The Guildhall & Barrow Surgery is an efficient, well run and friendly practice. The main surgery is situated in the historic centre of Bury St Edmunds in Lower Baxter Street with a branch surgery situated approximately 6 miles to the west of the town in the village of Barrow. The main surgery moved from Guildhall Street in 1982, keeping the name. In 2002 we celebrated 100 years of continuous medical services, which the practice has provided within the town. Barrow Hill Surgery was a single handed surgery until April 2009 when the partnerships merged.
We are a team of 10 doctors, comprising 6 part-time partners, and five part- time clinical assistants, serving over 11,800 patients. The average pay for GPs working in The Guildhall and Barrow Surgery in the last financial year was £52,737 before tax and National Insurance. This is for 5 full time GPs, 6 part time GPs and 0 locum GPs who worked in the Practice for more than six months. We are a semi-rural practice providing Personal Medical Services within a seven mile radius around Bury St Edmunds, and up to 4 miles further west to encompass the Barrow population. We operate out of our own, purpose built premises on both sites and dispense to our rural patients from the dispensary at our main site.
The Primary Care Team
At present, in addition to our reception, secretarial and dispensary staff, we have a team of six practice nurses working across both sites, who, as well as providing standard nursing care, also provide family planning services, smoking cessation, travel advice and immunisation and chronic disease management including Asthma, COPD and Diabetes. Two of our nurses are trained as Nurse Practitioners and provide minor illness clinics and assist with home visits. We also have a part time Clinical Pharmacist who assists with medicines management.
We are supported by a team of community nurses who provide an excellent service for our patients. Antenatal and postnatal care is now provided by the local “Midwifery Team” which now occupies its own premises. Health Visiting Services are also team based, and located in nearby premises as well. Local primary mental health services are provided by The Wellbeing Service which provides talking therapy as well as other resources to support practice patients. In addition we have a ‘Mental Health Link Worker’ who provides support for GPs and liaison between primary and secondary care.
Palliative care for our patients is supported by a Palliative Care Nurse Specialist, and by the local Hospice.
For the past 4 years the practice has benefited from visiting NHS physiotherapists who are now with us five half days per week, across both practice sites.
We hold regular Multi-Disciplinary Team meetings, Palliative Care meetings and regular significant event meetings to which the Primary Care Team members are all invited.
Prescribing and Dispensary
The dispensary has been operational at the Guildhall Surgery for over 20 years. In October 2013 the partners opened a pharmacy at the Barrow Hill Site, with a second pharmacy following at The Guildhall Surgery in May 2016. These provide an excellent service for both rural and town patients and include a delivery service for those who are house bound or cannot get to our pharmacies for whatever reason.
We work hard at evidence based and cost efficient prescribing. We use a practice formulary which has been updated regularly and our prescribing costs have been within budget for several years, for which the practice has received significant praise and support from the PCT/CCG.
The premises in Lower Baxter Street, was built in 1982 for primary care, under the cost rent scheme.
It consists, on the ground floor, of six consulting rooms, a waiting room, a reception area a dispensary and an integral pharmacy. There is a lift and stairs to the second floor. On the second floor, we have a further four consulting rooms, two nurse consultation rooms including a fully equipped minor surgery room, a waiting room for patients, a doctor’s library, coffee room, the practice manager’s and administration offices and the secretary’s office.
The Barrow Hill Surgery premises is also modern and purpose built, under the cost rent scheme. It consists of three consulting rooms, a nurse’s room, a treatment room, the pharmacy, an administration/office area and a waiting room, all on the ground floor. On the first floor we have a manager’s office, a multipurpose meeting room and a “rest room”.
We have two approved trainers at the surgery, although all the doctors take an active role in supporting learners at the practice. At present we have a full time GP trainee and take a Foundation Year 2 doctor in the practice for part of the year. We also take Phase III medical students from Cambridge University, who join us in pairs for four weeks per attachment.
We are most fortunate to have a skilled and dedicated management team, led by our Practice Manager, Mrs. Linda Johnston, Assistant Practice Manager, Rebecca Shelley and Patient Services Manager, Aimee Longfoot.
Quality Outcome Framework
The practice regularly achieves over 99% of maximum QOF points. We work hard, supported by our staff and the computer system to maintain this high standard of patient care.
The Practice has been “computerised” since 1989. Having copy-typed all correspondence and results into the Lloyd-George records for thirty years, in April 2004 we went “paper-light” with EMIS LV. In December 2013 the practice moved to SystmOne and document management, both clinical and administrative, is easily managed across both practice sites.
We receive all blood results electronically on a daily basis and request blood tests, radiology and cardiology investigations electronically. We have direct access to West Suffolk Hospital radiology and pathology results over the intranet.
The Practice is proud of its website which is regularly updated, and provides our patients with information about all aspects of the practice, the option of requesting repeat prescriptions on line and access to a wide range of health links. It is accessed at www.theguildhallsurgery.co.uk.
Clinical Commissioning and local politics
The West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group took over responsibility for commissioning services in April 2013. The Guildhall & Barrow Surgery continues to actively support the CCG and we are working on a number of projects with them.
The practice is also a member of ‘The Suffolk Federation’ deriving benefits from this larger organisation to allow competition in the wider NHS market place. The practice has close links with the other 4 GP practices in Bury St Edmunds
The practice plays an active role in local healthcare politics during these challenging times – to this end we maintain links with the RCGP & one of our partners is member of the BMAs Local Medical Committee.
The Guildhall & Barrow Surgery has a total list size of just over 11,800 patients. The partners have always operated and continue to operate a strictly personal list system. This means that each doctor is responsible for all of his/her patients at any time that he/she is available within working hours. This enables the GP to develop a much closer relationship with his/her own patients and ensures that for each patient ultimate responsibility clearly lies with an individual doctor. This allows for individual styles of practice and ensures equity with workload.
Patients are encouraged to see their registered doctor at all times, but running a branch surgery, at which all the doctors consult at different times of the week, means that some flexibility has needed to be incorporated into the system.
Bury St Edmunds
Bury St Edmunds is situated in West Suffolk in the heart of East Anglia.
The town grew up in the middle Ages, around the shrine and Abbey of St Edmund who was martyred by the Danes in 870.
The Abbey was dissolved by Thomas Cromwell in 1539 and the ruins form part of the municipal gardens and can still be seen today. The church of St James next to the Abbey was enlarged in 1963 and became the Cathedral of Ipswich and St Edmundsbury but it was not until 2005 that the cathedral was finally completed with the addition of its tower and cloisters.
The old town is based on a grid system designed and laid out by Abbot Anselm in the 13th Century. It has seen small expansions since the Victorian period and especially in the past forty years. .
Bury St Edmunds is a delightful market town, boasting many properties of character and individuality. Of particular note are the Athenaeum with its Georgian ball room, the Unitarian Chapel, The Guildhall, The Corn Exchange and the small regency Theatre Royal which is owned by the National Trust.
Bury St Edmunds is supported by a wide range of light industry, in a largely rural area. The town has become a popular residential area for people who work in Cambridge, Ipswich and London. The NHS is the largest single employer locally, but the town is also the home of the Greene King brewery, known for its Abbot Ale and IPA. In addition to the thriving small shops that line the streets of Bury St Edmunds centre, the town has a new multiplex cinema and a new large shopping centre.
There are many charming villages in the areas that surround Bury St Edmunds including Ickworth, seat of the Marquis of Bristol and now owned by the National Trust. The A14 provides excellent connection with Cambridge to the west and Ipswich to the East. It is approximately 45-60 minutes drive to the Suffolk coast and 1½ – 2 hours drive into central London. Stansted airport is only 40 minutes drive from Bury St Edmunds. The area is served by some excellent schools, both state funded and independent.
The West Suffolk Hospital provides for most of the requirements of the local populations whilst tertiary services are available at Addenbrooke’s, Papworth and the Ipswich hospital.
Bury St. Edmunds is a thriving market town, with enormous charm. It provides a very wide range of services and opportunities. It is a delightful place to live and to practice medicine.