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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]

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?


Over recent months, the entire health service has been under strain.  Family doctors are usually the first point of contact for patients and GP practices have been under immense pressure.  The same pressures that you read about affecting workloads in A&E and hospital’s, are also affecting General Practice, please read the following information and consider your options carefully before calling the surgery.


On the morning of Monday 9th April, in the same day Duty Surgery, 112 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. However we are pleased to say that we have recruited a new GP who is due start at the surgery 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 this information 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


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


top Smoking Service

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

Stop 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'.


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.


Self Help for Stress


Stress is our emotional and physical response to pressure.  That pressure can arise from external factors including life events, illness (ourselves or someone close to us) living conditions, work, home and family, study, lack of some necessity, or the demands we place on ourselves.  Even those events which we see as enjoyable can be stressful, such as holidays, moving home, starting a better job, pregnancy, parenthood, Christmas etc.


Stress can be shown through our:




Emotions – irritable, bad tempered, anxious, angry, depressed


Physical sensations – Heart racing, breathing faster, tense muscles, hot and sweaty, headaches, more forgetful, agitated, bladder or bowel problems.


Behaviour – Unable to settle, sleep disturbances, shouting, arguing, eating more or less, drinking more, using drugs, smoking more, crying.


Try to identify what is making you stressed

  •  Where am I when I am feeling stressed? What am I doing? Who am I with? 
  • What helpful changes could I make? 
  • What is within my control? 
  • Even if there is little you can do about some situations, maybe making small changes – in routine, in the way you handle things, doing things differently, taking time out, thinking an=bout it in a different way, in getting help, seeking advice – could all make a difference. 

Doing things differently

  • Do something different (to what you normally do)
  • Make time for yourself each day – relaxation, fun, enjoyment.  Create a healthy balance – allow extra for activities which give you a sense of achievement, those that give a sense of closeness to others, and a sense of enjoyment.  When stressed, it’s often the case we spend more time doing things that help us achieve, but less of enjoyment and closeness to others.  Aim for a healthy balance.

For more information please visit the following website:




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


NHS Health Checks


What is an NHS Health Check?

The NHS Health Check is a health check-up for adults in England aged 40-74. It’s designed to spot early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes or dementia.  As we get older, we have a higher risk of developing one of these conditions.  An NHS Health Check helps find ways to lower this risk.


How do I get an NHS Health Check?

If you are aged 40-74 and you have no pre-existing health conditions, you can expect to receive a letter from your GP inviting you for a free NHS Health Check every five years.


Once you have had your NHS Health check, your healthcare professional will discuss your results with you.  You will be given advice to help you lower your risk of a stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes or dementia, and maintain or improve your health. 


Men’s Health

Research shows that men compared to women are more likely to smoke and drink alcohol and generally lead less healthy lifestyles.  In addition, men are more likely to put off routine check-ups and are less likely to seek help even if they are experiencing symptoms.


Five health symptoms men shouldn’t ignore

  • A lump on your testicle – if you notice a lump or an abnormality in your testicles please see your GP, most lumps are not cancerous, but it is vital to get any abnormalities checked.
  • Trouble urinating – only men have a prostate gland.  When the prostate becomes enlarged, it can press on the tube that carries urine from the bladder.  This can make it hard to pass urine and can be a sign of prostate disease.
  • Feeling depressed – If you’re depressed, you may lose interest in things you used to enjoy.  If you have been having feelings of extreme sadness contact your GP.  Depression is a real illness with real effects on your work, social and family life.  Treatment can include, self-help, talking therapies and medication.
  • Impotence – Half of all men over the age of 40 have had trouble getting an erection at least once. Generally, lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and exercise, can correct the problem.  However some men may need medication such as sildenafil(also known as Viagra)
  • Moles – Check you moles regularly and be aware of any changes in colour or shape, or if they start bleeding.  Most changes are harmless are due to a non-cancerous increase of pigment cells in the skin, but it’s important to get any abnormal or itchy moles checked by your GP.

Cervical Screening (Smear tests)


A smear test is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix.  Cervical screening isn’t a test for cancer; it’s a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix.

The aim of the NHS cervical screening programme is to reduce the number of women who develop cancer.  All women who are registered with a GP are invited for cervical screening.


  • aged 25 to 49 – every three years
  • aged 50 to 64 – every five years
  • over 65 – only women who haven't been screened since age 50 or those who have recently had abnormal tests

If you think you are due a smear test but haven’t yet received an invitation, please call the surgery and the receptionist will be able to advise you    when your next smear test is due.


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 717 030) 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.


GP Appointment – Can’t make it? Don’t need it?




76,402 – Missed appointments in Wiltshire in 12 months


Equates to an average of 29 missed GP appointments per practice per week                      

This leads to wasted £2.7 million pounds of public money and wasted practitioner time


The money could be spent on:


324 Heart Bypasses               2,853 Cataract Operations


711 Treatments for stokes


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 Records from 1st April 2017

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 Your Health Record


What is your health record?

Your health record contains all the clinical information about the care you receive.  When you need medical assistance it is essential that clinicians can securely access your health record. This allows them to have the necessary information about your medical background to help them identify the best way to help you. This information may include your medical history, medications and allergies.


Why is sharing important?

Health records about you can be held in various places, including your GP practice and any hospital where you have had treatment. Sharing your health record will ensure you receive the best possible care and treatment wherever you are and whenever you need it. Choosing not to share your health record could have an impact on the future care and treatment you receive. Below are some examples of how sharing your health record can benefit you:


  • Sharing your contact details -This will ensure you receive any medical appointments without delay
  • Sharing your medical history -This will ensure emergency services accurately assess you if needed
  • Sharing your medication list-This will ensure that you receive the most appropriate medication
  • Sharing your allergies-This will prevent you being given something to which you are allergic
  • Sharing your test results -This will prevent further unnecessary tests being required

Is my health record secure? 

Yes. There are safeguards in place to make sure only organisations you have authorised to view your records can do so. You can also request information regarding who has accessed your information from both within and outside of your surgery.

Can I decide who I share my health record with?

Yes. You decide who has access to your health record. For your health record to be shared between organisations that provide care to you, your consent must be gained.


Can I change my mind? 

Yes. You can change your mind at any time about sharing your health record, please just let us know.


Can someone else consent on my behalf?

If you do not have capacity to consent and have a Lasting Power of Attorney, they may consent on your behalf. If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney, then a decision in best interests can be made by those caring for you.


What about parental responsibility?

If you have parental responsibility and your child is not able to make an informed decision for themselves, then you can make a decision about information sharing on behalf of your child. If your child is competent then this must be their decision.


What is your Summary Care Record?

Your Summary Care Record contains basic information including your contact details, NHS number, medications and allergies. This can be viewed by GP practices, Hospitals and the Emergency Services. If you do not want a Summary Care Record, please ask your GP practice for the appropriate opt out form. With your consent, additional information can be added to create an Enhanced Summary Care Record. This could include your care plans which will help ensure that you receive the appropriate care in the future.


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 Sue, 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 CQC last inspection of the surgery was in December 2016 and the full report can be viewed on the Porch Surgery Website.


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.


Staff News

Goodbyes: Helen Paish, Practice Manager left the Porch Surgery at the end of December after working at the surgery for 27 years, she will be greatly missed by all staff and patients and we wish her well in the future.


The Porch welcomes: James Bury, Practice Manger joined the surgery in January














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