This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some cookies on this site are essential, and the site won't work as expected without them. Read More

General Enquiries: 01249 712232
Appointments: 01249 713019
Cancel Appointments: 01249 717030
Fax: 01249 701389

Out of Hours: 
NHS 111

Beechfield Road, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 9DL [Map]


Welcome to the Spring/Summer edition of the PPG Newsletter.


Pressures on the NHS including General Practice

There has been a huge amount in the media highlighting the pressures on A&E departments and hospitals. Less coverage has been given to the pressure on general practice but the forces working on secondary care (hospitals) are identical in primary care (general practice). Here are a few facts about general practice:-

  • In England, over 300 million consultations take place in general practice every year – 80 million more each year than took place in 1995. In the past 5 years alone there has been a 15% increase in consultation numbers.
  • The average member of the public sees a GP approximately six times every year – twice as much as a decade ago. On average an older person sees their GP more than once a month.
  • Spending on GP services increased by 10.2% between 2006/7 – 2010/11 – compared to a 41.9% increase in spending on the hospital services.


How does this all translate into what is happening in Corsham?


For example: One Monday in March, in the same day Duty Surgery, 120 patients were contacted by phone and many were then seen in the surgery face to face. In order to cope with the rising demand overall and especially for same day advice, doctors spend a good part of the duty surgery phoning patients. Quite a number of these patients had self-limiting illnesses (An illness or condition which will either resolve on its own or which has no long-term harmful effect on a person's health.) or could have been dealt with by seeking advice from a Pharmacist. On some sessions we have a Minor Illness Nurse who is able to see and prescribe for minor illnesses but nurse appointments are in equally high demand.

The rise in demand for same day contact means that more of the doctors’ time is spent on the duty sessions which results in fewer routine appointments available to pre-book which then puts more pressure on the duty system so it is a vicious circle. We have been under-staffed in doctor and nurse time for the last 6 months despite our best efforts to recruit. Fortunately we have secured some new staff starting in the summer.

What can you do to help us?

  • Provide receptionists with a brief idea of your problem this will help them signpost you to the appropriate appointment.
  • Use the on-line resources available such as NHS choices (www.nhs.uk) Patient UK and, for children and teenagers, Healthier Together (www.what0-18.nhs.uk)
  • Talk to a Pharmacist first about minor ailments such as sore throats, sticky eyes and fungal infections as they can often advise and treat these problems with over the counter medication.
  • If you have had a fall or accident and have a wound needing attention or think you may have broken a bone, please attend the Minor Injury Unit at Chippenham Hospital.
  • Please don’t expect to cover more than one problem in one consultation even if you come rarely to the surgery. It is unfair on the patients waiting after you – and on the doctor.
  • If you are unable to attend a booked appointment, PLEASE TELEPHONE OUR 24 HOUR CANCELLATION LINE ON 01249 717030.


So, in summary..

General practice is in crisis right now, right here in Wiltshire. At The Porch we have always taken pride in giving an excellent service to all our patients. However, we must provide the appropriate service based on medical need and to do this with limited resources may reduce convenience to some patients.


We hope that the information above will help you understand the pressures we are operating under. Be assured that all the staff at the Practice are dedicated to providing the best service we can within the current challenging circumstances.




Keeping yourself healthy is extremely important and below are some guidelines to help you to do this.


What you can do to stay well


If you are unwell get help early from your Pharmacy or by calling 111


Use the right service when you need them


Live a healthier lifestyle by losing weight, stopping smoking and being more active




Active Health

This scheme provides a variety of physical activity opportunities.  To access this scheme, please speak to your GP.  www.wiltshire.gov.uk/activehealth



One You Website

There is lots of helpful advice and information on smoking, drinking, eating, moving, sleeping and on stress on the NHS One You website: www.nhs.uk/oneyou



Health Trainer Programme

Health trainers help adults lead healthier lives by supporting them to build their self-confidence, eat healthier, be more active, stop smoking or drink less. www.wiltshire.gov.uk/healthtrainers



Stop Smoking Service

Free friendly, non-judgemental advice for anyone who wants to stop using tobacco. www.wiltshire.stopsmoking.co.uk

Smoking Now!

Did you know that if you smoke, quitting cigarettes is one of the best things you can do to improve your health. Smoking rates are continuously declining but over 18% of adults in England continue to smoke which results in almost 80,000 premature deaths a year.

If you would like help with quitting smoking we currently offer a smoking clinic which is held weekly.

We offer a 12 week course to assist patients to quit smoking. At the appointment our Smoking Cessation Adviser will offer you support and guidance in how to quit smoking.

A number of NRT (Nicotine Replacement therapy) products and medication are available on prescription, and if these are required they will be ready for collection within 2 days after the initial appointment.

Appointments for the smoking clinic are made by telephoning the appointments line in the usual way.


The initial appointment is 30 minutes with follow ups of 15 minutes in person or telephone preferably every 2 weeks.


Make sure you choose the right     service


Self Care

  • The best choice for minor illnesses
  • Keep a well stocked medicine cabinet, guidance can be found at: www.nhs.uk/livewell/pharmacy
  • Visit www.patient.co.uk
  • This website is an online resource loaded with tips and advice on the different self care options and help about treating minor ailments.


  • Talk in confidence, without an appointment 
  • They offer expert advice on minor ailments such as coughs and colds, earaches, skin rashes and sore throats 
  • Some can provide services such as Chlamydia testing, emergency contraception and stop smoking services. 



Visit your GP when:

  • Illnesses aren’t responding to self-care or advice from pharmacists
  • When you are suffering a persistent illness
  • When you have  a ‘flareup’ of a long standing      illness
  • When you are in need of any vaccinations


NHS 111

  • Call 111 if you need medical help but it’s not a 999 emergency, NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free – dial 111
  • You think you may need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • You need health information or reassurance about what to do next.


Minor Injury Unit/Walk in Centre

  • No appointments are necessary
  • Can treat a variety of injuries such as sprains, strains, minor cuts and fractures



Visit A&E or call the 999 ambulance service for emergencies that are critical or life threatening such as:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Persistent chest pain
  • Acute confused state
  • Fits that are not stopping
  • Bleeding that cannot be stopped


Not sure what to do when your child is unwell?

Why not download the free HANDI app.


The HANDi App aims to provide advice and support to parents and carers when your child is unwell.

It offers simple and straightforward advice on what to do and who to contact, including illness-specific home assessment guidelines for six common childhood illnesses:

  • Diarrhoea and vomiting 
  • High temperature
  • Chesty baby (Bronchiolitis)
  • Chesty child (Wheeze and Asthma)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Common newborn problems


Each of the six illnesses has a home care plan to help you provide the best support for your child, and give you confidence in caring for them when they are unwell.


You can download the HANDi App for Android phones at Google Play.

If you have an iPhone or iPad you can download it from the iPhone app store or iTunes, using the search term 'HANDi App'.


NHS Wiltshire’s challenges


Long term conditions (LTC)

  • Over 75,000 people live in Wiltshire with a LTC
  • 50% of GP appointments are for LTC’s
  • 70% of days spent in hospital beds are for LTC’s
  • 70% of hospital and primary care budgets are used to care for people with LTC’s


Increasing costs

  • People are living longer but with more health conditions
  • Treatment costs are rising
  • Growing population and increased public expectations
  • Requirement for a 7 day NHS across GP practices



Future cuts

  • Annual funding is less than needed to meet demand
  • Impact of cuts to social care services
  • £100 million gap across Wiltshire, BANES and Swindon in 2017


Professional shortage

  • National shortage across health and social care including GP’s particularly in Wiltshire
  • Reliance on agency workers
  • Demand outstripping capacity 

Ageing population  

  • Over 480,000 in Wiltshire
  • 22% are over 65
  • 3% are over 85


Mental Health – Live Well

Low mood and depression

Low mood and depression – difficult events can leave us all in low spirits and can cause depression.  It could be relationship problems, bereavement, sleep problems, stress at work, bullying, chronic illness or pain.

Sometimes it is possible to feel low without any obvious reason.


What’s the difference between low mood and depression?

Low mood can include:

  • Sadness
  • Feeling anxious
  • Worry
  • Tiredness
  • Low self esteem
  • Frustration and anger


A low mood tends to lift after a few weeks, if it doesn’t go away this may be a sign of depression.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Low mood lasting two weeks or more
  • Not getting any enjoyment of life
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling tired or lacking in energy
  • Not being able to concentrate on everyday things such as reading the newspaper, watching television
  • Comfort eating or losing your appetite
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Having suicidal thoughts or thinking of harming yourself


For more information please viist the following website:



If you need to talk to someone about something that’s troubling you, or are worried about your mental health call the Samaritans on

08457 90 90 90 www.wiltshire.gov.uk/mentalhealthwellbeing

Counselling services

When should you get help?

It is advisable to seek help when your negative feeling won’t disappear, if you feel you need to access counselling services this can be done without a referral from your GP by calling Wiltshire IAPT service on: 01380 731 335


Wiltshire IAPT Service offers a wide range of support from psycho-educational courses to one to one intervention as they realise everyone’s needs and preferences are different.

For more information please visit the following website:



Counselling services for young people – Kooth


Kooth is an online counselling service available for young people. It is a free, anonymous, confidential website where young people can go for help.  They offer drop in chats, booked sessions, and themed message forums, it is all web based and can be accessed by visiting www.kooth.com

The service is available Monday – Friday 12noon until 10.00pm and weekends 6:00pm - 10:00pm.



Help for Older People- The Silver Line


What is The Silver Line?

The Silver Line Helpline is the only national, free and confidential helpline for older people open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.  They offer information, advice and friendship through their helpline and services.


Who is The Silver Line for?

The Silver Line is a helpline for older people and most of the people they speak to are over the 60.


Other services offered

  • Telephone friendship – a weekly 30 minute call between an older person and a Silver Line friend volunteer.
  • Silver Letters – a fortnightly exchange of a letter between an older person and a volunteer Silver Line Friend
  • Silver Circles – a call between a group of older people on a shared interest or topic, taking place each week for 60 minutes.
  • Silver Line Connects – help with informing and connecting an older person with national and local services.


How can I join The Silver Line?

Simply call the national, free and confidential helpline at any time of the day and night 0800 4 70 80 90 or visit www.thesilverline.org.uk



Making an appointment


We have a variety of routine appointments between the hours of 8.10 and 11.50am, and 2.40 pm and 6.10pm which are bookable up to 3 weeks in advance.

We also offer routine GP appointments and nurse appointments on alternative Saturday mornings.  Once a week we provide an early surgery (7.15am start) and a late surgery (appointments until 7.30pm)


The telephone lines are extremely busy, especially during the morning.  If you wish to make a routine appointment to see a doctor, you can also book an appointment on-line – if you have filled out the relevant application form.  For more information see ‘Access to On-Line services’.


Appointment cancellations                            


We are continually working hard to reduce the appointments wasted each year. As a patient it is your responsibility to cancel an appointment in good time so it can be released for others to use. 


Please use our cancellation line (01249 717030) which operates 24hours/7days a week for any unwanted appointments.  This will ensure the appointment can be offered to someone else who needs it.

Alternatively if you have a System Online account you can cancel your appointment online.



Waiting times


Clinicians do occasionally run late and this may be due a variety of factors:


  • The most common reason for running late is that several patients have come with either very complex or multiple problems.  Remember 10 minutes is all that is allocated and only one problem is realistic in that time frame - you should prioritise what needs to be dealt with today.  We are dealing with complex human beings who we are trying to do our best for – you are one of them! 
  • Urgent extras happen every single day and need to be seen – these are squeezed into a non existent time between appointments.  They are never convenient! 
  • Urgent house calls are sometimes needed and can be in the middle of a booked surgery.  These often take a minimum of 30 minutes and disrupt appointments. 
  • We receive urgent phone calls throughout the day, either from patients, relatives, hospital, doctors, district nurses, pharmacists, laboratories or care homes.  Again these take time. 
  • We are often in the position of breaking bad news to some of you.  Maybe even the worst news of all, if that person was you, would you want us to get you out the door as quickly as possible, when your world has fallen apart? 
  • We do not stop seeing patients because all of the appointments are full.  Every single day each doctor and nurse sees multiple ‘extra’ patients with no appointment, and this often means that they are late home to spend time with their own family. 




Our Practice is committed to providing a safe, comfortable environment where patients and staff can be confident that best practice is being followed at all times and the safety of everyone is of paramount importance


All patients are entitled to have a chaperone present for any consultation, examination or procedure where they feel one is required. This chaperone may be a family member or friend.  On occasions you may prefer a formal chaperone to be present, i.e. a trained member of staff.



Access to Online Services

We are pleased to be able to offer our patients a variety of on-line services. 


What are On-line Services?

By accessing this facility you can:

  • Order repeat prescriptions
  • Book routine GP Appointments
  • Cancel appointments
  • Update your contact details
  • View your Summary Care Record (medication and allergies)
  • View your Medical Record Detailed Read Coded entries



How do I access these services?

Due to the confidential nature of this facility, all patients requesting access will need to read the Patient Access to On-line Services Terms and Conditions leaflet and complete an application form.

Where can I find these documents?

  • Reception staff will be able to supply you with the information
  • Downloadable from the practice web site: www.porchsurgery.nhs.uk under our documents





All members of the Porch team work to the strictest levels of confidentiality and data protection.  We can only share information with a third party (husband/wife/partner/friend) if we have your written consent.  Some patients find this a convenient option for getting test results.


A form is also available for completion from the reception desk.


Your Medical Records – Your Choice


Sharing in and Sharing out (E.D.M.S. Enhanced Data Sharing Model)


Our G.P.’s feel this initiative is in the best interest of patient safety when they are accessing care by external Health Care Professionals but in view of the amount of sensitive data involved, which potentially is everything on a patients record, the Partners believe that patients should be afforded the opportunity to make an informed choice and provide explicit consent.


Sharing in and out is a national initiative for Primary and Secondary Care patients registered on SystmOne which is the same database and clinical computer system that The Porch Surgery uses.


What does it mean?


Sharing out

All data on the Medical Record, including consultations, (unless marked private) can be shared with other NHS care services where a patient is being treated.  For example, if a patient needs to be seen by the ‘Out of Hours’ Service and has consented to “share out”, the Out of Hours clinicians would be able to see the entire medical records which enables them to have a full picture of all the elements that could affect treatment.


Sharing in:

This controls whether the patient agrees to the Porch Surgery receiving information from other NHS care services involved in their care.  For example, if a patient has been receiving care by a member of the Community Team and they have consented to “share in”; the GP will be able to see what care has been provided by the Community Team.


If you choose to make your record shareable, your clinical details will only be viewable by clinical teams who are treating you.  Each clinical team which cares for you now or in the future will ask your permission to view your shared record.  If there are elements of your record that you would not like to be shared you can ask for part of your record to be made private – not shareable.


Summary Care Record

In 2012 the NHS sent a letter to all households in England to advise that they were creating a summary care record for every patient.


This can be accessed by authorised clinicians. The intention is to support safe treatment in an emergency when the G.P. surgery is closed or when a patient is unable to attend their own surgery.


What’s included? Allergies, current medication and previous adverse reactions to any medication.


What are the security assurances?

  • Access by the clinician is via a smartcard with a chip and pin.
  • Access by the clinician is recorded on an audit trail.
  • If the patient is conscious they will be asked permission for access.


Patients are automatically opted in but have the choice to opt out.


Any patient wishing to opt out may do so by visiting The Porch Surgery website:

www.porchsurgery.co.uk:  Summary Care Record, Opt out form.  Download the form, complete it and return it to reception.



Friends and Family Test


What is it?  The Friends and Family Test (FFT) is an important feedback tool that supports the fundamental principle that people who use NHS services should have the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience.


It asks people if they would recommend the services they have used and offers a range of responses. When combined with supplementary follow-up questions, the FFT provides a mechanism to highlight both good and poor patient experience. 


The FFT was launched in the surgery in December 2014 and is proving to be a very valuable source of feedback.  Feedback from our patients is updated regularly and this can be found on our website and the PPG noticeboard.




We are proud to announce that the Porch Surgery has been recently awarded ‘Gold Plus’ accreditation by Wiltshire Investors in Carers for the support offered to our patients who declare themselves to be carers.


Who is a carer?

A Carer is a parent, a child, a partner, a neighbour or a friend.  But what makes them a Carer too is down to how much more than the 'norm' they are doing for someone else.

A Carer is someone who provides help and support to a family member or friend who could not manage without their help.  This could be due to age, disability, physical or mental illness, substance misuse or eating disorder. 


They might be helping with everyday household tasks, preparing their meals, making appointments for them, helping with tablets or other treatments. Perhaps they have to help them get dressed and carry out day to day things that most of us take for granted.

They may even be giving them this care and support 24/7.


Do you think you are a Carer?

If you have any questions related to Carers, please feel free to contact Louise, our Carer Co-ordinator, on 01249 712232 or collect a ‘Carers pack’ from our reception desk.

Carer Support Wiltshire is a Wiltshire-wide charity supporting people who care for family members and friends. Caring can be difficult and frustrating; they understand carer’s needs and are able to signpost to a whole range of support services and activities.

All the services offered are both free and confidential.

The surgery holds carer clinics. The clinics offer a well-being check for carers. Afternoon tea meetings are also organised, these meetings are designed to be informal but informative as we recognise time is a precious commodity. 


At the meetings there is an opportunity to meet members of the Porch team and local representatives are also invited to attend the meeting to provide advice and support relevant to carers.

Carer Support Wiltshire - Freephone: 0800 181 4118

Or 01380 871690 If you are a carer or are cared for by someone, please let us know.  This is useful information to be recorded on your medical records. 


Patient Participation Group


We are fortunate to have an active Patient Participation Group where the retired population is well represented.  The PPG would like to engage with any underrepresented and seldom heard groups.  This would include patients with mental health conditions or groups with protected characteristics as identified in the Equality Act 2010 (Age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation).


If you would like some more information, please contact Liz Dawson at the surgery.


Porch Web Site





We have a lot of useful information on our web site which is continually updated with any news or changes.


If you don’t have access to a computer in your home you can use a computer free of charge in the library.


Care Quality Commission (CQC)

CQC are the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

They make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care.

They monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure care services meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and they publish what they find, including performance ratings to help people choose care.

The Porch Surgery last had an inspection in October 2016 and the report can be found following a link on our website.


Shingles Vaccine


Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the chicken pox virus in a person previously infected with chicken pox. It is not known what causes the virus to reactivate but is usually associated with conditions that can depress the immune system such as immunosuppressive therapy, HIV infection and older age. The incidence of shingles increases with age. In the UK this is estimated to be around 790 to 880 cases per 100,000 people per year for people aged 70-79.



Shingles often begins with a burning sensation in the skin, followed by a rash of painful fluid-filled blisters that can then burst and turn into sores before healing.  Often an area on just one side of the body is affected, usually the chest but sometimes the head, face and eye.


Eligibility for the shingles vaccine:

AGE: The age you will be on the 1st September 2016


Dates of Birth


Are You eligible Yes/No


On or after 2 September 1946



Between 2nd September 1945 and 1st September 1946

Yes √


Between 2nd September 1944 and 1 September 1945

Yes √


Between 2nd September 1943 and 1st September 1944

Yes √

74 to 77

Between 2nd September 1939 and 1st September 1942

No  X


Between 2nd September 1937 and 1st September 1938

Yes √


Between 2nd September 1936 and 1st September 1937

Yes √

80 or over

Born on or before 1st September 1936

No  X


If you are in any of the age groups overleaf and have not yet been vaccinated, please make an appointment at the surgery.

Whooping cough vaccination in pregnancy  

It is recommended that all pregnant women should get vaccinated against whooping cough (pertussis). Bookings to have this vaccination can be taken from week 20 of your pregnancy.  However the vaccination is also available for new mothers up to two months after the birth of their baby.  This is a new recommendation, as there has been a sharp rise in the number of whooping cough cases in the UK.

If this applies to you and you would like to be vaccinated please contact the surgery for an appointment.


Pneumococcal Vaccine

Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by the Streptococcus pneumonia (S. pneumonia) bacterium, also known as pneumococcus. Infection can result in pneumonia, infection of the blood (bacteraemia/sepsis), middle-ear infection (otitis media), or bacterial meningitis.


Over 65’s: For most over 65’s this is a one off vaccination, unless they don’t have a spleen or are susceptible to infection in which case they have one approximately every 5 years.  Any such requests are to be referred to your GP.

To be eligible for this vaccine you need to be born on or before 31.03.1952. If you haven’t had your shingles vaccination the reception team will be happy to book you an appointment.


Holiday time travel advice

Spring has arrived and some of us are fortunate enough to start planning ahead for summer holidays.  From travel insurance to vaccinations, here’s what you need to think about before you travel.


Start preparing for your holiday four to six weeks before you go.  Read the latest health and safety advice for the country you’re travelling to using:


  • Find out if you need any travel vaccines and make sure you are up to date.  If diseases such as malaria are at risk, you may need to start treatment before travelling. 
  • Prepare a kit of travel essentials, including sunscreen, painkillers and antiseptic.
  • Sun protection – when choosing sunscreen the bottles label should have ‘UVA’ in a circle logo and at least four stars UVA protection.
  • Travel insurance – whether you are travelling for six months or a family holiday to Spain for two weeks, it’s vital to have the right travel insurance.  Make sure your policy covers your destination and the duration of your stay, as well as any specific activities you might do.
  • When travelling in Europe, make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

For more adventurous travel and depending on where you’re going you could consider:

  • Anti-diarrhoea medication
  • Rehydration sachets
  • Anti-malaria medication
  • Mosquito net
  • Water disinfectant

For country-specific health and safety advice, go to:



Brunel Shed Update


A quick reminder of what we are about...

The Brunel shed will be a larger version of the typical man’s shed in the garden – a place where he feels at home and pursues practical interests with a high degree of independence. The Brunel shed offers this to men and women where members share the tools and resources they need to work on their own projects and also projects that benefit the community. Our shed will be a place to enhance or learn new skills from others, of purpose, achievement and social interaction. A Shed’s activities usually involve making or mending in wood (e.g. carpentry, joinery, turning, carving,  furniture renovation) but may include activities as varied as bike repair, gardening, upholstery, model engineering, turning in plastics, etc, Reclamation, reuse and restoration generally feature strongly.

The “Shed” is in the Pockeridge and Potley Community Centre, Pockeridge Road, Corsham SN13 9SB

Sheds are becoming quite a force to reckon with across the country.  Currently there are 369 Sheds up and running (with another 103 in development) and over 7300 members from every part of the UK – Orkney to St Austell.


Closer to home our very own Brunel Shed (which is open to men and women) won a trophy at the recent Community First award ceremony for “Most innovative community project.”  Dave Wilson kindly received it on behalf of the Shed and they get to keep it for a year (longer if they can win it again next year!)


On the projects front, they are making good progress on the stone mine trolley refurbishment with the aim of having the first one at the Springfield Centre in the summer.  Also, at the Springfield Centre the Shedders will be working with others to install some raised beds and a bench.  Meanwhile at the raised beds near the Shed they have planted one apple tree and will be planting a pear tree soon.


Shedders are always keen to share their knowledge.  If you would like to know more about the Brunel Shed pop along to one of the sessions on Monday mornings 10.00am – 1.00pm or Thursday evenings 7-9pm.  New members are always made welcome.

Email: thebrunelshed@gmail.com

Phone: Ed Brand: 07402 409891


Private Practitioners:

We have a number of Private Practitioners working at our surgery and they are:

Acupuncturist – Bryan Melville

Foot Health Practitioner – Fred Oviatt

Osteopath – Mary Harbert

Physiotherapist - Jayne Clarke

Sports and Remedial Massage Therapist -  Anna Gardiner


For information on all our Private practitioners please visit our website or call the surgery. 


If you are a Private practitioner and are interesting in renting a room at the surgery please call the surgery on 01249 712 232 and ask to speak to the Practice Manager.












Choose font size: A A A


GP Website from Wiggly-Amps Ltd. | Total visitors:293809 | Disclaimer