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Primary Care Network

The NHS is constantly changing to try and meet the increasing challenges of providing healthcare to the population. General Practice also known as primary care has a significant part to play in the way healthcare services are offered and delivered.

From 1st April all GP Practices are being asked to join with neighbouring practices to form clusters which are being called Primary Care Networks. These networks will be made up of GP practices that are close to one another in location to make a total network population of between 30,000 and 50,000 patients. This does not mean that these practices will be merging together, more that they will become the centres around which other NHS services will be wrapped, such as district nurses and social care.

So what does this mean for you as our patient and the practice you are registered with?

Four practices in our area, namely this one, St Margaret’s, Richmond Road and Grafton Road are coming together to form a Primary Care Network. We hope that by working more closely together with each other and the services that we all rely on to support our work, we will be able to jointly deliver an improved service to you, our patient.

As of 1st July, Primary Care Network has been approved by our local Clinical Commissioning Group and we have appointed a clinical director (Dr Vicky Matiopoulou) to help our network focus on areas for improvement, and act as a link to the other Primary Care Networks in the area, the local hospitals, Health Watch, Solihull Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group. This will help us to influence how health and social care is delivered to our joint population.

One of the most important and hopefully noticeable improvements for you will be the creation of more extended hour’s appointments available outside of the usual Monday to Friday 8am to 6.30pm. This builds on the already very successful extended access hub which works out of Richmond Medical Centre Practice. In future, we hope to be able to offer a different range of appointments not just face to face but some telephone consultations as well as we know it can be difficult to have a discussion with your GP during the work day and possibly, on line.

Through another contract that we are all working to, all Practices in our network will gradually take on offering all their own appointments for patients who need to have blood tests. We hope to be able to offer some weekend and evening appointments through the hub for these tests to be taken.

We will also be employing a social prescriber who will support those isolated patients who need some support to integrate with the community and combat loneliness. The network will have a clinical pharmacist who will offer consultations to help patients understand their medication and resolve any problems they might be experiencing as well as help checks patients medications when they are discharged from hospital

We are at the very beginning on an exciting journey that is part of the NHS long term plan for how care should be delivered to communities. Your Practice and its primary care network are committed to keeping you informed along every step of the way, so when we have more information or news, we will let you know.

In the meantime, if you would like to know more, you can always ask to speak to your practice manager.

New Prescribing Policy

What is changing?

Our practice, along with others throughout England, will be implementing a new policy on prescriptions for over-the-counter medicines when used to treat a range of minor health conditions.  The national guidance on this policy has come from NHS England and the full local policy can be found on the Birmingham and Solihull CCG website.

The GPs and nurses at Richmond Medical Centre will no longer routinely be prescribing medicines that can be bought over-the-counter (OTC) for certain, mostly short term, conditions.  We will also no longer be prescribing vitamin and mineral supplements for most patients.

We are asking patients to take a different approach to managing the following conditions:  

acute sore throat

minor burns and scalds


mild cystitis

coughs, colds and nasal congestion

mild dry skin

cradle cap

mild irritant dermatitis


mild to moderate hay fever

diarrhoea (adults)

dry eyes and sore tired eyes

mouth ulcers


nappy rash

excessive sweating

infant colic


infrequent cold sores of the lip

sun protection

infrequent constipation

teething or mild toothache

infrequent migraine


insect bites and stings

travel sickness

mild acne

warts and verrucae

haemorrhoids (piles)

oral thrush

head lice

prevention of tooth decay

indigestion and heartburn

ringworm or athlete's foot

minor pain, discomfort and fever (such as aches and sprains, headache, period pain, and back pain)

We are moving towards the idea that these conditions will usually be treated via “self-care”.   The team of health professionals at your local pharmacy can offer help and clinical advice to manage these minor health concerns.  You can buy OTC medicines at your local pharmacy and/or supermarket for any of these conditions.

If you are prescribed medicines that are available over-the-counter for a chronic (long-term) medical condition, such as paracetamol for osteoarthritis, you will still have them prescribed by your GP.  

If you have certain long-term medical conditions we may still want you to see the GP or nurse for the conditions listed above, as it may be the most appropriate way for you to get your medicines and allow us to monitor your health.


Why are we doing this?

In the financial year 2017/18, the Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which our practice is part of, spent approximately £ 15.7 million on prescriptions for medicines which could otherwise be purchased over the counter from a pharmacy and/or other outlets such as petrol stations or supermarkets.  The costs to the NHS for many of the items used to treat minor conditions are often higher than the prices for which they can be purchased over-the-counter.


The benefits of this new policy include:

  • Fewer appointments in general practice will be taken up in dealing with conditions which are suitable for self-care. This means that more appointments will be available for those who need medical advice.
  • People will be encouraged to take more control over their own healthcare, using the skills of highly trained community pharmacists if they wish to do so.
  • NHS resources can be re-focussed towards other treatments e.g. new medicines to prevent strokes, better medicines to improve breathing, a wider variety of treatments for diabetes.

Where can I find more information?

See the Birmingham and Solihull CCG website for more information on the policy, frequently asked questions and where to get information to support ‘self-care’.

Over the Counter Medicines Patient Leaflet

Over the Counter Medicines Poster

Your Care Connected

Allowing healthcare professionals to view information from your GP record will provide them with important and potentially life-saving information; it will also help to reduce unnecessary repeat tests, such as blood tests and X-rays. Sharing your medical records could save your life.

Did you know... Your GP medical record is the most complete record of your health and wellbeing. But did you know that when you visit a hospital, access mental health or out of hours services, or need an ambulance, those treating you cannot access your record? Your local NHS feels that those involved in your care should be able to see vital information about you to help improve the medical care that you receive, which is why Your Care Connected is being implemented across Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull. Your Care Connected will allow doctors, nurses and other registered healthcare professionals caring for you to view information from your GP record, with your permission, to provide you with better, safer care.

How this helps you •

  • Faster and easier access to your medical information, which could save your life
  • Provides information such as any medication you take and the dosage, any allergies you may have, the results of any recent medical tests you’ve had or which member of the GP practice staff you saw last 
  • Improves the safety and quality of your care 
  • Less time spent filling in forms 
  • More secure than your GP sending your record via fax or recorded delivery to the participating organisations (which is the current alternative) 
  • Enables safer delivery of care in an emergency

Who will be able to access your information?

When you visit one of the organisations below, the person treating you will ask for your permission to view information from your GP record using Your Care Connected.

This will help to provide you with better, safer care: • Birmingham Children’s Hospital • Birmingham Community Healthcare

  • Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust • Birmingham Women’s Hospital • Birmingham City Hospital • Good Hope Hospital • Heartlands Hospital • Queen Elizabeth Hospital • The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital • Sandwell General Hospital • Solihull Hospital • West Midlands Ambulance Service • Local out-of-hours GP services

Your Care Connected can only be used to view your information with your permission and for your direct care. Please note that clinicians may override your permission in the event of an emergency, for example if you are unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate, or they feel it is essential to your health and wellbeing.

Your information will not be used for any other purposes, such as for research, or given /sold to third parties.

Protecting Information

The importance of privacy Only registered healthcare professionals can view your medical records and they will always ask permission before doing so. What’s more, access is provided through a locked network ensuring your information is always secured to the highest possible standards. The information you share will always be protected.

What will they see?

Health professionals treating you will only view the parts of your medical record listed below and only with your permission; if you allow them to access your record, it will provide them with a host of important information, including: • Allergies • Medication • Hospital admissions and referrals • Vaccinations and immunisations • Test results • Diagnoses • Treatment • Medical procedures • End of life wishes • Demographic information (age, gender etc.) • Concerns related to abuse of vulnerable children or adults.

What is not shared?

Your Care Connected does not share everything from your GP record. This is because we follow national guidance on patient confidentiality and the sharing of sensitive information. As a result, Your Care Connected does not currently share information relating to:

  • IVF treatment • HIV and AIDS • Sexually transmitted infections • Gender reassignment • Termination of pregnancy • Free text from GP record.

Your information, your choice

When it comes to your healthcare, you have the power to choose who can see your medical information, when they can see it and how they can access it. If you are happy to share your medical information with those treating you, you do not need to do anything further. If you visit one of the organisations listed on the previous page, those treating you will ask for your permission to view your record.

Opting Out

If you decide to ‘opt-out’ of Your Care Connected only your usual medical practice will be able to access your record electronically. Please be aware that opting out will mean your record is not available at all, even in emergency situations. If you wish to ‘opt-out’ please speak to your practice directly.

Would you like to know more?

Please visit

Alternatively, you can email the team

Or call them on Freephone 0333 150 3388

Download the patient leaflet Your Care Connected Patient Leaflet

Download the Opt Out Form Your Care Connected Opt Out Form

For more information about the changes to repeat prescriptions and the pharmacy - Repeat Prescription Changes PDF

News letters

The PPG (Patient Participation Group) aims to create regular newsletters so that all patients can keep up to date with the latest news from the practice. Below is the 1st issue available for download now.

August 2021

National Diabetes Audit (NDA)

Richmond Medical Centre is taking part in an important national project about diabetes care and treatment in the NHS. the project is called the National Diabetes Audit (NDA).

To take part, your GP practice will share information about your diabetes care and treatment with the NDA. The type of information, and how it is shared, is controlled by law and enforced by strict rules of confidentiality and security.

For further information about how your information is used please see the NDA patient information leaflet

Taking part in the NDA shows that this GP practice is committed to improving care for people with diabetes.


if you are eligible for the MenACWY vaccine which prevents meningitis in young people, please read this letter MenACWY_Student letter

Kidney risk - PDF Acute Kidney Risk

Learn a little bit more by downloading and reading this informative leaflet about Vitamin D.  Click the link below to begin the download.  free vitamin D leaflet "Vitamin D what it is and who needs it"

PPG ( Patient Participation Group) – We need your views

Would you like to receive news from your Practice first hand?

Are you interested in learning more about health and associated matters?

Would you like to receive any of this information on a regular basis?

If so, then all it needs is your name and e-mail address (this will never be forwarded onto anyone but the practice).

Please contact your Patient Participation Group either through reception or any Group member.

*if you would like more information on the group and how it works please click this link*->




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