Media Releases

On this page you will find the latest press releases from Surrey Heartlands CCG.

Reaching out to provide flu and Covid jabs to people who are homeless

People who are homeless in Surrey are being offered the opportunity to receive flu and Covid jabs this winter, all thanks to a potentially lifesaving initiative by Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System (ICS) and local partners within the Surrey Homeless Multi-Agency Group.

Working together throughout the winter, they successfully set up outreach flu clinic sessions at hostels and other support settings along with the option of a mobile unit to provide further outreach. The initiative involved reaching out to people who are homeless, many of whom have longer term health conditions, in an attempt to make it easier for them to access the flu vaccine.

People living on the streets or those with no permanent address may come into contact with a large number of people and they are at risk of contracting and passing on coronavirus. Building on the learning gained during the flu vaccination rollout, Surrey Heartlands ICS and Surrey Homeless Multi-Agency Group are now working with services, including voluntary groups, to enable people who are homeless to receive the Covid-19 vaccination.

This year it is more important than ever that people who are most at risk of flu and Covid-19 are vaccinated. The best way to avoid getting flu and coronavirus is by having the vaccinations and doing so reduces the risk of developing the illnesses significantly.

Sinead Mooney, Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said: ““People who have no permanent home are some of the most vulnerable in our county and we’re pleased to be able to offer them the Covid-19 vaccine. Thanks to outreach work in the community through partners and voluntary groups, we’ve been giving the flu jab to homeless people this winter and now we’ll be using a similar approach to support access to the Covid-19 jab.

“We’re committed to tackling health inequalities so that everyone in the community is able to thrive and no one is left behind. This is an example of how we’re working with partners to put that ambition into practice.”

Dr Charlotte Canniff, Clinical Chair, Surrey Heartlands CCG and local GP said: “This year with Covid-19 circulating, Covid-19 immunisations are more important than ever to reduce infections, protect the vulnerable in our community, protect each other and protect the NHS. Local practices and support services are facing numerous additional pressures this winter and the actions of all those involved is nothing short of heroic.”

Corinna, from Practice Plus Group who were commissioned to deliver flu outreach clinics, said: “It has been humbling and rewarding playing our part in protecting some of the most vulnerable people in society and further protecting the NHS at this difficult time. The people we are vaccinating are so grateful, and conscious that by doing this they are helping to protect others as well as themselves. We are looking forward to going out in the mobile unit to reach those who are not resident in a hostel.”

Lena Abdu, Primary Care Network Development Manager, Alliance for Better Care, said: "Our focus has always been to deliver a safe and effective programme that affords every member of our community access to a vaccination. Alongside our seven vaccination sites, we have worked hard to introduce mobile solutions that help us to reach more vulnerable members of our community and those that may find it harder to access vaccination sites. We're pleased with the progress we've made and are grateful to our partners and volunteers for helping us to bring such initiatives to life."  

Model Publication Scheme Class: Not part of the MPS

GP practices release film to reassure patients that services are open and running safely

Three GP practices in Surrey have collaborated to produce a short film that features a host of Surrey winter heroes delivering messages of reassurance. Keeping patients safe is central to everything they do, and although all their services are open, practices now need to work differently to do this.

Fairlands Practice Manager Isata Green has never appeared in a public information film before, but you wouldn’t guess it. Isata is a natural, she thanks patients for the patience they continue to show, echoing the sentiments of healthcare staff in GP surgeries across Surrey. Her colleague GP Dr Marty McKendry takes the time to apologise that health care services have been disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team at Shere Surgery and Dispensary have recorded a message to remind patients that they are being listened to. GP Dr Douglas Wardrop describes how they are “working with patients to understand their needs and prioritise what healthcare staff do”.

Health and immunisation services are available and anyone who has a routine appointment is encouraged to keep it. If anyone has a cancer concern, a medical symptom or a maternity concern, NHS advice is to contact your GP surgery.

Final words come from Pharmacist Quresh Shamsuddin and Healthcare Assistant Angela Gill, both from The Wall House Surgery, thanking patients for their kindness and what they are doing to help.

Dr Charlotte Caniff, Clinical Chair, Surrey Heartlands CCG and local GP said:

“It’s critical that the NHS is able to continue to offer non-Covid services; since the first wave we have worked hard to restore services and to make our hospitals, GP practices and other premises safe, with stringent social distancing and infection control measures in place.

We’ve learnt a lot and have adapted our services to make them as safe as possible – for example offering more virtual services where we can (which many people are also finding much more convenient).

By reducing the spread of this infection we can help preserve these vital services and make sure our hospitals and other services aren’t overrun.

Finally I want to remind people - the NHS IS still here for you. Our services are open and are running safely. So if you think you need medical care, if you are worried about something – for example if you find a lump or have other worrying symptoms – please seek help”.

Model Publication Scheme Class: Not part of the MPS

Prescriptions available around the clock in Shere

Waiting times and restricted hours are a thing of the past at Shere Surgery, where a Pharmaself24 robot (affectionately named Brenda) has been making it easier and more convenient for patients to collect their prescriptions.

Brenda – an automated prescription collection device – was installed at the surgery last month, as a solution to the problem of queuing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Explains Dr Emma Watts from the surgery: “At the start of the lockdown in March there was a feeling of panic from some of our patients who were anxious about running out of medication. People were flocking to our dispensary and we found we had a huge queue of people going down the street, all at a two metre distance.

“We have a lot of elderly patients and so having them queueing wasn’t ideal, and we couldn’t put out seating because we didn’t have the resources to clean the seats between patients. I also saw the same thing outside other pharmacies when I drove home after work.”

Emma and her colleagues set about coming up with a solution and researched all of the options available. They decided an automated prescription service would offer patients greater flexibility, reduced waiting times and increased safety.

The surgery spoke to its patient participation group, SALV (Shere and Local Villages Charity) which was in favour of the new service, and which offered to fundraise to pay for the device and its installation.

Dr Watts said: “We have a very supportive community and engaged patients, and so they were keen to help with the purchase, which was wonderful.”

The installation of the device involved securing two rounds of planning permission – both for the machine itself and the ramp which was needed to enable wheelchair access – and also some building work to redesign the interior of the practice. In all, this took six months.

Finally, the work was finished and the machine was installed. The practice staff named her Brenda the Vendor.

She can dispense 750 prescriptions per week – which equates to around 90% of the surgery’s total, and the regular whirring of its robotic conveyor is now part of the ambience in the practice.

The machine is available 24/7. Patients are sent a text with a code, which they input into the machine to get their medication, and – if they need to pay for their prescription – they can do so with a contactless card payment.

Added Dr Watts: “Our patients have found it very exciting and people say they’ve enjoyed it as it’s really simple to use and is available whenever they want to pop by.

“We know from the machine reports when it’s accessed and so we can see that people use it at all times – some pop by when they’re out for a walk on a Sunday, and one patient with social anxiety has told me she uses it very early in the morning when no-one else is about. I recently had a patient with a urine infection who couldn’t get to the surgery before it closed on a Friday evening but I was able to prescribe her antibiotics which she collected that evening from Brenda. It’s wonderful to be providing a service at all hours, even when we’re not physically in the building.

“Some people still want to come in to collect their prescriptions from the dispensing hatch as they enjoy that human interaction, but it has helped to reduce the number of people around the building at one time, which is obviously safer during this pandemic.”

Patients have been taking to social media to comment on the new device with one person on Twitter saying: “Perfect, collected this morning and so easy. Could time with school run, no queue and had baby in arms so managed easily one-handed! So simple!”

The surgery also reports that staff are happy with Brenda. Explains Dr Watts: “When we announced it to our team they were a little anxious – after all none of us are experts in programming robots. But it’s quite intuitive to use and it is now saving us a lot of counter time so our staff are more available to focus on dispensing and other aspects of their workload. The machine works via unique bar codes so is safer as it takes away the risk of human error".

“This is a wonderful innovation and a great example of a surgery which is providing an enhanced level of customer service for their patients, “ said Vicky Stobbart, Integrated Care Partnership Director for Guildford and Waverley.

“It’s so convenient for patients who no longer have to queue or have a wasted journey to check if their medicines are ready, and I’m delighted that it’s freeing up staff time too.”

Model Publication Scheme Class: Not part of the MPS

Struggling with aches and pains?

Patients urged to contact physiotherapy service through local GP Practices to tackle aches and pains.

Review Date: 2020-08-12
Review Due: 2021-02-08
Model Publication Scheme Class: Class 9: Services Commissioned

Stay safe - just call 111 first

Stay safe and avoid waiting in A&E – just call 111 first.


Review Date: 2020-12-02
Review Due: 2021-12-02
Model Publication Scheme Class: Class 9: Services Commissioned

Paralympic Gold Medallist Launches Wheelchair Services

Guildford-born gold medallist Rachel Morris MBE turned out to lend her support to officially launch a new Surrey and North East Hampshire-wide NHS wheelchair service, which has comes into effect this month.

Ms Morris, who has won multiple gold medals at the Paralympic Games in both rowing and cycling, marked the launch of the new service which will support wheelchair users across Surrey, North East Hants and Farnham to continue to live independent lives. She was joined by Surrey Downs ICP Deputy Managing Director Lorna Hart, and Millbrook Healthcare’s CEO Phil Campling.

Following a competitive tender process in 2019, Millbrook Healthcare Group, specialist providers of wheelchair services and mobility equipment across the UK were appointed as the new provider. The appointment was made jointly by three Clinical Commissioning Groups; NHS Surrey Heartlands*, NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham and NHS Surrey Heath CCGs, the NHS organisations in charge of planning and buying wheelchair services for people across Surrey.

Key to this appointment, was a broad range of wheelchair service users and carers from across Surrey and NE Hampshire who were involved in designing the new provision of service to ensure their needs were central at every stage. The new single provider will bring a fully integrated care model and personalised service ensuring that clinical assessments, repairs and maintenance, delivery and collection, specialist seating and ongoing support are all provided through one organisation and single point of access for clients. New, purpose-built facilities are now based in Sheerwater, Woking and Salfords, Redhill.

Ms Morris, a passionate advocate for improving wheelchair services for users across the county and attended one of the engagement events designing the new service, said As an advocate for wheelchair users and working with schools to help give children the skills they need to live more independent lives, I was pleased to be at the launch of the new wheelchair service today. I was excited to hear about the holistic approach Millbrook Healthcare has to wheelchair services, with clinicians trying to maximise the quality of life of wheelchair users through the service and help them to reach their goals.”

Lorna Hart, Deputy MD of Surrey Downs ICP said “I’m delighted that the new service is now up and running, and we can offer local wheelchair users a brand new, bespoke service, designed by service users, for service users. This changeover would not have been possible without a combined and dedicated effort between CCG colleagues, service providers and each and every person who took part in the engagement events which provided invaluable views on what the new service should look like. As commissioners of the new service, we are committed to maintaining a high standard of care, and will continue to work with our Wheelchair Steering Group as the new service progresses”.

Phil Campling, CEO of Millbrook Healthcare, said “It’s an honour to deliver this new, exciting and innovative wheelchair service across Surrey, North East Hants and Farnham, building on the partnership with our colleagues in health and social care and most importantly our service users, their families and carers”.

For more information on the new wheelchair service, visit the Surrey Heartlands CCG website.

Due to social distancing measures, the event was held digitally via online platform Zoom for the majority of participants.


pdf 200721 Paralympian Launches Surrey Wide Wheelchair Services SyHeartCCG (369 KB)