July 17, 2017
Highbridge Medical Centre recruits nurse as 90 join for blood tests

Highbridge Medical Centre has recruited a qualified nurse to support the Warfarin blood monitoring service that was withdrawn at Burnham-On-Sea and Berrow Medical Centre last month.

Dr Harvey Sampson, Interim Associate Medical Director for Highbridge Medical Centre, told that the centre has welcomed over 90 new patients since Burnham and Berrow withdrew the blooding testing service at the end of June.

Dr Sampson explained: "We are able to offer the anti-coagulation blood testing services previously offered by Burnham & Berrow Medical Centre for patients who register at the practice in Highbridge."

"This service has been available since July 1st 2017 and we have employed an additional Nurse for 19 hours a week; specifically to support the additional patients who require this service."

"Over the past few weeks we have already welcomed 90 new patients and we would like to reassure any potential new patient that we have a very experienced and professional team at Highbridge, who are ready to support any new patient and their family who would like to register at the medical centre."

The news was also confirmed in a letter written by David Slack, Managing Director of NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, to Dave Chapple, Secretary of Bridgwater Trades Union Council.

In his letter, Mr Slack writes: "Dr Sampson from the Highbridge practice has explained that an additional member of staff had been recruited to provide this service."

"This is a qualified nurse who will be working for 19 hours per week, mostly supporting the INR service (Warfarin monitoring). The Burnham Medical Centre have been unable to recruit either additional GP or nursing time and were not willing to operate an HCA (Health Care Assistant) model because of the GP supervisory time."

Responding to a separate question about pay levels within the NHS, Mr Slack adds: "I can confirm that it is my considered opinion that many years of pay restraint and the workload pressures on many staff are an important part of the context within which the NHS is working."

"Workload pressures are generated in part from increases in demand as the population ages as well as shortages of staff in some areas due to recruitment challenges and/or financial constraints."

"The intensity of the working day has therefore increased significantly for many staff, leading to some retiring earlier or going part-time. It is of course these challenges that STPs are designed to address so we can find ways of improving health outcomes and the quality of services within the limited financial resources."

"The matter is therefore a key part of local discussions with NHS England and system partners. It is not the CCG's responsibility to lobby Government ministers or negotiate with trade unions. We do, however, ensure that local MPs are appropriately briefed and NHS Commissioners are aware of our views."

Dave Chapple, Secretary of Bridgwater Trades Union Council, told "This is an astonishing reply from the Chief Officer of the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group - Highbridge Medical Centre has recruited someone to cover the Warfarin clinic tasks."

"It begs the question, if Highbridge can recruit new staff to deal with the Warfarin issues, why couldn't the Burnham and Berrow Centre?"

Any new patient who would like to register at Highbridge Medical Centre can either complete a registration form online at, or call the practice on 01278 783220 to talk through the registration process with a member of the team.


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