November 2018 Newsletter

There have been many changes at the Health Centre during 2018, the most significant of which was the retirement of Dr Williams in May after 30 years serving the patients of Upwell, Outwell and the surrounding villages. Paul was one of a group of GPs who worked long and hard to modernise the Practice and improve the services we provide. He also was responsible for making Upwell Health Centre a training practice and was so successful that four of the doctors currently working at the surgery first joined us as trainees. In August of this year we were able to join Paul and Amanda on a delightful river cruise to wish them a long, healthy and happy retirement, and I’m sure our patients would want to support us in thanking them for everything they have done for the local community.

We have also welcomed some new staff at the surgery; Debbie Craven is our new Clinical Pharmacist who will be helping the doctors to review patients on long term medications. Meanwhile Mel Marsh has taken over from Sabir as our regular Pharmacist. Our new Nurse Practitioner Penny Burrows has joined our clinical team and many of you will have met her already, and then we have our Paramedic Jake Fretwell who is helping us with triage, seeing patients, and doing home visits.

I know that the subject of triage has caused concern for some patients so I will try to explain why we have started using it at Upwell. We are all aware that the NHS is coming under continuing pressure with more patients needing our help, and much tighter control on the resources we need to meet the needs of the people we look after. There is a recruitment crisis in the NHS and many of you will know that we were unable to find a suitable candidate to replace Dr Williams. At Upwell Health Centre we have responded to these challenges by introducing a triage system. This is all about making sure that you see the right person, at the right time, and in the right place to deal with your medical problem. In practice this means that the office staff will ask you for some brief clinical details about the nature of your problem before putting you on the call-back list. After that the clinical staff will either book you straight into a surgery appointment or phone you back to discuss your problem in more detail before making a decision about who you should see, and when and where. In some cases this may include directing you to other NHS services such as the Minor Injuries Unit in Wisbech or the Accident and Emergency department at King’s Lynn.

Some patients have raised concerns about giving their clinical details to our office staff but, I can assure you that all of our staff are trained in the importance of confidentiality and are well aware that none of the information you give should be discussed or shared with anyone other than the clinical staff. If you do not want to give details of your problem to the office staff you will still be put on the call-back list but it will make it harder for the clinicians to prioritise your call.

The triage system is something we are still refining to make sure it provides the best possible service for all patients. If you have concerns or ideas about this then please write to me at the surgery.

Work on our new purpose built pharmacy is moving fast and we are looking forward to opening this in February. This will allow us to provide a faster, safer and much improved service for all patients and we hope you will take advantage of all the improved services this new building will allow us to provide,

And finally a few words about physical inactivity which is increasingly being recognised as a contributing factor for many medical conditions. Here at Upwell Health Centre we are looking at ways of being more active. Several members of our staff have signed up to run the Cambridge Half Marathon in March, and our lead Nurse Practitioner, Lynette Reeves, and Practice Manager, Steve Reeves, are both running the London Marathon in April.


Those are considerable challenges but there are easier ways of becoming fitter. One of these is to take part in a Parkrun which is a free to enter, friendly and non-competitive 3 mile run that takes place every Saturday morning at hundreds of parks up and down the country. We are thinking about taking a group of staff and patients to a King’s Lynn Parkrun in the New Year and if you would be interested in joining us then please register your interest by emailing

On behalf of everyone at the Health Centre I wish you a very Happy Christmas and a very healthy New Year.



Dr Eamonn Clarke


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