The Guildhall and 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, although full integration was not possible until the computer data merge, which finally went ahead in August 2009.
We have four full time partners, two part time partners, one full time salaried doctor and two part time salaried doctors, serving 11,000 patients. 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 dispense to our rural patients from dispensaries at both sites. The practice has a long tradition of training. We operate out of our own, purpose built premises on both sites. The practice was inspected by the ‘Care Quality Commission’ in 2014 & rated ‘Good’ in all aspects; a copy of their report may be found here. The average pay for GPs working at the Guildhall & Barrow Surgery in the financial year (2016-17) was £50,442 before tax & NI. This is for 4 full time GPs, 2 locum GPs (worked in practice for more than 6 months) & 6 part time GPs.
The Primary Care Team
At present, in addition to our reception, secretarial and dispensary staff, we have a team of five practice nurses at Guildhall and two at Barrow, 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 in the management of stable hypertension and in the assessment and initial treatment of new hypertensives.
We have a team of community nurses who provide an excellent service for our patients. Antenatal and postnatal care is provided by the local midwifery team from separate premises. Health visiting services are also team based, and located in nearby premises as well. We have seen significant changes in local primary mental health services in recent months, and we now have a “low intensity” and a “high intensity” therapist based in the practice, providing psycho therapeutic services to our patients, in addition to our Mental Health Link Worker.
Palliative care for our patients is supported by a Palliative Care Nurse Specialist and by the local hospice.
We hold regular primary care team meetings, palliative care meetings and regular significant event meetings to which all the primary care team members are invited.
Prescribing and Dispensary
The dispensary has been operational at The Guildhall Surgery since 1994 and for longer at Barrow. It provides an excellent service for our rural patients and enables the doctors to obtain emergency supplies of medication if required when local pharmacies are no longer open.
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 CCG.
The premises in Lower Baxter Street were built in 1982 for primary care, under the cost rent scheme. They consist of, on the ground floor, six consulting rooms, three nurse rooms, including a fully equipped minor surgery room, an examination room, a waiting room, a secretary’s office, reception area and dispensary. There is a lift to the first floor. On the first floor we have a doctors’ library, coffee room, community nurses’ room, the practice manager’s and administration offices, the secretary’s office and two additional consultation rooms.
The Barrow Hill Surgery premises are also modern and purpose built under the cost rent scheme. They consist of three consulting rooms, a nurses’ room, a treatment room, the dispensary, an administration/office area and a waiting room, all on the ground floor. On the first floor we have the practice manager’s office, a multi-purpose meeting room and a “rest room”.
The premises are owned equally by the partners and it is intended that this should continue to be the case.
The practice has been computerised since 1989 and for many years all significant diagnoses have been recorded on the patients’ computer based summaries. Having copy-typed all correspondence and results into the Lloyd-George records for thirty years, in April 2004 we went “paper-light” and, using SystmOne software, the entire clinical record is now held on computer.
The computer is linked to the pathology department at the West Suffolk Hospital and we receive all blood results electronically, on a daily basis. We have direct access to the West Suffolk Hospital radiology and pathology results over the intranet.
Following the practice merger, we have seen further development of our computer system with the introduction of Docman with Intellisense, to aid document processing on the computer.
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 online and access to a wide range of health links.
The Guildhall and Barrow Surgery has a total list size of 11,000 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 in 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 AD.
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 ballroom, 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 1.5-2 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 population whilst tertiary services are available at Addenbrooke’s, Papworth and Ipswich hospitals.
Bury St. Edmunds is a thriving market town of enormous charm. It provides a very wide range of services and opportunities. It is a delightful place to live and to practice medicine.