Patient Group Newsletter

Winter 2021 - Issue 61

IN THIS ISSUE: Message from PPG Chairperson; Devon CCG Update on Appointments in Devon; Friends and Family Test; National Screening Information; Covid-19 Contacts; Holiday Opening Hours

Patient Group Committee

Sue Lake - Chairperson

David Forward - Vice Chairperson

Deborah Mitchell - Secretary

Peter Frean
Robert Harland
Chris Kitson
Mark McGlade
Lynette Oram
Michael Rice
Jacqui Ruhlig
Richard Waller
Judy Wright
Tania Davis

Contact Us

By post to:

Budleigh Salterton Medical Centre, 1 The Lawn, Budleigh Salterton, EX9 6LS


We are nearing the end of a year which has seen an extraordinary national effort to enable us to receive a vaccination against the terrible Coronavirus. This time last year we were unable to get a proper Newsletter together as we all were faced with lockdown and higher priorities. However, thanks to this excellent vaccination programme we were able to produce a proper Summer Newsletter and generally start returning to some sort of normal. We have held our past 2 meetings of the PPG in one large room, we were widely spaced and followed all guidelines to mitigate the risk of infection and it has been very good to see the PPG team together again.

During the pandemic we have not been able to hold our health awareness events (which have been so well received) but we do hope that conditions will allow us to start them again before too much longer. Let’s hope we will be able to hold an open PPG AGM in 2022.

At the time of writing this the PPG are aware of local concerns about the opening hours of the pharmacy. We are in communication with them to see how this can be addressed.

We received an email from a local resident recently reminding us of the need to read the small print when purchasing life insurance. This issue related to a newspaper article about a policy which was deemed invalid because of the way in which a blood pressure reading had been recorded for the company by the policy holder. If you are at all unsure, please check with your insurance company.

We also heard from the Chairperson of a PPG in Cheshire, he had picked up our Newsletter whilst on holiday here. This person was very complimentary about the Newsletter and we will stay in touch to exchange views and ideas about PPGs and General Practice.

Please do not forget that your PPG is here to represent you, the patients of Budleigh Salterton Medical Centre. You can always get in touch with us, details on this page.

Your PPG wishes you a merry holiday season and a happy and healthy 2022.

Sue Lake, PPG Chairperson


Devon CCG Update in Appointments in Devon

"Devon saw some of the biggest increase in the share of GP appointments conducted face-to-face in September. NHS Digital figures show in-person appointments made up 63 per cent (452,000) of the estimated appointments offered overall last month, compared to 59 per cent in August.  

Devon GPs are also seeing a higher proportion of people face-to-face compared with some parts of the country – the national average is 61 per cent of appointments are people seen in-person. The share of face-to-face appointments was also up from this time last year when it was 60 per cent.

We are extremely proud of how our practices have responded to the demands of working in a pandemic, while also playing a significant part in the roll-out of the vaccination programme.

These figures highlight how hard our general practice teams are working.  They have continued to care for their patients while facing the challenges of working in a pandemic. And there is no doubt that practices have been working hard seeing everyone that needs to be seen.

Devon has always been ahead of the game when it comes to using technology in primary care, and this put us in a good position at the start of the pandemic when we needed to limit exposure for both patients and staff.  But we have always been clear that we need a blend of in-person and remote care being delivered in general practice and clearly we are taking big strides in this direction."

Dr Paul Johnson, NHS Devon CCG


Friends and Family Test

The Family and Friends Test (FFT) is an NHS-wide programme, but since the main input from patients was a paper form picked up in the surgery, the scheme was suspended at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic by NHS England to avoid the risk of virus transmission. 

The Medical Centre would like to encourage patients to use the web-based version of the FFT which is accessed through their website, in order to receive feedback which might help the practice to understand how patients feel locally and to identify where improvements can be made.

As from September 2021, a random 250 invitations will be sent monthly via text message to patients who have had had either a face-to-face consultation or a telephone consultation in the preceding month. 

The FFT asks: "How likely are you to recommend our GP practice to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?" The options for a response and the results for September 2021 are:

  • Extremely likely (70%)
  • Likely (25%)
  • Neither likely nor unlikely (2%)
  • Unlikely (4%)
  • Extremely unlikely (0%)
  • Don’t know (0%)

At 95%, the percentage of positive responses is similar to the pre-pandemic figure (94% - 99%).  All comments, both positive and negative, are reviewed by the PPG and the practice.

If you would like to complete a Family and Friends Test you can do this via the practice website. 

Mike Rice, PPG Member


NHS Cervical Screening

All women and people with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 64 should go for regular cervical screening. You'll get a letter in the post inviting you to make an appointment with your surgery.

If you missed your last cervical screening, you do not need to wait for a letter to book an appointment, you can contact the practice on 01395 441 212 to book an appointment with our practice nurse.

If you are 65 or older you will no longer be invited for screening.  This is because it’s very unlikely that you’ll get cervical cancer.  You will only be invited again if 1 of your last 3 tests was abnormal.

If you are worried about symptoms of cervical cancer such as bleeding between periods, during or after sex or after you have been through the menopause or unusual discharge, then do not wait for your next screening appointment but contact the practice and ask to make an appointment with your doctor.


NHS Breast Screening

Anyone registered with a GP as female will be invited for NHS breast screening every 3 years between the ages of 50 and 71. You'll automatically get your first invite for breast screening between the ages of 50 and 53. Then you'll be invited every 3 years until you turn 71.

If you're a trans man, trans woman or are non-binary you may be invited automatically, or you may need to talk to contact the local breast screening service on 01392 262600 to ask for an appointment.

If you have not been invited for breast screening by the time you are 53 and think you should have been, please contact your local breast screening service on 01392 262600.


NHS Bowel Cancer Screening

Everyone aged 60 to 74 who is registered with a GP and lives in England is automatically sent a bowel cancer screening kit every 2 years. The programme includes some 56 year olds.  Please make sure your practice has your correct address so your kit is posted to the right place.  

The screening kit used in England is the faecal immunochemical test kit – known as the FIT kit.  You collect a small sample of poo on a small plastic stick and put it into the sample bottle and post it to a lab for testing.  There are instructions that come with the kit.  Your result should be posted to you within 2 weeks of sending off your kit.

If you're 75 or over, you can ask for a kit every 2 years by phoning the free bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 60 60.  If you're worried about a family history of bowel cancer or have any symptoms, speak to a GP for advice.


NHS Abdominal Aorta Screening (AAA)

In England, if you're a man and registered with a GP, you'll get a screening invitation in the post when you're 64 or soon after your 65th birthday. You can then arrange an appointment that suits you.  The contact number of your local screening service is 01803 655441.

About 8 in every 10 people who have a burst AAA die before they get to hospital or do not survive emergency surgery to repair it.  Screening can pick up an AAA before it bursts. If an AAA is found, you can choose to have regular scans to monitor it or surgery to stop it bursting.  The screening test is very quick, painless and reliable. Research suggests it can halve the risk of dying from an AAA.  You will be told the result at then of the test.

For more information on NHS Screening Services please visit the NHS website.


A person using a mobile phone

The NHS App

If you have access to the internet via a smartphone or tablet, please download the NHS APP so you can manage appointments, order repeat prescriptions, get health and safety advice, view your medical record securely and download your NHS COVID Pass.


COVID-19 Services

Please see our Coronavirus Helpdesk for the latest information on the coronavirus and vaccination advice.



Annual Flu Vaccine

If you received an invitation and have not yet had your Annual Flu Vaccine, please contact the medical centre on 01395 441 212 after 10.00 am, Monday to Friday, to make an appointment with one of our nursing team.

A patient receiving a vaccination

Christmas 2021 and New Year 2022

Budleigh Salterton Medical Centre will be closed on:

  • Monday 27th December 2021 (Bank Holiday in lieu of Christmas Day)
  • Tuesday 28th December 2021 (Bank Holiday in lieu of Boxing Day)
  • Monday 3rd January 2022 (Bank Holiday in lieu of New Year Day)

On all other days our opening hours of 8.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday, will remain the same.

We take this opportunity to wish all our patients a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year.