Worthing surgery celebrates NHS with community

The whole community was involved in a celebration of 70 years of the NHS in Worthing.

The St Lawrence Surgery open day looked back to the early days with a cinema experience and on to the future with demonstrations and information stands.

Nurse manager Julie Clements and Dr Marianne Horsley in front of the new BMI machine. Picture: Steve Robards SR1817850

Nurse manager Julie Clements and Dr Marianne Horsley in front of the new BMI machine. Picture: Steve Robards SR1817850

Street doctors and nurses mingled with visitors on Thursday afternoon, answering a variety of health questions.

Josiane Wadey, practice business manager, said: “There has been such a lovely buzz to it, I am so chuffed.

“The street nurses and pharmacists were bombarded with questions and they stayed on late doing health checks.”

The open day was organised with the help of the surgery’s patient participation group, which acts as a valuable link between staff and patients.

Chris Moon-Willems, chairman, said: “We are trying to develop the surgery as a community resource and the open day is an important part of that.

“We are trying very hard to empower the patients and give them the information they need to help themselves.

“We are always looking for new things to do to benefit the patients, such as the singing and walking groups, and we raise money for things the NHS doesn’t provide. We recently bought a portable ECG machine for the doctors to use and that can save a hospital visit.

“I just love this surgery. We don’t want it to be just a GP practice stuck there, we want it to be part of the community. It is a community resource and the idea is to get the community involved.”

Free health checks included the surgery’s new BMI machine, which measures height, weight and blood pressure, replacing the old basic blood pressure machine.

Sarah Rippin, data and quality lead, said: “It gives you an accurate BMI reading on a piece of paper and ideally we want patients to hand that in so we can update their records. It also helps people to monitor their own health.”

Dr Marianne Horsley, who has been a GP for many years, mainly in Durrington, and is currently working at St Lawrence Surgery as a locum, spoke about changes in the NHS over the years.

She said: “The NHS does some amazing stuff. All the healthcare professionals that make up the service now have different skills and we are much better at teamwork. The old days of the family doctor running around doing everything are long gone.

“We have to be on call every day but we have an on-call team, which really helps with the management as patients can be allocated to the right person, depending on the problem.

“There has been a cultural change and often the nurse is the best person to see you. The triage system means the patient can see the right person and that is hugely important.

“It also give the opportunity to do a follow-up on the phone, which we just didn’t have time for before, and that can have a really beneficial effect.”

The on-call team works from one room with four computers and telephones.

Julie Clements, nurse manager, said: “It makes it much more sociable. If someone doesn’t know the answer, others can share their knowledge.”

Other health professionals at the open day included the Prevention Assessment Team, which supports the health and wellbeing of adults of all ages. There are three teams for West Sussex, with the southern team covering from Portslade to Littlehampton.

Laura Wright, nurse adviser, said: “We have team meetings at the surgeries but individuals can refer themselves to us, too.

“The team is made up of nurses, social care workers and support workers, who help people to be independent in their own home. The idea is early intervention.”

Visitors were also given resuscitation training and there was the chance to see inside an ambulance.

A total of 70 health checks were carried out and 40 per cent of those people needed further action.

Many patients with mental health issues completed their medical passports, which means they will have easier access to the surgery when they are in crisis.

One boy who is terrified of hospitals because his mum has been ill was taken around by his carer and by the end, he was playing football with an ambulanceman. The carer said this had meant so much and had made a great difference to him.

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