Practice Newsletter – November 2022

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Dear Patients,

Having endured the most tumultuous time in its history, Manor Brook has emerged with the same philosophy of caring, striving for high clinical standards, teaching and training, teamwork and community at its core. We have had to change and evolve rapidly to adapt to new ways of working enforced upon us by the pandemic. Remote consulting became the new norm almost overnight to reduce spread of infection and protect the vulnerable. Despite this, we devised ways of seeing patients in person when necessary, designating a section of the surgery with a separate entrance and waiting area as a ‘Red Zone’ where patients with suspected Covid could be examined. Patients were seen outside when feasible to take essential observations such as pulse, temperature and oxygen levels. With such measures we minimised the risks of spread of the disease to our elderly and high risk patients and avoided practice closure due to the virus sweeping through large numbers of practice staff at the same time. We must thank all of you for your understanding, support and tolerance during the pandemic.

The Practice was at the forefront of the Covid vaccination program, overcoming significant logistical problems to run a successful service in partnership with three other local practices at Charlton House. We also participated in mass vaccination days at Charlton Athletic’s football stadium. We would like to thank all involved especially our nurses, pharmacists and administrative staff for their magnificent efforts. Special thanks also to Dr Ruth Marchant, our retired colleague, who undertook many sessions vaccinating both at Charlton House and visiting the housebound.

Whilst technology has made remote consulting possible and more practical, it is not always suitable for certain types of problems or certain patient groups. Consulting this way can be more difficult for both the patient and the doctor and sometimes dilutes the essence of the doctor-patient relationship. Accordingly, we have steadily been seeing more patients in person and are opening up more appointments for direct face to face booking without the need for telephone triage by a doctor or nurse beforehand.

We currently face a number of new challenges. In addition to managing ongoing covid related work, there has been a surge in demand for other types of problems which people have been holding back during the pandemic. This has been compounded by longer waits for appointments in secondary care during which time people often have to consult their GP more frequently. As a result there is considerable pressure on appointments and we are aware of the difficulties sometimes faced by patients when booking appointments or trying to get through on the telephone. This was highlighted by our recent patient survey in which continued high levels of satisfaction with the consultation experience were not always matched by the experience when booking appointments. For further details of our survey, please see the Practice Overview (

To combat this we have just installed a new internet based telephone system which will give more information about waiting times, place in the queue and give the option for a call back from the practice in turn. We are also offering more pre-bookable appointments that can be booked online and the use of the E-consult tool on our website provides an alternative route of access.

To increase appointment availability, we are also participating in an enhanced access scheme with our partner practices in our Primary Care Network. This will provide additional GP and nursing appointments on weekday evenings until 20:00 and Saturdays 09:00-17:00 on a rotating basis at each of the four practices (Vanbrugh Group Practice, Fairfield Surgery, Blackheath Standard Surgery and Manor Brook).

We also now offer increasing numbers of appointments with other healthcare professionals. Our clinical pharmacists are invaluable at undertaking medication monitoring and reviews. We have expert physiotherapists who can provide initial assessments for a variety of musculoskeletal problems and arrange referrals if further investigation and longer term treatment is needed. We also have a mental health worker and social prescriber (someone who helps to link with community services that promote health and wellbeing such as stopping smoking services and weight management support). The social prescribing team can also help patients who may be experiencing difficulties with issues such as housing, financial pressures and social isolation. They also provide a youth coach service for patients under the age of 18 who may benefit from the support of community activities and teams.

The pandemic has led many to reflect on their role and the last year has seen a much greater number of staff changes than we are used to. Three of our most senior doctors with over sixty years of service in the practice between them, Dr Juliet Millwaters, Dr Kirstin McKee and Dr Sarah Weild have left to take on new challenges either in medicine or other spheres. Dr Chris McGurk has also left us to spend a year abroad. We wish them every success in their new ventures and would like to thank all of them for their outstanding contribution to the practice.

We are fortunate to have recruited four new doctors to the team. Dr Suhani Jahan and Dr Ben Stevens have both previously worked at Manor Brook during their postgraduate training and we are happy they have now joined us on a permanent basis. We are equally delighted to welcome two new members to the team, Dr Emesha Seneviratne and Dr Anna Morris.

Dr Akua Gyekye is currently on maternity leave and we are grateful to Dr Lynsey Gawn and Dr Osman Lee for covering her surgeries during this period.

Our nurses, led by Lindsey Wood are also involved in teaching and training. After completion of a ‘return to nursing’ placement at Manor Brook, Tracy Neofitou has joined the team. We congratulate our healthcare assistant Sharon Byrne on commencing her nursing training and are delighted that Laura Porter, one of our reception staff is training to take over her duties.

Our reception staff, led by Eve Denby, IT staff, led by Harinder Ganger and our finance and HR manager Dorothea Sanger continue to rise to the challenge of the many duties expected of them and we are immensely grateful to them all for their hard work and loyalty to the practice.

Whilst realistic about the difficulties ahead, we look forward to next year with cautious optimism and continued resolve to provide the best care possible.

Best wishes,
Dr Jonathan Kingston