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Missed GP appointments cost up to £250k in just one month!

Missed appointments with GPs, practice nurses and other healthcare professionals cost the Fylde coast NHS up to £250,000 last month.

There were 6,893 occasions where people didn’t turn up to their appointment across the region’s 36 practices in December 2017. A missed GP appointment costs on average £36, meaning missed appointments last month could have cost almost £250,000. At current costs, £250,000 could fund:

  • 12 nurses, or
  • 29 heart bypasses, or
  • 45 hip replacements.

The missed appointments also amounted to 1,149 hours of wasted time.

Following the release of this statistic, GPs across the Fylde coast have called on people across the area to cancel any appointments they do not wish to attend.

Dr John Calvert, a Blackpool GP and Clinical Advisor at NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We know that in this modern age people lead very busy lives and sometimes forget about appointments.

“But missed appointments in general practice cost a great deal of time and money at a time when we are desperately short of both.

“And for those patients who do have an appointment booked that they do not need, someone else could make use of that appointment rather than having to wait.

“All we ask is that if you have an appointment booked and for whatever reason you no longer need it or you can’t make it, please call and let us know so we can give that appointment to somebody else.”

Dr Tony Naughton, from The Thornton Practice, who is clinical chief officer at NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG, said: “What is particularly worrying about these figures is that they are from a month when a lot of practices saw a reduction in DNAs (did not attends) and so actually show a better picture than normal.

“If we take this figure and multiply it to cover the year that is around £3million, which is money that could be much better used elsewhere within the health economy.

“We recognise that it may not always be possible for people to notify their practice they are unable to attend, however we would be grateful if you could make every effort to do so as this will allow another patient to be seen.

“With health services facing high levels of demand this winter, this is one way we can all help to protect the NHS. It only takes a minute to make that call.”

One way people across the Fylde coast can help remind themselves of their GP appointments is by using the MyGP app, which is available for patients at all Fylde coast practices to book and cancel appointments.


Missed GP appointments cost between £12 (for an appointment with a nurse) and £36 each. To work out the cost for a month, the total number of missed appointments (6,893) has been multiplied by 36, which equals £248,148.

Breakdown of figures from December 2017:

Number of DNAs (did not attends) in Fylde and Wyre in December 2017: 2,537

  • Ansdell Medical Centre – 85
  • Ash Tree House Surgery, Kirkham – 123
  • Beechwood Surgery, Thornton – 19
  • Broadway Medical Centre, Fleetwood – 311
  • Clifton Medical Practice, St Annes – 111
  • Fernbank Surgery, Lytham – 108
  • Fleetwood Surgery – 244
  • Holland House Surgery, Lytham – 209
  • Kirkham Health Centre – 97
  • Park Medical Practice, St Annes – 46
  • Poplar House Surgery, St Annes – 170
  • Queensway Surgery, Poulton – 82
  • The Lockwood Surgery, Poulton – 79
  • The Mount View Practice, Fleetwood – 423
  • The Old Links Surgery, St Annes – 13
  • Over Wyre Medical Centre – 177
  • The Thornton Practice – 134
  • The Village Practice – 106

Number of DNAs (did not attends) in Blackpool in December 2017: 4,356

  • Abbey-Dale Medical Centre – 156
  • Adelaide Street Family Practice – 404
  • Arnold Medical Centre – 132
  • Bloomfield Medical Centre – 370
  • Cleveleys Group Practice – 224
  • Elizabeth Street Surgery – 236
  • Glenroyd Medical WGD – 249
  • Grange Park Health Centre – 42
  • Highfield Surgery – 353
  • Layton Medical Centre – 218
  • Marton Medical Practice – 233
  • Newton Drive Health Centre – 120
  • North Shore Surgery – 195
  • South King Street Medical Centre – 199
  • St Paul’s Medical Centre – 365
  • Stonyhill Medical Practice – 405
  • The Crescent Surgery – 174
  • Waterloo Medical Centre – 281

Fylde coast residents urged to Act F.A.S.T. over stroke

People living across the Fylde coast have been urged to ‘Act FAST’ if they suspect a friend or loved one is having a stroke.

It comes as health professionals in the area backed a national campaign to remind people of the main symptoms of stroke and importance of calling 999 immediately.

This week sees the national ‘Act FAST’ stroke campaign re-launched by Public Health England, working closely with the Stroke Association.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke and to encourage people who recognise any single one of the symptoms of stroke, in themselves or others, to call 999 immediately.

Stroke kills over 40,000 people a year and leaves around two-thirds of stroke survivors with a disability.

One of the main objectives of the campaign is get people who witness somebody showing stroke symptoms to overcome any initial reluctance to call. They are being asked to ‘Make the Call’ and dial 999.

Research shows that 24% of people would wait to call an ambulance because they wrongly believe that they need to see 2 or more symptoms of stroke to be sure. Other barriers to dialling 999 include feeling that they need permission to act on behalf of others.

Prof Mark O’Donnell, Medical Director at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. said: “NHS stroke care and survival are now at record levels, stroke is very treatable but every minute counts. Knowing when to call 999 when you see any single one of the signs will make a significant difference to someone’s recovery and rehabilitation.

“The F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) acronym has featured in the advertising for a number of years and is a simple test to help people identify the most common signs of a stroke, and to emphasise the importance of acting quickly by calling 999.

“Acting F.A.S.T. as soon as stroke symptoms present themselves can not only save lives but potentially limit long-term effects.

“The sooner somebody who is having a stroke gets urgent medical attention, the better their chances of a good recovery.”

F.A.S.T. teaches people what to look out for in themselves and in others:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time to call 999

There are some of other symptoms that people should be aware of as these may occasionally be due to stroke. These include:

  • Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion
  • Sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other symptoms

A stroke is a ‘brain attack’, caused by a disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. It’s a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. So recognising the signs of stroke and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial

Approximately 110,000 people have a stroke each year in England. It is the third largest cause of death, and the largest cause of complex disability; over half of all stroke survivors are left with a disability.

One of the main objectives of the campaign is get people who witness somebody showing stroke symptoms to overcome any initial reluctance to call. They are being asked to ‘Make the Call’ and dial 999.

Act FAST. Make the Call. Dial 999.


Implementation of revised and updated clinical policies

A revised and updated clinical policy on complementary and alternative therapies and a new policy on rehabilitation after damage to the facial nerve have been approved by NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The policies have been agreed on a Lancashire-wide basis following a public engagement exercise which ensures all patients receive the same level of care wherever they live in the county.

These two clinical policies explain the criteria that must be met in order for these treatments and procedures to be given on the NHS in this area.

GPs and hospital doctors and consultants are required to follow these policies when considering your treatment.

The policies can be found at:

‘Reduce your risk’ of cervical cancer

Women across the Fylde coast have been urged by local health bosses to do their best to prevent cervical cancer.

National charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust has today (Monday 22 January 2018) launched Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, with the theme of ‘reduce your risk’.

And doctors across the Fylde coast have joined the call for women in the area to:

  • Attend cervical screening when invited;
  • Know the symptoms of cervical cancer and seek medical advice if experiencing any;
  • Take up the HPV vaccination if aged 11 to 18;
  • Talk to friends and family to ensure they know how they can reduce their risk;
  • Know where to find support and further information.

Thornton GP Dr Felicity Guest, a clinical member of the NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Governing Body, said: “Cervical cancer can be prevented but still nine women are diagnosed with the disease every day in the UK.

“Cervical screening, or the smear test, is one of the best ways a woman can reduce her risk of cervical cancer. It’s free on the NHS, yet in the UK, one out of four women do not attend their screening when invited.

“Being screened regularly means any abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix can be identified at an early stage and, if necessary, treated to stop cancer developing.”

All women who are registered with a GP are invited for cervical screening every three years if they are aged between 25 and 49 and every five years for those between 50 and 64.

And for anyone who struggles to attend an appointment during the day due to work or childcare commitments can book an evening appointment with the extended access service, based in Freckleton, Fleetwood and Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, by calling their GP practice.

According to figures from Cancer Research UK, across Fylde and Wyre last year 76.3 per cent of women aged 25 to 64 attending their cervical screening when required. This means one in four women did not attend their screening.

In Blackpool, the figure stands at 69.8 per cent.

About 3,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year in the UK.

For more information on cervical screening, visit


Have your say on proposed changes to NHS assisted conception policy

People living across the Fylde coast have been invited to have their say on proposed changes to assisted conception services offered across the county.

The draft policy comes as part of work by the NHS across Lancashire to standardise policies to ensure a consistent and fair approach; update current policies in accordance with National Guidelines and best clinical practice; and to make sure it is using its limited resources to maximum effect.

Along with the other six Lancashire clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), NHS Blackpool and NHS Fylde and Wyre CCGs are now asking the public to let them know what they think of the proposals.

As part of the proposed changes, the revised policy proposes that CCGs in Lancashire would fund one cycle of IVF treatment for women under the age of 42. At present women under 40 across the Fylde coast could receive two cycles of treatment if they meet certain requirements. In Blackpool those aged between 40 and 42 can access one cycle while in Fylde and Wyre this age group has no access.

Full details of the changes can be found within the policy. People are invited to read the revised draft policy on assisted conception and to complete a survey. Public events will take place and details of these will be published as soon as possible.

Dr Tony Naughton, a Thornton GP who is also clinical chief officer for NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG, said: “We need to ensure this is done in an open, fair and transparent way while also taking into account the limited resources we have.

“A key role for the CCGs is to develop clinical policies that help us make decisions about the use of those limited resources.

“I would encourage any resident with an interest in these policies to visit the CCG websites and have their say. I also encourage residents to attend the public events when they are finalised.”

People living in Fylde and Wyre can complete the survey by visiting


Urgent care services on offer across Fylde coast

People living across the Fylde coast are reminded that there are a host of services available to them should they require medical attention.

Following recent improvements to urgent care services in the area, walk-in appointments are now available at both Blackpool Walk-In Centre in Whitegate Drive and the Fleetwood Same Day Health Centre in Dock Street.

These services should be the first port of call for anyone suffering urgent but not life-threatening health problems, such as strains or sprains, suspected broken limbs, minor head injuries, cuts and grazes or bites and stings.

Appointments with healthcare professionals including GPs, nurses and healthcare assistants are also now available in the evenings up until 9.30pm. These can be booked via all GP practices on the Fylde coast.

Local pharmacists are also qualified to deal with many health complaints and can be seen without an appointment.

Anyone unsure of what to do should call the free NHS111 helpline for immediate advice.

Speaking on behalf of the Fylde coast NHS, Fylde coast GP and clinical chief officer at NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Dr Tony Naughton said: “As is often the case at this time of year, our local hospital is experiencing high demand.

“The services in Fleetwood and Whitegate Drive are open every day and can treat people of all ages. They can deal with many of the most common problems people often go to A&E for.

“We would urge everyone to think carefully about where they need to go for health treatment. A&E is for serious problems. People have a wide variety of choices for healthcare and should choose wisely.”

Further details of the urgent care services available can be found at


Pharmacy opening times this Christmas

A good selection of pharmacies on the Fylde coast will be open over Christmas and New Year to offer advice and treatments for minor illnesses and injuries.

Pharmacists are highly trained professionals with a wealth of knowledge of how to deal with common ailments that are prevalent at this time of year. Illnesses such as coughs, colds, stomach bugs, indigestion or hangovers can all be dealt with simple remedies bought over the counter with advice from the pharmacist.

The festive period is traditionally an extremely busy time for the health service with more people suffering injury or illness and automatically going to A&E when they are better off going to places like the Walk-in (Blackpool) or Same Day (Fleetwood) centres. Similarly, GPs see more people making appointments for complaints such as colds which take up time that could be used to see people with more serious conditions which are often made worse by the cold.

It is essential people use the right service so other services are not put under unnecessary pressure.

It is also important to know where to go to get medication if you need a prescription over the festive period.

In Blackpool, all pharmacies will be open on Christmas Eve, however, some pharmacy opening times may vary. Speak to your local pharmacy for more information

The pharmacy at Whitegate Drive Health Centre will be open on Christmas Day from 8am to 9pm.

On Boxing Day, pharmacies will be open at:

  • Whitegate Drive Health Centre, 8am to 9pm
  • Boots, Bank Hey Street, 9am to 5.30pm
  • Lloyds, Sainsbury’s, Red Bank Road, 9am to 6pm
  • Morrison’s Pharmacy, Squires Gate Lane, 10am to 4pm

All pharmacies will be open as normal on New Year’s Eve, however some pharmacy opening times may vary. Speak to your local pharmacy for more information.

On New Year’s Day, pharmacies will be open at:

  • Whitegate Drive Health Centre, 8am to 9pm
  • Lloyds Pharmacy, Sainsbury’s, Red Bank Road, 10am to 4pm
  • Boots, Bank Hey Street, 10am to 5pm

In Fylde and Wyre, all pharmacies will be open on Christmas Eve, however some pharmacy opening times may vary. Speak to your local pharmacy for more information.

On Christmas Day, pharmacies will be open at:

  • Wesham Pharmacy, Station Road, 10am to 1pm
  • Tomlinsons Chemist, Market Square, Lytham, 11am to 2pm

On Boxing Day, pharmacies will be open at:

  • Lloyds Pharmacy, St Andrews Road North, St Annes, 9am to 5pm
  • Boots, Clifton Street, Lytham, 10.30am to 4pm
  • Boots, Victoria Road West, Cleveleys, 10am to 4pm
  • Boots St Annes Road West, Lytham, 10.30am to 4.30pm
  • Morrisons Pharmacy, Amounderness Way, Thornton Cleveleys, 10am to 4pm
  • Asda Pharmacy, Dock Street, Fleetwood, 9am to 6pm

All pharmacies will be open on New Year’s Eve, however some pharmacy opening times may vary. Speak to your local pharmacy for more information.

On New Year’s Day, pharmacies will be open at:

  • Lloyds Pharmacy, St Andrews Road North, St Annes, 9am to 5pm
  • Asda Pharmacy, Dock Street, Fleetwood, 10am to 6pm
  • Morrions Pharmacy, Amounderness Way, Thornton Cleveleys, 10am to 4pm

Speaking on behalf of NHS Fylde and Wyre and NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Groups, Dr John Calvert, a Blackpool GP and Clinical Advisor at NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We really need people to remember that the Accident and Emergency department is strictly for accidents and emergencies.”

“People with minor ailments could face a lengthy wait to be seen and would be better off visiting a pharmacist or looking after themselves at home.

“The other services such as the Walk-In and Same-Day Health Centres should be kept free for those who are in need of treatment for an urgent complaint.

“A&E especially should be kept free those in need of emergency treatment for life-threatening conditions. The festive period is the busiest time of the year for the NHS so it’s important people remember to use the most appropriate service when required.

“Anyone who is feeling unwell and isn’t sure what they should do can always ring 111 for help and advice on where to go and who to see.”

A full list of Christmas opening times for pharmacies and other services across the Fylde Coast is available at

Boost your First Aid skills with the experts

Experts at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are running a series of First Aid courses in 2018 that are open to the public.

Registered with the First Aid Industry Body (FAIB), the one-day courses, costing £50 per person, will run from 9am-4pm with dates in April, June and October next year.

Taking place at Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s award winning Simulation and Skills Centre candidates will, upon completion of the course, be able to better understand the role of the first aider and learn skills such as administering CPR and how to give first aid to casualties who are choking, wounded, bleeding or suffering from shock.

They will also understand the importance of preventing cross infection while providing appropriate assistance for minor injuries.

Attendees will be more confident in assessing situations and circumstances in order to act safely, promptly and effectively in an emergency.

Clare Lloyd-Walden from the Simulation and Skills Centre at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the general public to develop skills and knowledge and to be able to recognise the importance of emergency first aid especially in the current climate.

“The course is taught by the medical education team who are all senior registered Nurses, utilising recognised, simulated scenarios and state of the art CPR manikins.’’

The courses are being run on April 12, June 19 and October 3, 2018.

For more information, or to register your interest, email Clinical Skills at [email protected] or call 01253 953223.


Don’t forget your prescription while Christmas shopping

Many people have already started their Christmas shopping but there’s a good chance some will have left one very important item for themselves off their shopping list.

With Christmas fast approaching, local people with long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, lung and heart disease are being reminded not to leave it too late to get their repeat prescriptions.

Many GP practices and pharmacies will be closed on the bank holidays over Christmas and New Year so it is important people check they have enough medication to avoid requiring urgent medical help during the festive period.

Speaking on behalf of the Fylde coast NHS, Dr Neil Hartley-Smith, a Blackpool GP and Clinical Advisor at NHS Blackpool CCG, said: “People with long-term conditions rely on their prescribed medication to help keep their condition under control.

“So if you or a relative have a long-term condition I’d encourage you to check that you have enough medication to see you through the festive period.

“If not, it is important to order more in good time – then you can get on with enjoying the holiday period in good health!”

The easiest way to order a repeat prescription is by going online. Patient Access can be used by everyone on the Fylde coast to request their medication from the comfort of their home, by using a computer or with a mobile phone or tablet.

Patient Access can also be used to book an appointment with a GP and to view medical records. For more information and to register, visit

Now is also a good time to double check that home medicine cabinets are well stocked with over-the-counter remedies so that minor illnesses and injuries can be managed at home during the festive period.

If you do need medical advice for a minor ailment during the festive period, pharmacies can provide free, expert advice without the need for an appointment. You can also download some self care fact sheets here:


GP receptionists aren’t ‘nosey’ – they want to get you the right appointment

GP receptionists in Fylde and Wyre have been trained to assess patients’ needs by asking for some basic information about why they are calling, to make sure they get the right appointment or treatment.

This may not necessarily be with a GP but could be a practice nurse, health care assistant or community pharmacist. Alternatively, they may be offered a consultation over the phone, or advised to visit a walk in centre.

The system helps identify emergencies and very poorly patients sooner so they can be seen more quickly by the on-call GP rather than waiting for an appointment. It also makes sure practices make the best use of the skills available as not all problems need the skills of a qualified GP.

Practices are also required to have a recorded message of one of their GPs explaining why the person answering the call will ask for details and how this is of benefit to them and the practice.

NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) introduced the requirement for practices to make sure GP time is used to concentrate on the most poorly and make sure patients receive the best possible care in the right place.

Fleetwood GP Dr Adam Janjua, who is also deputy chair of the CCG, said: “In partnership with the CCG, practices across Fylde and Wyre have agreed to train staff to be that first port of call for patients.

“This is great news for patients because the receptionist will make sure they are able to get the right advice or support for their individual needs.

“We need people to understand that when the person who answers the phone at their GP practice asks why they are calling they are not being nosey. This is for a very good reason and will make sure they get the best possible care for their situation.”

Some practices have even created specific ‘healthcare navigator’ or ‘patient advisor’ roles. This person is dedicated solely to ensuring patients are seen by the right person, in the right place at the right time.

The Thornton Practice in Church Road, Thornton-Cleveleys, was one of the first to recruit to a number of ‘patient adviser’ roles.

Practice manager Amy Sissons said: “Our Patient Participation Group assisted in the development of the role and when asking fellow patients for feedback the consensus has been that patients are very accepting of our patient advisers and understand what we are trying to do.

“It has been going really well and the feedback has been positive so far. Our patients are quite happy to use other services that are not always based within the practice where it is appropriate. However we want to reassure patients that the systems in place ensure where it is clinically appropriate patients will get to see a GP.”


  • NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the organisation responsible for planning and buying health services in the area to meet patients’ needs. This is known as ‘commissioning’.
  • Led by family doctors (GPs), the CCG currently serves a population of 152,000 people across approximately 320 sq km of coast and countryside. The majority live in the urban towns of Fleetwood, Thornton, Poulton-le-Fylde, Kirkham and Lytham St Annes, but a significant proportion live in rural villages.
  • The CCG receives a set amount of money from the government and is committed to spending this wisely for the benefit of local people.
  • Giving you more choice is a priority of the modern NHS. More information is available at
  • The NHS Constitution sets out your rights as an NHS patient:
  • There are many ways to get involved in health service developments, including joining our Influence membership scheme or your practice’s patient participation group.