More improvements planned for Christmas Maltings & Clements

Suffolk GP Federation is pleased to announce more details of planned improvements at the Christmas Maltings and Clements Practice in Haverhill.

Since we took on the running of the practice in July we have established a new booking system to reduce patient waiting times and there has been a concentrated effort on recruiting clinicians and investing in new equipment.

A physiotherapist is now available to see patients on weekday mornings and starting in September a prescribing pharmacist will deal with medication queries and repeat prescription requests previously handled by GPs.

To further improve services we are also asking patients to contact the practice in advance if they need to cancel an appointment.

In one week alone in August 122 patients failed to attend the surgery – wasting a total of 20 hours of clinicians’ time and using an appointment that could have gone to someone else.

Patients with non-appointment related calls are also asked to contact the surgery after 11am to help ease pressure at peak times.

Other changes being explored include the possibility of starting a dispensary delivery service so that medication can be sent direct to people’s homes.

Over time, we also plan to work with the Haverhill LifeLink project to trial a social prescribing service for patients who have a non-medical reason for contacting their GP, such as social isolation or debt management with a focus on improved personal wellbeing. Haverhill LifeLink is delivered by One Haverhill Partnership and St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

Once additional staffing is secured, the sister practice in Kedington will also be open more frequently – providing a greater range of services and clinicians for surrounding villages.

Jules Styles, Primary Care Services’ Director of Suffolk GP Federation, said: “We appreciate that change can be difficult and we would like to thank all patients for their cooperation.

“Despite some initial teething problems, the new booking system seems to be working well and patients like not having to wait for an appointmentHowever, we are not complacent and will continue to keep a close eye on performance.

“In particular, we would ask patients who need to cancel an appointment to let us know. It means that we can then re-allocate the appointment to someone else so that our clinicians can see as many patients as possible.”

Ms Styles also confirmed that Suffolk GP Federation has been told to leave the Christmas Maltings building in Camps Road. It means that from later this year all services currently provided at the site will move to the Clements building in Greenfields Way or Kedington.

“Unfortunately lease negotiations with the landlords were unsuccessful,” she said. “We did not believe the terms to be in the best interests of the town as they would have made it difficult for us to be part of the proposed Haverhill health hub which is planned for the next five to eight years.

“We understand that this will cause concern for some patients – particularly those who will find it difficult to travel to the Clements building – however we are working hard to find a suitable solution.

“We are dedicated to protecting the long-term future of the surgery and ensuring Christmas Maltings and Clements remains a sustainable, local practice for the people of Haverhill and surrounding areas.”

To help provide more information we are asking patients how they travel to the Christmas Maltings building. Questionnaires are available in the reception area and via the Christmas Maltings and Clements Facebook page.

We are also inviting patients to help shape the future of the surgery and join the Christmas Maltings and Clements Patient Participation Group.

People who would like more information or who have any questions about the changes at Christmas Maltings and Clements can contact