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GP's surgery placed into special measures

The surgery has been rated 'inadequate' Credit: NHS

A GP surgery in Reading has been placed into special measures after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

Inspectors rated the service provided by Priory Avenue Surgery in Caversham as inadequate.

Patient records were not up-to-date and people reported difficulty in trying to get subsequent appointments with the same GP.

The practice has said it's re-doubling its efforts to improve the areas of concern highlighted in the report.

The practice website says it's working hard to rectify any issues Credit: NHS


Chance to quiz organisation that commissions Portsmouth's healthcare

Patients and service users will get another chance to quiz the organisation which commissions most of Portsmouth's healthcare services today.

Meeting will start at 1pm at St James' Hospital Credit: PA

NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group is holding a governing board meeting in public from 1pm to 3pm at St James' Hospital, Milton.

This will be followed from 3.15pm to 4pm by a question and answer session for the public, who can either attend to ask their questions or email them in advance to

The CCG says GPs and other board members will try to answer any issue relating to the commissioning of the health services that they buy in, or other related health issues. But they cannot answer questions relating to individual patients.

Scientist explains how new online dementia test works

Alzheimer's affects hundreds of thousands of people across the country but there is no cure. However, scientists at Oxford University say a simple online test could help halve the risk of developing the disease.

To take the test, click here.

Professor Patrick Holford from 'Food for the Brain' explains how the test works:

Health Secretary may return to troubled hospital

Credit: PA

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has been asked to return to visit Medway Hospital. The troubled hospital is in special measures, and has recently been given a loan. Rehman Chishti, the local MP, invited Hunt after a meeting in London. And Chishti has called for greater collaboration between Medway Hospital and other Health Trusts. The Government’s recently announced an investment of £13 million to improve Medway’s A&E, which is one of the largest amount given to a hospital.


Top science graduates to be fast-tracked into healthcare professions

University of Reading to train new wave of medical professionals Credit: University of Reading

The University of Reading is to train a new generation of medical professionals to help deliver stronger and more cost effective patient care across the UK.

The Postgraduate Diploma Physician Associate programme, which fast-tracks top science graduates into healthcare professions, is designed to help the NHS meet the demands of the UK’s growing population. Physician Associates (PA) undertake two years of intensive training before they begin working alongside doctors in a wide variety of workplaces (including GP practices, community health services and all types of hospital care). PAs support doctors in the diagnosis and management of patients and are trained to perform a number of roles including:

- taking medical histories

- performing examinations

- diagnosing illnesses

- analysing test results

- developing management plans

The programme is the first of its kind in the Thames Valley and has been developed in partnership with both the Royal Berkshire Hospital and Berkshire Healthcare, along with the collaboration of local clinical commissioning groups. Both NHS Trusts will be providing clinical academic input into the course as well as a range of placements.

There is strong predicted growth of the Physician Associate role across the NHS, where there is a well-known resource gap in health professionals generally and the emerging PA role in particular; in 2013 for example, 136 PA vacancies were advertised but only 25 filled.

We are very excited to be opening the new postgraduate Physician Associate programme for first entry this September. With the NHS treating record numbers, there is growing demand for patient care and,as a result, doctors’ workloads are increasing. PAs contribute to healthservice teams and, as such, are growing in importance across the NHS. We are delighted to be working with the Royal Berkshire Hospital and BerkshireHealthcare, who recognise the increasing demand for PAs and their role in delivering vital patient care.

– Professor Richard Ellis, Dean of Life Sciences at the University of Reading

The two-year full time postgraduate programme of academic study, skills development, and placement-based training will involve considerable interaction with patients from early on and support from a wide range of healthcare professionals. The first cohort in September 2015 will be limited to a maximum of 20 students, with a further expansion of places planned over the next few years.

Prospective students can find out more about the new programme and the vital role of PAs at an open evening at the University on Wednesday 4th February, the first of a series before the course starts.

The first open evening for this new programme will be held at the University of Reading’s Whiteknights Campus on Wednesday 4th February 2015. To register, or to learn more, please e-mail:

More people using online therapist for depression

An online therapy service is proving increasingly popular with people who are feeling depressed or anxious.

Psychology Online is an NHS-funded service that allows patients to instant message with a therapist over the internet. The therapists are trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Anyone registered with a GP in West Kent, Brighton & Hove, Surrey and the Isle of Wight can access the service for free.

Cases of people saying they feel depressed or anxious rise at this time of year, and the online service aims to help people cope with depression, fears, phobias, OCD and social anxiety.

Sarah Bateup is from Psychology Online and says although it doesn't replace face-to-face therapy, it fits around people's lives:

New measures to take pressure off A&E

Moves are underway to relieve pressure on struggling Accident and Emergency Departments. In Brighton, the council has linked up with the NHS to identify patients who can be treated at home instead of at the hospital's emergency unit. The Better Care Plan will target patients who need long-term support to prevent them ending up in A&E. We talk to Geraldine Hoban from Brighton and Hove NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and Anne Hagan from Adult Social Care.

Portsmouth public asked to share hospital experiences

Listening event will be held at hospital on February 10 Credit: Press Association

England's Chief Inspector of Hospitals is inviting members of the public to tell his inspection panel what they think of the services provided by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

Their views and experiences will help inspectors decide what to look at when they inspect the trust.

The trust is being inspected and given an overall rating under radical changes which have been introduced by the Care Quality Commission and it will be given an overall rating as a result of the inspection. The formal inspection of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust will start on 11 February 2015.

To ensure the views of patients and the local community are properly heard, the inspectors will hold a listening event at the Oasis Wellness Centre, Queen Alexandra Hospital on Tuesday, 10 February.

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