express concern at Burnham Medical Centre testing changes
at a medical centre in Burnham-On-Sea have this week expressed their
concern at the planned withdrawal of vital Warfarin blood testing
due to a shortage of doctors and nurses.
& Berrow Medical Centre has written to patients stating that
it has been unable to recruit new staff to replace several of its
doctors and nurses who have recently retired - and that it has "to
concentrate resources on providing essential general practice services."
July 1st, it says that the crucial Warfarin blood testing and management
service is to be withdrawn, with patients being advised to use other
medical centres instead.
& Berrow Patient Participation Group says it is worried about
the changes. Its spokesman told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Very vulnerable
patients with absolutely no choice other than to use this service
for what could prove to be life threatening situations, have been
told by letter on Saturday 3rd June that they will need to register
at an alternative GP Surgery to get this service in the future.
These patients have effectively less than four weeks notice because
of the cessation of this provision by Burnham & Berrow Medical
and discussions have obviously carried out below the radar, it would
seem for almost a year, with even the Patient Participation Group
being kept completely in the dark until Friday 2nd June when the
Management Partner Mrs Debbie Hale phoned two members."
appears to have been no thought for patients' peace of mind, many
of whom are elderly, relying at times on dedicated carer support.
These patients will have difficulty coming to terms with this and
changing to another medical practice. Some patients have been taking
Warfarin for over twenty years."
is often prescribed for people who have had a condition caused by
a blood clot such as a stroke, a heart attack, deep vein thrombosis
and pulmonary embolism and those with an increased risk of developing
harmful blood clots.
Lang, a Burnham-On-Sea patient who will be affected by the changes,
told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "I have been on Warfarin, plus digoxin,
for around 20 years now because I suffer from the condition of atrial
fibrillation. As the surgery can no longer monitor my blood INR
- international normalised ratio, a measurement of how long it takes
blood to form a clot - they will stop prescribing Warfarin, and
I shall be forced to change surgery. I am not completely comfortable
with this, having been a Burnham patient for over 68 years. It makes
you wonder whether other services will be withdrawn, such as diabetes
from the partners of the Medical Centre has been sent to affected
patients and it states: "We are very sorry for any inconvenience
this decision might cause you or your family members."
Burnham & Berrow Medical Centre will not be able to provide
a Warfarin (anticoagulant) blood testing and monitoring service
after 1st July 2017."
may be aware that the Medical Centre has been unable to recruit
replacements for several of the doctors and nurses who have recently
retired, and that means we have to concentrate our resources on
providing essential general practice services. This is a problem
that affects many parts of Somerset, not just Burnham-On-Sea."
you know, Warfarin thins your blood and prevents you getting blood
clots in your veins or arteries, which can be a cause of heart attacks,
strokes, lung conditions (pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis
(DVT). Patients who take this medicine need regular blood testing
and monitoring to ensure they remain healthy and safe."
Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the authority that plans and
funds local health services, and they are responsible for ensuring
that people on Warfarin are able to get the testing and supervision
they need. Not all GP practices offer this service, and in one location
in the county a different GP practice does this for a nearby practice."
July 2016 we gave notice to the Somerset CCG, that due to significant
changes within our Practice that we would discontinue provision
of this service from January 2017. This decision was not taken lightly
by the Practice and we have looked at all other options to enable
us to continue with the service. To give the CCG more time to find
a suitable provider, we have continued (with the help of an excellent
Locum nurse funded by the CCG) to provide this service for our patients
until the end of June, but with holidays approaching this is not
trying very hard for several months and having detailed discussions
with several different potential providers, Somerset CCG has not
been able to find anyone to take on provision of this service for
Burnham & Berrow Medical Centre patients. With regret, it has
been agreed that anyone who needs to continue to take Warfarin will
need to register with a different GP practice so that they can provide
you with your essential blood testing and meet your future health
care needs. This is not the outcome anyone would have wished and
is disappointing for all concerned."
we have discussed the potential for this with the majority of eligible
patients, there may still be some patients on Warfarin that can
change to a different type of anticoagulation medication that does
not need frequent blood testing, but for others there is no safe
have enclosed a sheet of Frequently Asked Questions, which includes
an explanation of who may be eligible to change to this alternative
type of medication. If you fall into this category and would like
to consider this as an alternative to registering with another Practice,
then please let us know as soon as possible and we can arrange an
appointment with the relevant Healthcare Professional at the Practice
to review this with you."
do not stop taking your Warfarin without discussing the options
with one of our GPs or Clinical Pharmacist as this could be very
we respect the right of patients to decide for themselves whether
or not to take medication, it is very important that you understand
all the risks of making changes to your anticoagulant treatment
before you do so."
are very sorry that we are having to make this change and we hope
that in due course our recruitment difficulties can be resolved
and that we will be able to start offering the service again. Should
this happen, then we would be very pleased to welcome you back to
Burnham & Berrow Medical Centre as long as our Practice lists
are open and you are living within our Practice Area."
goes on to suggest that affected patients register with a new GP practice.
"All the practices close to Burnham-On-Sea offer anticoagulation
services and are able to look after patients taking Warfarin. They
are aware of this change in the services we are able to provide and
are willing to accept new patients onto their books."
register with another Practice, please check in the first instance
if you are in the area covered by them. You can either do this by
checking the Practice Area on their website or by contacting the
Practice directly. If you are in their Area, then you will need
to complete a registration form and the Practice can assist you
adds: "It is very important that you continue to take your
Warfarin and have your blood regularly tested. Registration with
a new GP Practice will not take long and during that time you will
still be able to attend Burnham Medical Centre. However, from 1
July 2017 we will not be able to carrying out blood testing and
monitoring related to Warfarin medication and will not be able to
issue prescriptions for Warfarin, so it is extremely important that
your registration has changed by that date."
are very sorry for any inconvenience this decision might cause you
or your family members. However, we are sure you will appreciate
how important it is that you continue to receive safe and effective
who have difficulty registering with a new GP Practice can contact
Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group's Patient Advice and Liaison
Service (PALS) on 0800 0851 067 (9am-5pm, Monday to Friday).