Pharmacist joins the team at Church Lane

Patients at Church Lane Surgery in Braintree are now benefiting from improved medicines management and easier access to repeat medication as Virgin Care’s improvement plan for the NHS GP surgery continues.

The pharmacist joined the practice this month to continue improvements to the repeat prescription process and to ensure patients at the surgery have their medicine reviewed regularly.

Virgin Care took on the practice in mid-July 2016, inheriting long waits for repeat prescriptions of up to 10 days, a significant backlog of administration tasks and building problems which left half of the surgery forced to close by its landlord.

An action plan to improve the practice, which is the largest in Braintree with more than 13,000 patients, was put into place immediately and quickly led to improvements – including reducing waits for repeat prescriptions down to within the national three working day target.

By November 2016, the practice had beefed up its admin team by more than 50%, four new practice nurses had joined the practice and Advanced Nurse Practitioner appointments were being offered to patients with long term conditions such as depression, cardiac complaints and lung condition COPD among others.

All patients using medicine on a repeat prescription need what they take to be regularly reviewed to ensure it’s still effective and working well for patients. The pharmacist will see more than 50 patients a week for face to face medicine reviews as well as overseeing medicines management at the practice.

The pharmacist will also help to ensure repeat prescriptions are processed quickly and efficiently, something patients have said matters to them. Repeat requests at the practice continue to be handled within two-to-three working days.

Since November, staffing at the surgery has continued to increase in order to reduce delays and waits and patients now have access to seven GPs at the practice, as well as nurses and the new pharmacist.

The practice has moved to new premises in March at Braintree College. The surgery’s phone number and colleagues working at the surgery will remain the same. Patients will need to visit the practice at its new location, but won’t need to do anything else to continue to be a patient at the surgery.

The name change was the result of feedback from patients and was led by the Patient Participation Group at the surgery.

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