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With the increase of recorded assaults at GP surgeries nationally, four of our member practices have taken part in a workshop which will help them manage different aspects of conflict that they may encounter at work.

The Managing Conflict and Aggression in General Practice Workshop, run by Medical Protection was delivered by Dr Peter Colvin, a retired GP from Northern Ireland. He provided practical tools and tips that can be used to help resolve difficult situations.

Staff members from Liverpool House Surgery, Risedale Surgery, Abbey Road Surgery and the Family Practice took part in the workshop which was facilitated by South Cumbria Primary Care Collaborative.

During the workshop, staff learnt the following statistics:

  • There were 70,555 reported physical assaults against NHS staff in England 2015/2016
  • 2,130 occurred in primary and community care sector, including GP practices.
  • One in three staff have been verbally abused or threatened by a patient.

An investigation conducted last year by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that “GPs and their staff are increasingly facing violence, harassment, and threatening behaviour in their surgeries.”

The article went on to explain that “Crime figures obtained from police forces across the UK show a 9% rise in the overall number of recorded crimes committed on the premises of GP surgeries and health centres over the past year. “ This rose from 1,974 in 2015-16 to 2,147 in 2016-17.

The figures obtained by the BMJ show a 5% increase in recorded assaults at GP surgeries and Health Centres, a 34% rise in cases of harassment, and a 90% surge in public order offences, such as threatening behaviour. 

We believe that staff who work in General Practice have the right to work in an environment that is free from harassment and threat and we support the NHS Zero Tolerance policy.

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Louise and Caite

Nursing roles have changed dramatically throughout the years and while it can sometimes seem daunting there is support available – you just need to engage.

South Cumbria Primary Care Collaborative (SCPCC) employed two Lead Nurses in August last year as Board members recognised that Nurse representation was needed within the Federation.

As South Cumbria is such a vast area we have two lead Nurses. 

Our Lead Nurse from South Lakes is Caite Guest. She has been a Nurse for 30 years and is a Practice Nurse at Station House Surgery in Kendal. She is currently undertaking Advanced Clinical Practitioner training.

Our Lead Nurse from Furness is Louise Magee. She has been a Nurse for 23 years and is the Lead Practice Nurse at Abbey Road Surgery in Barrow.

Louise explained that one of the reasons she applied for the role of Lead Nurse was to try to encourage all of the Practice Nurses to work together more closely to enhance patient care.

She said: “There are a lot of experienced Practice Nurses out there and we need to be able to work together more closely and to share best practice with each other. I would like the Nurses within the federated practices to engage with myself and Caite. We can offer support with clinical supervision, revalidation, service development and assist with any nursing queries – we will always do our best to help.”

Caite said: “Communication is key. During my career as a Nurse I have seen nursing roles and responsibilities change drastically so it’s good to have organisations like the Federation to give a voice to Nurses, to represent them and to support them through the changes we are currently seeing.”

One of the areas Louise and Caite are keen to develop is Nurse training.

Since their appointment they have been doing a lot of background work and have been laying the foundations of a structured support system to include networking and training, but it is recognised that we need the Nurses in practices to engage with them.

To get in touch with either of our Lead Nurses, drop them an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


At our last Board Meeting Dr Richard Russell explained that he would be formally standing down from his role as Chair of South Cumbria Primary Care Collaborative at the end of March.

Following discussion it was agreed that Dr Gerry Murray will be our new Chair and Dr Arun Thimmiah will be our new Chief Executive from April.

Here at SCPCC we would all like to say a big thank you to Richard for all his hard work and commitment within the Collaborative over the last three years - it has been very much appreciated.

We would also like to wish Gerry and Arun much success in their new roles.

Dr Murray said: "I would first of all like to formally thank Richard Russell for performing the role of Chair since the start of the Collaborative three years ago. Richard has provided admirable leadership throughout this time and represented us at numerous meetings with the CCG, Better Care Together and most recently in trying to encourage us all to be involved in presenting a united voice on the new organisation, the Accountable Care Partnership (ACP).

"I am accutely aware that Richard's will indeed be very diffictult shoes to fill and I'm rather humbled to be asked to take on this role."



Barrow school children have taken the lead in devising their own health improvement projects.

Dr Sarah Arun, Cardiology Lead for Furness, approached Furness Education and Skills Partnership (FESP) with concerns about the number of heart related health issues in the Furness area. This was the beginning of an innovative collaboration between FESP and the NHS who are working together to prevent people from getting heart diseases by utilising the concept of Happy and Healthy Lifestyles.

The purpose of the project is to help develop conversations and make positive changes in health and well-being in the community. The inclusion of local school children from around Barrow has been essential to its success. The programme used ideas put forward by the children focusing on how to improve their own and their families’ health. The children have become ‘change agents’ and ‘health ambassadors’ within their local communities.

The pilot programme ran successfully with five primary schools - Ormsgill Nursery and Primary School, Greengate Junior school, St Pius X Catholic Primary School, South Walney Junior School and Victoria Academy - taking part in the challenge.

Year 5 pupils attended an introductory event, where health professionals ran workshops, and taught different aspects of how to live a healthy lifestyle. The pupils then went back to their primary schools and conducted research to help them decide on the right project for their own school community.

The pupils were then invited back to present their findings and suggestions on the theme of diet to health professionals, and each school did a fantastic job in developing their own unique projects. Ormsgill's Health ambassadors introduced a healthy tuck-shop, Greengate pupils held a healthy restaurant to encourage parents to cook healthy meals, St. Pius focused on encouraging parents to use the Sugar Swaps App, South Walney introduced "Try it Tuesday" and "Fruity Thursdays" and Victoria Academy put on an amazing role-play explaining why their "Try a new fruit each week" project was so important.

After the success of this trial, the programme is set to go forward in this year. Consensus from the school children already involved, is that this year’s theme will be exercise, with all the local gyms already signed up to support the initiative.

Dr Sarah Arun, Cardiology lead for Furness based at Norwood Medical Centre said: “It is fantastic to see the enthusiasm with which the children have taken on board the healthier lifestyle training and been able to apply it within their own school. We are really looking forward to developing this further by focusing on exercise for the 2018 programme.”



Staff and members of the public across Morecambe Bay are being asked to contribute their thoughts on health and care as part of a ground-breaking series of events in March.

Better Care Together and the Healthwatch ‘Chatty Van’ will be visiting six locations across South Cumbria to hear views from both staff and public on challenges facing the NHS and ideas to address the following challenges.

1. Much NHS ‘health money’ is now spent ontreating health conditions that need not happen. There are some key issues (outside of the NHS) that affect health e.g. living and working conditions. There are also factors such as unhealthy lifestyles and the way we look after ourselves.

2. Recruiting clinical staff is a challenge particularly in some specialties: in the hospital, in community services and in general practice.We spend extra money on external agency staff and sometimes have to pay ‘over the
odds’ for staff to provide some services that are difficult to staff.

3. The best bed is often your own bed – for some people being in hospital can lead to deterioration in health e.g. muscle wastage. Some people’s length of stay in a hospital bed here is longer than the national average.
We also know that there will always be people who do need to be in hospital, and people whose circumstances at home don’t help their recovery.

4. The demand on GPs, community nurses and all health and care services is rising. Pressures such as winter, lack of easy access to transport, poor living conditions, and lack of immediate family support cause problems.
For those family and friends who are carers, looking after vulnerable people can cause pressure and in turn affect their own health.

5. Money is wasted by variations in prescribing, spending on running duplicate clinical and ‘back office’ services across many sites and different buying processes.


There is also the opportunity to get involved via an on-line survey, just click here to access it.




Most people have opinions on any type of service they receive, and GP surgeries are no different.

Each surgery will have a Patient Participation Group and each surgery will tell you they struggle to attract members.

Why is this? We have no idea. So as the GP Federation for South Cumbria we are taking the time to inform you just how important it is to engage with your GP surgery.

Patient participation is essential in ensuring high-quality and responsive care is delivered and if there’s a problem or a concern you have, why not voice it? We can’t implement change if we don’t know about the issue.

Now, some people will think that a Patient Participation Group is just to complain, but it really isn’t. It gives you the opportunity to be at the forefront of change. You will be the first to know about any staffing changes, any system developments and any campaigns the surgery need assistance with.

CQC are also interested in interacting with these groups, when they inspect a surgery they want to know about patient engagement, they want to know that your voice has been heard.

Now you’re probably wondering how much time is being a member going to take up? And the answer is not much at all. Typically Patient Participation Groups meet up once every 6-8 weeks but with falling numbers of attendees these meetings are falling few and far between.

Let’s change this. Let’s engage. Let’s support change. Get in touch with your GP surgery to find out how you become a member.