Access to Medical Records
Medical Records are both computerised and hard copies. Patients can request their medical records by completing a form at the surgery.
If you have been in an accident, or should require your medical records for the hospital or a court case the request must come directly from your solicitor or insurance company. They should address it to the secretary and have written consent from the patient it is regarding.
Please note we are unable to give out any medical records without the consent of the patient it is regarding. If the patient is unable to give consent, then their legal guardian will then make the decision for them.
At the moment, medical records for new patients at the practice are taking at least 8 weeks to arrive at the surgery, so if you are joining the surgery and have an on-going medical condition, try to bring as much information on it as you can for us to scan into your notes (i.e. hospital letters).
For more information, please contact the practice or phone the surgery and ask to speak to the secretary regarding medical records.
Care Quality Commission
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) makes sure all care services In England, including GP surgeries; provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care.
They do this by inspecting services and publishing the results on their website: www.cqc.org.uk
You can use the results to help you make better decisions about the care you, or someone you care for, receives.
Our CQC Inspection
Our practice is inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to ensure we are meeting essential standards of quality and safety.
Should you need an examination during an appointment or procedure, you are entitled to have a chaperone present to make you feel at ease and ensure the doctor or nurse is doing their job correctly.
The health care professional should ask you if you would like one before examining you, but do not hesitate to ask for one should you need it. All staff are chaperone trained and are happy to stay with you during your examination.
The surgery is completely accessible and has a disabled toilet designed for wheelchair access.
Should anyone with disabilities require any further assistance please do not hesitate to ask any member of staff.
Fear of Flying Policy
Due to a medical safety alert update we have received from Aviation trained doctors; we have been advised to no longer prescribe sedating drugs such as Diazepam, which is sometimes used to treat fear of flying, and medications such as Zopiclone, which is used as a sleeping tablet.
There are several very good reasons why prescribing these drugs is not recommended:
- Diazepam and Zopiclone are both sedative, which means it makes you more relaxed and sleepier. If there is an emergency during the flight, it may impair your ability to concentrate, follow instructions and react to the situation. This could have serious safety consequences not just to yourself, but to those around you.
- Sedative drugs can make you fall into an unnatural non-REM sleep. This means you won’t move around as much as you would do in natural sleep. This can cause you to be at increased risk of developing a blood clot in the leg (DVT) or even the lung. Blood clots are very dangerous and can even prove fatal. This risk is even greater if your flight is greater than 4 hours.
- Whilst most people find Diazepam sedating, a small number have paradoxical agitation and increased aggression. It can also cause disinhibition, leading you to behave in a way that you would not normally. This could impact on your safety as well as that of other passengers. A similar effect can be seen with alcohol, which has led to passengers being removed from their flights. It could also get you into trouble with the law.
- Diazepam and similar drugs are illegal in several countries. They may be confiscated, or you may find yourself in trouble with the police.
Given the above, we will no longer be prescribing Diazepam for flight anxiety or Zopiclone for flight insomnia. We appreciate that fear of flying is very real and very frightening. A much better approach is to tackle this properly with a Fear of Flying course run by the airlines. We have provided a number of these below:
All GP Practices are required to declare the mean earnings (e.g. average pay) for GPs working to deliver NHS services to patients at each practice.
The average pay for GPs working in Southway Surgery in the last financial year was £58,060 before tax and National Insurance. This is for 4 part time GPs1 locum GP who worked in the practice for more than six months.
Guide to GP Services
The Royal College of General Practitioners has produced a useful guide for patients about the services on offer at GP Surgeries and how to access them. You can download the guide below.
Named Accountable GP for all patients
All patients have a named GP who is responsible for their care in the practice.
Your named GP will take lead responsibility for the coordination of all services required. There is no need for you to see your named GP, you should continue to see the GP of your choice when attending surgery as you do at present. Your named GP’s role in your care is purely to ensure that all your care needs are met.
Some services provided are not covered under our contract with the NHS and therefore attract charges. Examples include the following:
- Medicals for pre-employment, sports and driving requirements (HGV, PSV etc.)
- Insurance claim forms
- Passport signing
- Letters to employers/ schools
The fees charged are based on the British Medical Association (BMA) suggested scales and our reception staff will be happy to advise you about them along with appointment availability.
Why Must I Pay?
The NHS will provide most health care to most people free of charge; however there are a few exceptions.
Charges are made to cover the costs of the treatment to the patient, or because the service is not covered by the NHS. GPs are self-employed and as such have to cover the costs of staff, buildings, heat and light etc.
The NHS will cover the costs for NHS work but not the costs for any non-NHS work. Subsequently, any fee charged for non-NHS work will cover the GPs costs for providing the service.
When handing in a form or medical to be filled in, please allow at least 2 weeks for it to be completed. As they are not a priority to the doctors (unlike referrals and seeing patients), they are done when the doctor has free time. Do not hand in a document to be completed by the next day as it is not possible. All documents must be addressed to the secretary.
In England, if you require a prescription, you will have to pay a fee unless you are exempt. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales prescriptions are free of charge.
The fees are as follows:
- Prescription (per item): £9.15
- 12-month prepayment certificate (PPC): £105.90
- 3-month PPC: £29.65
You can find up to date fees, including fees for wigs and fabric supports on the GOV Website.
If you will have to pay for four or more prescription items in three months, or more than 15 items in 12 months, you may find it cheaper to buy a PPC.
There is further information about prescription exemptions and fees on the NHS website.
View/Download our Privacy Notice.
Suggestions, Comments and Complaints
Southway Surgery welcomes any feedback, suggestions or complaints.
We always aim to provide the best care we can. However, we know that sometimes things can go wrong. When this happens we believe that is it often most effective to sort problems out quickly and informally.
Our aim is to provide the highest level of care for all our patients. We will always be willing to hear if there is any way that you think that we can improve the service we provide.
The Complaints Process
Talk to us
Every patient has the right to make a complaint about the treatment or care they have received at Southway Surgery.
We understand that we may not always get everything right and, by telling us about the problem you have encountered, we will be able to improve our services and patient experience.
Who to talk to
Most complaints can be resolved at a local level. Please speak to a member of staff if you have a complaint; our staff are trained to handle complaints. Alternatively, ask to speak to the complaint’s manager, Amy Bate (Business Manager).
If for any reason you do not want to speak to a member of our staff, then you can request that NHS England investigates your complaint. They will contact us on your behalf:
PO BOX 16738
A complaint can be made verbally or in writing. A complaints form is available from reception. Additionally, you can complain via email to [email protected].
Time frames for complaints
The time constraint on bringing a complaint is 12 months from the occurrence giving rise to the complaint, or 12 months from the time you become aware of the matter about which you wish to complain.
The Business Manager (Operations Manager in her absence) will respond to all complaints within three business days to confirm receipt.
We will aim to investigate and provide you with the findings within fourteen days and will provide regular updates regarding the investigation of your complaint.
Southway Surgery will investigate all complaints effectively and in conjunction with extant legislation and guidance.
Southway Surgery will ensure that all complaints are investigated with the utmost confidentiality and that any documents are held separately from the patient’s healthcare record.
Third party complaints
Southway Surgery allows a third party to make a complaint on behalf of a patient. The patient must provide consent for them to do so. A third-party patient complaint form is available from reception.
Southway Surgery will issue a final formal response to all complainants which will provide full details and the outcome of the complaint. We will liaise with you about the progress of any complaint.
- POhWER support centre can be contacted via 0300 456 2370
- Advocacy People gives advocacy support on 0330 440 9000
- Age UK on 0800 055 6112
- Local Council can give advice on local advocacy services
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your complaint from either NHS England or this organisation then you can escalate your complaint to Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) at either:
Milbank Tower, Milbank
Citygate, Mosley Street
Tel: 0345 015 4033
PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)
The NHS employs over a million staff in thousands of locations. It is a large and complex organisation providing a broad range of services.
It is not surprising that sometimes you or a loved one may feel bewildered or concerned when using the NHS and this can be at times when you are feeling at your most vulnerable and anxious. So, what should you do if you want on the spot help when using the health service?
The NHS expects all members of staff to listen and respond to you to the best of their ability. But sometimes, you may wish to talk to someone employed especially to help you. The Patient Advice and Liaison Service, known as PALS, has been introduced to ensure that the NHS listens to patients, their relatives, carers and friends, and answers their questions and resolves their concerns as quickly as possible. PALS also help the NHS to improve services by listening to what matters to patients and their loved ones and making changes, when appropriate.
What Does PALS Do?
In particular, PALS will:
- Provide you with information about the NHS and help you with any other health-related enquiry
- Help resolve concerns or problems when you are using the NHS
- Provide information about the NHS complaints procedure and how to get independent help if you decide you may want to make a complaint
- Provide you with information and help introduce you to agencies and support groups outside the NHS
- Inform you about how you can get more involved in your own healthcare and the NHS locally Improve the NHS by listening to your concerns, suggestions and experiences and ensuring that people who design and manage services are aware of the issues you raise
- Provide an early warning system for NHS Trusts and monitoring bodies by identifying problems or gaps in services and reporting them
You can contact the Patient and Complaints Team on:
Issues solely about services at NHS GP’s dentist’s opticians or pharmacies should call on 03003 112233 who provide information and advice service and a complaint handling service.
Should you have a particular problem with a chemist, please talk to them as we are not responsible for their errors and cannot prevent them.
We are not responsible for the management of the car park outside of the surgery.
Should you have a complaint about it, you should contact Plymouth City Council.
As in line with all NHS premises we operate a Zero Tolerance policy to any type of violent or abusive patients. This includes any form of striking or abusive language towards any members of staff or persons at the practice.
Patients will be removed from the practice list for violent or abusive behaviour and asked to register with another practice.
They will also be reported to the police and other practices. Hospital and ambulance services will also be informed.