • empower people to best manage their health conditions.
  • improve health and care services.
  • support and grow our workforce.

Upcoming Event

In the past we have tried to hold an event which we hope you would find interesting to find out more about. We have held a Carers’ Day and a day devoted to diabetes. This year we hope to hold a day which focuses on women’s health. Don’t worry you men out there; your turn will come next year. The Sittingbourne Primary Care Network has started to plan this event so watch this space.


Important Information about Urgent Mental Health Care

Making it easier to get help in urgent mental health crisis

Since Tuesday, 2 April, anyone experiencing an urgent mental health crisis needs to call 111, and select the mental health option when prompted. This replaced Kent and Medway's Mental Health Crisis Line phone (0800) number.

Our website also contains information on the different services that can help. 

Kent and Medway Partnership Trust are working hard to make sure all existing service users, and their families or carers, who are familiar with the 0800 number, know about this change. There is an automated message on the line signposting people to call 111 and select the mental health option instead.


If someone is deaf or hearing impaired

Contact Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) using the free national Relay UK service.

Details can be found via its website. Alternatively, contact NHS 111 via the Relay UK app or using a text phone. Dial 18001 111. In a life-threatening emergency, contact 999 via the Relay UK app or using a text phone dial 18000.


Surgery News

Did Not Attend

We wish to draw your attention to an important aspect of our practice at The Meads Surgery - appointment attendance and its impact.

Number of Missed Appointments January to April is 313, resulting in 74 hours of wasted practitioner time.

When an appointment goes unfilled without prior notice, another patient who could have benefited from that time slot misses out. This is particularly crucial for on the day care needs that could have been addressed.

How You Can Help:

We kindly ask that if you are unable to attend your scheduled appointment, please notify us as early as possible. This allows us to offer the slot to another patient, helping us provide timely medical care to everyone in need.

We understand that circumstances can change unexpectedly, and we appreciate your cooperation and consideration in keeping us informed. Together, we can ensure that all our patients receive the best possible care when they need it.

Visit your local pharmacy first for seven minor conditions

From 31st January, people across Kent and Medway can pop down to their local pharmacy for help with seven minor conditions, which would previously have required a GP appointment.

The Pharmacy First service enables members of the public to visit pharmacies, as a first port of call, for help with a range of common minor conditions.

The service enables pharmacists to offer advice to patients and supply NHS medicines (including antibiotics), where clinically appropriate, for: 

  1. Sinusitis – for children and adults aged 12 years and over;
  2. Sore throat – for children and adults aged 5 years and over;
  3. Earache (Acute otitis media) – for children aged 1 to 17 years;
  4. Infected insect bite – for children and adults aged 1 year and over;
  5. Impetigo – for children and adults aged 1 year and over;
  6. Shingles – for adults aged 18 years and over; and
  7. Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women aged 16 to 64 years.

Under this scheme you may now be offered a referral to a participating local pharmacy of your choice when you contact the practice.


Spotlight On – Clinical Pharmacist’s


Clinical pharmacists are increasingly working as part of general practice teams. They are highly qualified experts in medicines and can help people in a range of ways. This includes carrying out structured medication reviews (SMRs) for patients with ongoing health problems and improving patient safety, outcomes and value through a person-centred approach.

Sittingbourne PCN also work with Virtual Pharmacists supporting our GP practices in different areas.

Our Virtual Pharmacists provide clinical and administrative services including carrying out structured medication reviews for patients with ongoing health problems and improving patient safety, outcomes and value through a person-centred approach on behalf of the PCN. 

You may be booked an appointment with our Virtual Pharmacists for a medication review. This appointment will be a phone call and you will not need to attend the surgery.

Published: May 24, 2024