Clinical commissioners across Surrey Heartlands and East Surrey are pleased to announce the appointment of Care UK as the new provider for the Surrey Integrated Urgent Care service across East Surrey, Guildford & Waverley, Surrey Downs and North West Surrey from 1 April 2019.  

It may seem premature to start thinking about the long, cold winter months, but September is the perfect time to consider your personal winter health plan.

This might include committing to a healthier diet, getting more exercise and ensuring your medicine cabinet is stocked up with the basics, but the NHS always recommends organising your vaccination against influenza as a priority.

NHS North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is committed to ensuring that the growing demand for Primary Care in Walton-on-Thames is met, delivering care to enable people to be looked after closer to home and avoid hospital admission wherever possible.

Why it’s time to show your heart some love 4 September 2018

High blood pressure and atrial fibrillation (AF) are the top contributors to the more than 300 lives lost prematurely to cardiovascular disease each year in Surrey. With eight out of ten deaths from heart disease in this country deemed preventable, it is really important to know that your heart is healthy and blood pressure at a safe level.

In Surrey Heartlands, a community outreach service is being developed with the Guildford Diocese which will see volunteers trained in carrying out blood pressure and pulse checks.

The volunteers will carry out the checks as part of an outreach programme which includes specific targeted work with minority groups. The checks will take place after church services but also during care home visits and at community events.

In addition a new service is under development in partnership with community pharmacies. From next spring, pharmacies will offer health checks, called Blood Pressure Plus, that include blood pressure testing along with a pulse check. Depending on their results, patients may be referred to a range of services for diagnosis, follow-up and management.

The following options may be offered:

  • A full NHS Health Check
  • Referral to primary care for ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
  • Referral to primary care for electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • A test for blood glucose levels and, depending on results, possible referral to the National Diabetes Prevention Programme

Community pharmacies employ healthcare professionals who are trained in measuring and understanding blood pressure results and other cardiovascular disease risk factors.

People will be able to find out if they have high blood pressure (hypertension) or a condition like AF - that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. If these conditions are not identified or controlled, the risk of a heart attack or stroke is significantly increased.

AF increases the risk of stroke by five times and is responsible for 20 per cent of all strokes. What’s more, the individual impact of an AF-related stroke is far worse than those caused by other factors.

Surrey Heartlands Clinical Lead, Consultant Cardiologist Dr Michael Hickman, who works at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, said: “Lifestyle-related factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as smoking, poor diet and a lack of exercise can significantly increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke.

“Cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality and is a major burden on health services, social care and the economy at large.

“The increased detection and early management of conditions such as hypertension and atrial fibrillation will reduce the numbers of heart attacks and strokes, this will reduce social care needs, and the negative impact that these conditions have on people’s lives.”

To increase awareness of heart health and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, Public Health England’s (PHE) Heart Age campaign is encouraging adults to complete the One You Heart Age Test. It reveals your ‘heart age’ as compared with your real age and offers advice and support on how to improve your health.

In addition selected community locations and pharmacies across Surrey are this month offering free blood pressure checks. More details can be found here.

Multiple nominations for Surrey Heartlands in 2018

HSJ Awards 

Partner organisations from across the Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership have received a total of 10 nominations in the prestigious Health Service Journal Awards for 2018, including two for innovative Health and Care Partnership programmes.

  • Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership is nominated for its midwifery-led 24/7 ‘Better Births’ Pregnancy Advice Helpline, which has received 9,000 calls since its launch in April 2018
  • The Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System has been shortlisted for its ‘whole system’ approach to supporting carers’ health and wellbeing through its Memorandum of Understanding ‘Together for Carers’
  • North West Surrey CCG together with service providers Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospital are shortlisted for their integrated musculoskeletal service ‘iMSK’, previously Highly Commended in The Lord Carter Awards for Innovation
  • There’s recognition in two categories for Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust’s ground breaking dementia technology project – which uses artificial intelligence to support people with dementia in their own homes - and a third nomination for their Intensive Support Service for People with a Learning Disability
  • Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group has been shortlisted twice: once in the Widening Participation category for its Quality in Care Homes programme in partnership with CSH Surrey, and again in the Community or Primary Care Services Redesign category for the achievements of the Community Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic in improving patient outcomes.

Other finalists include South East Coast Ambulance Service for their Intelligence Based Information System (IBIS) and The Royal Marsden’s Rapid Access to Prostate Imaging and Diagnosis programme (RAPID), in collaboration with Imperial College Healthcare Trust, St George's Healthcare Trust and Epsom and St Helier Hospitals.

Dr Claire Fuller, who was last year named Clinical Leader of the Year for her outstanding leadership of Surrey Downs CCG, is now Senior Responsible Officer for the Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership.

Commenting on the raft of nominations she said: “I am absolutely thrilled to see this many partnership programmes across Surrey receive such a level of recognition. It reinforces the huge amount of innovation and integrated working taking place within our health system, resulting in tangible practical improvements for patients.

“We have great, shared ambition for the future as part of our Integrated Care System and wish all nominated partners lots of luck for the finals in November.”

Judging for this year's awards will take place in October and the ceremony itself will be held on Wednesday 21 November in London.

Extra GP appointments available in North West Surrey

From Monday 20 August it will be even easier for people to make an appointment with a GP, thanks to a new national ‘extended access’ initiative, which will improve access to primary care services in North West Surrey. This means, in addition to being able to book GP appointments at a local practice, patients will now also have access to additional appointments during the evenings and at weekends at a number of locations across the local are

The extra appointments are being provided by the GP federation that brings together all 40 GP practices in the local area and is known as North West Surrey Integrated Care Services.

By working together in a new and different way local GP practices will be improving access to primary care appointments, making it even easier for local people to get the care and advice they need, at a time that’s convenient to them. These additional appointments will be available from 6-9pm on weekday evenings (including bank holidays but not in August) and from 9am to midday at weekends. Patients can book these appointments through their local GP practice. As these extra appointments are provided from GP surgeries and for Woking, from Woking Community Hub (Bedsur Hub), the GP or clinician will have access to patients’ medical records, via patient consent, giving them access to all the information they would need to provide the best possible care

The additional appointments will be provided at the following locations – and patients in North West Surrey can book appointments at any of these sites:

The Red Practice – Walton Health Centre (Rodney Road, Walton-on-Thames, KT12 3LB)

Studholme Medical Centre (50 Church Road, Ashford, TW15 2TU)

Sunbury Health Centre (Green Street, Sunbury-on-Thames, TW16 6RH)

Woking Community Hospital (Heathside Road, Woking, GU22 7HS)

Initially, these extra appointments will be provided by local GPs but from August there are plans to extend this service to also include nurse-led clinics, blood tests, physiotherapy assessments and digital consultations (which includes online face to face consultations via a patient smartphone). 

Dr Caroline Baker, Chief Executive Officer of North West Surrey Integrated Care Services and local GP explained: “I am really pleased that we can provide the residents in North West Surrey these additional extended hours appointments, particularly those who may normally struggle to get a GP appointment during normal GP opening hours. An added benefit is that these GP Extended Access Clinics are based within a primary care setting and the clinician who sees you will have access to your GP records making the appointment just like visiting your own GP practice.”

Dr Charlotte Canniff, Clinical Chair for North West Surrey CCG and local GP explained “As a health system, we continue to work hard to ensure patients have access to the right care in the most appropriate place. Patients already have access to medical advice, from the NHS111 service, pharmacies and Walk-in-Centres. Parents with young children can also download the HANDi App (from Google Play or Appstore), which was developed to provide advice and support if their children have symptoms of common childhood illnesses and give parents confidence in dealing with minor conditions themselves at home or the most appropriate place to seek support.


These GP Extended Access Clinics have been put in place so that those presenting at A&E, are those that really need urgent or emergency help.”


On the first anniversary of the devastating fire to the Weybridge Hospital and Primary Care Centre, North West Surrey CCG would like to thank everyone that has been involved in the efforts to reinstate services back to the site.

Karen Thorburn, Managing Director of NWS CCG said: “In the immediate aftermath, we witnessed a real coming together of local services – health, local councils, emergency and voluntary services mobilising at short notice to get facilities up and running within a few days which was an outstanding effort by all”. Work is underway on our Out of Hospital Strategy with partners, providers and stakeholders to shape and develop the health and care services in North West Surrey including facilities on the Weybridge site to meet the future needs of the local population.

Over the autumn a range of workshops and events will take place in different parts of North West Surrey and full details regarding how to get involved will be posted soon on the CCG’s website ( and included in other local bulletins, social media and through direct communications with our key stakeholders. Once again, we would like to thank all of our NHS colleagues and the people of Weybridge for their patience while we work to develop a sustainable footprint for future health care in North West Surrey.

NHS 70 Celebrating 70 years of the NHS - Everyday Heroes

Lucy Moreton, Primary Care Workforce Tutor

“It sounds very clichéd but I grew up wanting to be a nurse so I could help people,” explains Lucy Moreton, now a Primary Care Workforce Tutor at North West Surrey CCG.

“I had a role model in my cousin who was a paediatric nurse and my parents enrolled me in St John’s Ambulance brigade as a cadet so that I could gain some insight – that’s where I first learnt my hospital corners when making a bed! I always enjoyed the excitement that attending events as a first aider gave me, even though it was only applying plasters and slings at that point in time.”

After completing her training and landing her first job in the Medical Assessment Unit at St Peter’s Hospital, she moved to the Accident and Emergency Departments at both Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals where she spent four years honing her craft in one of the most pressured environments in the health system. And then a chance opportunity to ‘go west’ took her career to another level.

Lucy In The Us

“In 2005 I took the leap and moved to Orlando, Florida to work in the Emergency Room, where I faced a huge learning curve. The nurses were trained differently and tasks such as venepuncture and cannulation were something they had started doing as students. At the time these were advanced skills in the NHS and not something I can say that I had mastered before I arrived in Florida!

“It wasn’t long before I considered myself an expert in venepuncture and I could get blood out of anyone. I also picked up skills in chest auscultation, bowel sounds, ECG interpretation and even titration of anaesthetic drugs. When I returned to the UK four years later I felt like Wonder Woman, although quickly realised that back home the nurses had picked up many of the same skills themselves – the evolution of Super Nurses was already happening!”

Lucy’s assertion that the role of the nurse has evolved beyond recognition since its origins 70 years ago is irrefutable and, as she says, “The knowledge and skills of those working on the front line now is just astounding.”

Another indisputable fact is how lucky we are to have a health service available to all and based on clinical need, rather than the ability to pay.

As Lucy puts it, “Working for private companies in the US and having to pay for health insurance made me realise just how fantastic our NHS is. I often joke that my daughter, who suffers with multiple food allergies and anaphylaxis, would have bankrupted us if we had still lived there when she came along!” 

Karen Thornburn, Managing Director

One of the principle ideas behind the replacement of Primary Care Trusts in 2013 with Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) is that they would be clinically-led, therefore better placed to make crucial decisions around the planning and buying of health care services for their local area.

Who better then to assume the role as North West Surrey CCG’s Managing Director than a Registered Nurse and health visitor of 34 years’ NHS experience across acute and community healthcare and service commissioning in Scotland and the South of England

Karen Thorburn has worked the frontline in general medicine, haematology and a bone marrow transplant unit, an acute medical admission/regional poisons unit and a cardiac surgery intensive care unit.

“As a health visitor I initiated an HIV/AIDS network across central Scotland providing health visiting advice and support to patients. In Edinburgh I specialised in safeguarding, Heart Manual home-based cardiac rehab, and rolled out the Public Health Nursing Strategy across Lothian.

“I’ve worked with Edinburgh, Queen Margaret and Napier Universities supporting pre and post registration nursing placements in the community and was a visiting lecturer at QMUC.”

Karen Uniform

Then came a move south and a series of senior and director-level nursing and quality roles across Sussex and Surrey, both of which feed into and inform her current wide-ranging portfolio of responsibilities as MD.

These include commissioning and development of General Practice in North West Surrey; the commissioning of community health services (usually delivered by nurses and therapists in patients’ own homes); relationship management with local hospital trusts – including oversight of the Weybridge Hospital rebuild after its catastrophic 2017 fire; programme lead for Stroke and Urgent & Integrated Care across Surrey Heartlands; and accountability for her CCG’s performance, planning and QIPP delivery (a nationwide NHS England initiative to deliver a better quality of service using money more efficiently)

As she sets out, “it’s the urgent care, stroke and ‘patch performance’ which majors most on our NHS constitutional standards of there being unwavering focus on patient experience and the quality of services offered. I place a very strong focus on quality and the CCG’s duty to improve quality of care across the board.

“The biggest and most impactful change in recent times is in the care of stroke patients and the use of clot busting agents. When I started my career a patient suffering a stroke would be kept comfortable in bed, monitored and then rehabilitated. The morbidity and mortality was immense. Today a patient who has a stroke caused by a clot can have medication that clears the clot and be home after a short stay in hospital with early supported discharge.  It is a massive change in outcomes and something we should be very proud of.”

Liz Patroe, Head of Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion

As the UK’s biggest employer, the NHS offers a wealth of opportunity for career progression to its 1.7million1 staff. It’s not uncommon for employees to serve many years in the health service but in various roles and departments.

“I have worked in so many different roles throughout my 25 years!” explains Liz Patroe, Head of Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion for the Surrey Heartlands CCGs. “That’s the great thing about working in the NHS – you may join as one thing but there are so many opportunities.

“Most people think of hospitals when they think about the NHS but my career has spanned community clinics, GP practices, people’s homes, offices, conference halls and even the Houses of Parliament.”

Liz trained as a dietitian in 1992 and describes the NHS as the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to developing skills and knowledge. “The huge range of people you have the privilege of caring for means that there is always something different on the horizon. Add to that the dedicated bunch of people that you work alongside, and you have a fantastic recipe for lifelong learning,” she says.

A secondment to Diabetes UK to manage a programme awarding grants to black and minority ethnic community groups for diabetes awareness led to a new direction for Liz, as she continued focusing on the value of patient and public involvement in programme design.

“At all times, whether working on stroke and atrial fibrillation or falls prevention, I involved patients and the public via reference groups, local implementation teams, shadow boards, patient and carer representatives, and by engaging with a wide variety of community, voluntary, faith and user-led groups.

“Engagement, diversity and inclusion has been integral to the development and planning of healthcare services since the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and as an employer I think the NHS draws heavily from broad and diverse groups, however, within the wider system, there is under-representation of people from black and minority ethnic communities, particularly in senior management positions.

“My hope for the future is that the NHS works more and more closely with its partners and lay members to further develop holistic care around individuals and to effectively prevent illnesses. We have so much to gain from working with local authorities and the voluntary, community and faith sector and I look forward very much to doing just that.”

Justin Dix, Head of Corporate Services and Governing Body Secretariat

In 1958, when Justin Dix was born, the NHS was already 10 years old yet 5000 people a year were still dying from diphtheria, an infection of the nose and throat that babies and children are now routinely vaccinated against and, consequently, is now rare in the UK.

While he managed to avoid diphtheria, an equally rare medical condition led to major surgery as a seven year-old, a six week hospital stay and a lifetime of ongoing care for this and other long-term conditions. An accident-prone boy, he was also a ‘frequent flyer’ at A&E with one early memory of his father running through fields with him in his arms to reach the nearest cottage hospital, because they had no car (999 then the sole preserve of life and death emergencies, natch).

All this first-hand experience – and a prominent, influential trade unionist father sitting on the NHS National Board – paved the way to a 37 year career in the health service, including but not limited to stints as a psychiatric auxiliary nurse, mental health advocate, mental health and learning disability commissioner, head of children’s services and director-level roles in corporate management, encompassing his current dual roles of Head of Corporate Services and Governing Body Secretariat for three Surrey clinical commissioning groups.

Justin And His Mum

Justin describes his career as, “rich, rewarding, very demanding, at times frustrating, and always very steep on learning. I’ve been injured whilst working on psychiatric wards, gone through several significant re-organisations and overseen major IT projects. At 6am on the morning of the 2012 Olympics I was sat in police headquarters helping to co-ordinate Surrey’s NHS response to the games.

“Once a social worker rang me to say that one of my patients had a gun with a silver bullet in it, and did I have any suggestions as to its use? On another occasion I received an on-call message one weekend to say that a box of radioactive substance had been found in a residential street and could I advise on the health implications?”

For all its quirks and challenges the NHS remains, he says, “a remarkable institution. If, like me, you had parents who grew up in the pre-war years and didn’t have it, you will know that it doesn’t just bring practical benefits, it is also a wider force for good.

“Seventy is a good age but we should always be optimistic and hope that the best is yet to come; if it is, it will be because the NHS and the public have a shared vision for it and because we have broken down as many of the barriers to its success as we can and use it wisely.

“It belongs to all of us and - both as an NHS worker and as a patient - I know that we all have a responsibility for its stewardship.” 

Carole Melody, Head of Finance

Arguably, telling someone you work in NHS Finance has to be up there with ‘tax inspector’ and ‘parking warden’ as ‘jobs most likely to elicit eye rolls at the dinner table.’

“It’s difficult telling people what I do without first apologising,” laughs Carole Melody, Head of Finance at Surrey Downs CCG.

“The NHS belongs to the nation and everyone thinks they know how it can be fixed, but on the inside you realise just how complex the industry is; how hard everyone works in remembering that the patient is at the heart of everything we do; the technological advances and innovation around us; the huge leaps in drugs and medication and procedures; the constant asks of all areas of the service.

“All the while we have to try to remain within budget by improving efficiencies in every process and system, some of which are more successful than others. It is a major juggling act.  Every day is different and challenging but I love it – most of the time!”

Horrified at the idea of his daughter becoming a police officer, social worker or prison officer, Carole’s dad suggested ‘a sensible job in an office’ and, while working for Social Services, she was poached by the NHS.

“I was in a joint meeting and pointed out errors in their totals on a spreadsheet – they were impressed!”

“Once I started working for the NHS I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. I joined in 1989 just as the commissioner/provider split happened and it was so exciting to be part of an organisation going through such major change.  Of course, I realise now that the NHS continues to shift and change all the time, as all great and sustainable organisations must in order to stay relevant.”

The challenges in keeping the NHS financially sustainable are well-documented, with many factions of the system in deficit, but news of a government cash injection equating to an extra £20bn by 2023 has been well received by NHS management, after several years in financial recovery. It is not, however, the cure to all ills.

Says Carole, “It is such a privilege to be part of the NHS when it goes right. When things go wrong it always feels personal, as it probably does for anyone working in the service. My hope is for an enduring health service that continues to change and improve by learning from its mistakes, but also that enough funding will always be available to provide life-saving, life changing services which continue to improve people’s lives.”



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