Practice News

5th Dec 2023

Decommissioning of National Booking Services (NBS) and 119

Please note that the NBS and 119 are being decomissioned as of 15 December.

Information regarding Walk-in apt availability from other providers remaining open is available on the ICB website click here


10th Nov 2023

Behind the scenes of your general practice. Come and meet the team

Did you know that, in addition to your GP, there are other health professionals in general practice who can help you get the right care?

General Practice teams are made up of a whole range of professionals, such as nurses,paramedics and clinical pharmacists. But a new survey has found that many people don’t realise that many roles, like mental health practitioners (66%), physiotherapists (71%) and social prescribers (89%), could be available at general practice.

To help explain the support available, the NHS has released afilm that sees three curious children go behind the scenes at a general practice to meet the healthprofessionals working there and learn more about how they help get patients the care they need.

In the film, the children are greeted by a member of the reception team, who takes them to meet members of the general practice, including a paramedic, mental health practitioner, social prescriber and physiotherapist. The film illustrates the real-life process patients go through when they contact their local general practice, fromthe reception team using theinformation patients provideto getting directed to the righthealth professionalfor the care they need.

Ifyou need to see a GP you willalways be offered an appointment, buttheremay beother health professionals available who can provide themostappropriatesupport. Having a range of health professionals at your general practice means youcan receive the right care for your condition as quickly aspossible.

Your general practice team is here to help you. find out more.

9th Nov 2023

Remembrance Day

We’re proud to be a Veteran Friendly Accredited GP practice and to support our veteran community this Remembrance Day.

We know that this Remembrance Day is likely to be particularly challenging for the many veterans in our community and we want you to know that we are trained and committed to effectively identifying and supporting your health needs.

As a Veteran Friendly Accredited practice, our team: 

  • recognises the importance of identifying veteran patients within our community
  • understands the unique health needs that veterans may have
  • strives to provide veterans with the very best care and support 
  • knows about the specialist veteran healthcare services that exist 
  • undertakes regular training and development to ensure we’re able to deliver the very best care to veterans in our community and meet the health commitments of the Armed Forces Covenant

If you’re a veteran patient, please do let us know that you have served so that we can make sure you receive the most appropriate and best care, if and when you ever need it. Please email the practice to let us know and we will update your personal information on your clinical record.

You can learn more about the accreditation and how it supports veteran patients, here:

6th Nov 2023

Patient Survey October 2023

Thank you to everyone who completed the new Patient Survey. We are thrilled to see the results with 87% of you rating your experience of our service Good or Very Good.

Additional questions were added for the most recent survey for those questions that we didn't score well on in the NHSE GP Patient Survey which took place earlier in the year. Again, the results are very pleasing.

"Despite all the negative hype, the Weardale service is excellent in my opinion, all staff are easy to talk to and considerate "

"Phone answering system clear and easy to ask for call back if busy. Reception v helpful on advising availability of non urgent appts and signposting to urgent advice. "

"those girls are run ragged on reception and the phones yet they always have a smile "

In answer to some of the comments that are a recurring theme:

Wolsingham appts - unfortunately the branch-site has no disabled access so we are limited to the appointments that we can offer.

Length of welcome message - there is quite a lot of information that we need inform patients of. To by-pass the message, you can go direct to the appointment or query que

6th Nov 2023

Understanding the role of mental health practitioners in primary care

Discover how mental health practitioners in primary care are supporting people to access the right care at the right time.

Mental health practitioners provide GPs and other primary care staff with timely support on the best ways to help people with complex mental health needs.

These roles, one of many new roles in primary care, represent an exciting opportunity to provide a brand new kind of support that works across traditional boundaries between services.

Find out how in this new animation.  click here to watch video

25th Sep 2023

Eligibility Clarification for Shingles Vaccinations

From 1 September 2023, the routine age for the shingles programme is changing from routinely offering Zostavax at 70 years of age to routinely offering Shingrix at 60 years of age. This change will be undertaken in a phased approach over 2 stages during a 10 year implementation period.

This means that not all over 60s are immediately eligible.

The Weardale Practice will be contacting eligible patients, when they become eligible to book appointments. Please do not contact the practice to book an appointment until you have been contacted by us.

Thank you.

14th Sep 2023

'Be wise, immunise' your child against flu – you nose it makes sense!

Protect your child, and others, from flu by making sure they get their flu vaccine.

Flu can be a very nasty illness in children, causing a range of symptoms including fever, dry cough, sore throat, aching joints, and extreme tiredness. The virus also spreads easily, and children can pass it on to others.

The nasal spray vaccine is free for children aged 2-3 years, those in primary and secondary schools up to year 11.

The vaccine is also free for children and young people who have a medical condition from the age of six months.

The flu vaccination for most children is needle-free for those aged 2-17 years.

It is given as a single squirt up each nostril; it’s quick, painless, and more effective in children than an injectable vaccine.

Children aged 2-3 years (on 31 August 2023) will be given the flu vaccination at their GP surgery.

If you haven't heard from your practice by the middle of October, please get in touch with them to arrange an appointment for your child's flu vaccination.

If your child is of primary or secondary school age, up to year 11, you will receive information from the School Age Immunisation Service asking you to give your consent so your child can have their free vaccination at school.

Please remember to complete the consent process as soon as possible.

All children up to the age of 18 who live with someone with a high-risk health condition, or those that live with someone who has, can get the free flu vaccine from their GP.

For more information visit

6th Sep 2023

New Telephone Feature

We are pleased to announce that our phone system has been upgraded to enable a new feature which allows patients to request a call-back.
This option does seem to be very popular already and the admin/reception team are answering call-back calls (when they get to position 1) and calls waiting in the queue. All calls are prioritised the same, so volumes and actual call answer times will not be affected in the long-term.
Please note that our telephone opening times are 8am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 6pm
22nd Aug 2023

Telephony Upgrade

We are upgrading our telephone system at the start of September to provide a call-back feature for patients. We know that patients are often frustrated by the call-waiting times (average 5 mins 45 seconds) and the starting queue position (86% join in 3, 2 or 1). Our Friends and Family feedback always mention these issues and the NHS GP Survey tells us that contacting the practice is often difficult.

 So, from September you will be able to select an option to have a call-back. You will then be able to hang-up and wait for a call-back from the practice. The system will retain your position in the queue and call you back when you reach position one - the system will then attempt to call you back (once).

 Hopefully this new feature will resolve some of the frustration that patients feel and then reduce the relaying of this information to our admin/reception staff which ultimately takes up their time, making calls longer and making the call wait time longer for others. We are also hoping that it will reduce the volume of lost calls and make contacting the practice a lot easier.

22nd Aug 2023

NHSE committed to a national patient education campaign

NHSE committed to a national patient education campaign and it's great to see that this has now started.
A postive and well written article clearly explaining the modern general practice access model and the various roles within a gp practice.
Please take the time to read this. Your understanding will support the practice staff who work hard, every day, to provide the most appropriate care for all patients.
16th Aug 2023

Friends and Family Test

We send links to a survey on a monthly basis and read the feedback every month, more often than not it does make us smile. So thank you. We take into consideration what we can and the feedback is shared with all staff – good or bad. Clinical staff can use feedback to support their clinical appraisal and revalidation. This is your chance to provide much needed feedback, so please continue

 Thankfully the majority of the feedback is very positive. As you can imagine, a lot of the comments are regarding the call waiting times and then availability of appointments. As mentioned earlier we are attempting to resolve some of this issue by introducing the call-back feature on the telephone system and tackle non-attendance rates. Whilst reducing the non-attendance rate will not resolve the problem, it has to be the starting point. We will then start to address the frequent attenders, patients with high poor attendance and look at ways to further support patients with multiple long-term conditions.

"I was offered an appointment on the same day that I rang and I was seen at my appointment time."

 "The attention given to me by the nurse was first class"

 "Quality of Practitioners: caring and efficient, excellent intra-personal skills . Running of practice exceptionally good, waiting times well controlled, reception cheerful and welcoming."

 "The lady that I  spoke to on the telephone and on my arrival for  my appointment was very good and replied with good answers to anything I said or asked her about. The appointment was spot on time and the doctor was very good and did everything that I expected of them to help me with the problem I was there for."

 "Very professional service. Inevitably though the long waits for appointments is frustrating."

 "The nurse was very good, outlined the problem and dealt with it which resulted in me getting my hearing aid upgrade"


Very Good 57%
Good 22%
Average 9%
Poor 5%
Very Poor 5%
Don't Know 2%


16th Aug 2023


eConsults are available via our website and can be completed by the patient or on behalf of the patient.

 An eConsult is when you send your practice a completed web form about a health condition from the website. The practice then calls you or emails you by the end of the next working day to offer you advice, tell you whether you need an appointment or offer you a prescription.

 It is a set of online tools for you to check which service is right for your symptoms, get immediate self-help advice, find out what other services can help you or send an online consultation to your GP practice. It may help manage certain conditions, without the need to attend the surgery in person.

 Please visit the eConsult page for more information.

16th Aug 2023


The NHS App allows you to access a range of NHS services. You can download the NHS App on your phone or tablet. You can also access the same services in a web browser by logging in through the NHS website at


You must be aged 13 or over to use the NHS App and you will need to prove who you are to get full access to the NHS App. With full access you can:

  • order repeat prescriptions and nominate a pharmacy where you would like to collect them
  • book and manage appointments
  • view your GP health record to see information like your allergies and medicines (if your GP has given you access to your detailed medical record, you can also see information like test results)
  • get your NHS COVID Pass (there are also other ways to get your COVID Pass)
  • register your organ donation decision
  • choose how the NHS uses your data
  • view your NHS number (find out what your NHS number is)
  • use NHS 111 online to answer questions and get instant advice or medical help near you

Before proving who you are, you can use the NHS App to:

  • search trusted NHS information and advice on hundreds of conditions and treatments
  • find NHS services near you

Download the app from your app store and get started!

16th Aug 2023

Appointment Attendance

We have introduced further appointment reminders to try and tackle the volume of appointments that have not been attended.

Patients missing appointments impacts the practice and patients alike. Every appointment not attended means we have a clinician who could have seen another patient and their appointment is subsequently delayed. Everyone has heard someone say that it's difficult to get an appointment, so the non-attendance of appointments is adding to the problem as the patient will probably want another appointment.

 In July 2022, 1 in 22 appointments were missed resulting in 64 hours of wasted practitioner time and with an estimated cost of £6,800. 256 x 15 minute appointments.

 In July 2023, 1 in 43 appointments were missed resulting in 28 hours of wasted practitioner time and with an estimated cost of £2,800. 112 x 15 minute appointments.

 This improvement is as a direct result of appointment confirmations and reminders being sent.

We have tweaked the reminders sent to patients a few times and are now sending appointment confirmations, reminders one-week in advance and reminders one-day in advance for all appointment types. The reminders now include a link for patients to cancel the appointment – please cancel your appointment as soon as you can to release the appointment for another patient. Same-day appointments receive a confirmation only.

14th Aug 2023

Prescriptions sent to the Wolsingham Chemist

We understand that there are some supply issues at the Wolsingham chemist. The practice are in regular communication with the chemist and have introduced a short-term solution internally until the issue is resolved.

Prescriptions will continue to be sent to Wolsingham. One of three things can then happen:

1) All of the medication is issued. No further action.

2) Some of the medication can be issued: Wolsingham chemist will email the practice and the remaining items will be reissued by the admin team. Admin will contact patients to confirm which chemist to send the remaining prescription to.

3) None of the medication can be issued: Wolsingham chemist will return the request into the 'system'. You will then be able to go to any chemist, tell them the prescription was sent back to the 'spine' and ask for the prescription.

You do have the option to change your nominated pharmacy via the NHS app and you can find alternatives during this time at

10th Aug 2023

August Newsletter

7th Aug 2023

Staff update

Dr Smith has been working with us in a locum capacity for a few months to see if we all like each other. On 1 July Dr Smith became a permanent member of the team, which is great news for both the practice and patients. Some of you may have met Dr Smith at Wolsingham as we are rotating doctors there on a fortnightly basis.

 Nurse Stanwix leaves us in September to start a new position elsewhere. Nurse Hope and Nurse Roberts will be joining us in September as Advanced Nurse Practitioners providing five day cover.

 Dr Rowan remains on maternity leave and returns in February. Dr Thomas starts her maternity leave in September. Both positions are covered in the practice.

 Emily and Sharon have joined the admin team replacing a couple of staff who left the team recently. We wish Annabel and Sophie all the best for the future.

4th Aug 2023

Telephony Upgrade

We are upgrading our telephone system at the start of September to provide a call-back feature for patients. We know that patients are often frustrated by the call-waiting times (average 5 mins 45 seconds) and the starting queue position (86% join in 3, 2 or 1). Our Friends and Family feedback always mention these issues and the NHS GP Survey tells us that contacting the practice is often difficult.

 So, from September you will be able to select an option to have a call-back. You will then be able to hang-up and wait for a call-back from the practice. The system will retain your position in the queue and call you back when you reach position one - the system will then attempt to call you back (once).

 Hopefully this new feature will resolve some of the frustration that patients feel and then reduce the relaying of this information to our admin/reception staff which ultimately takes up their time, making calls longer and making the call wait time longer for others. We are also hoping that it will reduce the volume of lost calls and make contacting the practice a lot easier.

4th Aug 2023

New Telephone Opening Times

Many of the GP practices in the area close their telephone lines at lunchtime to give staff a much needed break from answering calls and to give staff the opportunity to work uninterrupted on other tasks, talk to colleagues about queries they may have in relation to patient tasks, complete training and to spend the break together, away from their desks.


 From 4 September, The Weardale Practice will also be closing the telephone lines at lunchtime. During this period, callers will be asked to call back or submit an e-consult. The volume of calls is very low (5%) and we will monitor the situation and feedback. The times will be confirmed on the telephone welcome message. website, Facebook page and in reception.

1st Aug 2023

Covid and Flu Season

It's hard to believe that flu season is upon us and another season of Covid boosters.

 The autumn Covid booster programme will continue to focus on those at greatest risk of getting seriously ill. These patients will benefit the most from a booster vaccination. Data from last autumn’s programme showed that those who received a booster were around 53% less likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid in the 2 to 4 weeks following vaccination, compared to those who did not receive a booster.

 The flu programme provides direct protection to those at higher risk of flu associated morbidity and mortality, including older people, pregnant women, and those in clinical risk groups

 We will be organising flu and Covid clinics shortly. We expect to take delivery of the vaccinations towards the end of September and we will contact eligible patients to book appointments. The below groups will be eligible for vaccines from September.

  • those aged 65 years and over
  • those aged 6 months to under 65 years pregnant women
  • all children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2023
  • primary school aged children (from Reception to Year 6)
  • those in long-stay residential care homes
  • carers in receipt of carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person
  • close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • frontline workers in a social care 
  • those in a clinical risk groups

We know some patients are really keen to book appointments but please do not contact us to book your appointment until prompted. Patient invites have been successful in the past and we will continue to use this booking method to contact patients. For those patients without a mobile or the availability to book via this method, then we will call you to book your appointment.

 See you all in September!!!

6th Jul 2023

Appointment Reminders

We have been sending appointment reminders for our Nurse and HCA appointments due to the high volume of DNA rates for appointments booked a few weeks in the future.
We have changed the system this week. You will now receive a reminder a week ahead of your appointment and the day before. The reminder includes a link to cancel your appointment which will help us significantly in reducing call volumes and releasing appointments for other patients.
5th Jul 2023

We have a new doctor in the house!!

Dr Jenny Smith has been working with us in a locum capacity for a few months to see if we all like each other.

Dr Smith became a permanent member of staff this week, which is great news for both the practice and patients as Dr Dendle has reduced her sessions by 1 per week - so we are gaining and additional session of valuable doctor time each week. Some of you may have met Dr Smith at Wolsingham as we are rotating doctors at Wolsingham.

We have other clinical staff changes taking place from September and this has already been back-filled or recruitment is underway. When all of the clinicians are confirmed in position and working patterns agreed - I will post an update closer to the time.


3rd Jul 2023

Free Course to help you loose weight for type 2 diabetic patients or to prevent type 2 diabetes

The Public health Collaboration have useful videos on their website to support patients who wish to lose weight through a real food/low carb lifestyle to prevent or put type 2 diabetes into remission. 

Click on the link below to access their weekly lifestyle support group page and watch the videos.

13th Jun 2023

Insulin Pens and Sharps Bins

If you have an insulin pen, please do not bring any back to the practice - whether full or empty. They can be put in a normal bin, if empty or a sharps box if full. Please do not attempt to hand them to a member of staff or leave it on reception. We will not accept them.

If you have a sharps bin, these can be returned to the practice as long as they are sealed before handing them to a member of staff.

Please tell your friends.

31st May 2023

Patient Experience Survey - May 2023

If you have had a touch-point in the last two-weeks you will have received a text message kindly asking you to complete a short Patient Experience survey. The results are coming in fast and you have until 13 June to submit your feedback.
We have been working on a number of quality improvement initiatives and your feedback will support the work that we have done and help us improve further.
When the survey closes, we will be comparing the results to the survey that was carried out in January.
Thank you to everyone who is providing the feedback.
24th May 2023

Text Messages from NHS - referrals

We understand that there have been text messages being sent to patients from NHS regarding outstanding referral and asking patients to click on a link. Whilst we are told that these are genuine but have been sent in error - we know that there are text messages going to patients who do not have outstanding referrals. 

We are posting this to make you aware and ask that you do not phone the practice to query this as we have not sent them.

We have reported the issue and will post an update when we have one.
Many thanks

17th May 2023


We continue to organise regular covid booster clinics at the practice. Unfortunately, due to the current supply of vaccine at a national and local level - we are very much restricted to organising small, short-notice clinics.
We are contacting eligible patients when we add the covid clinics either by text or by phone.
We are sending more texts than there are appointments as this is the only way to invite patients. If you have been sent a link to book an appointment and there are none available to book when you click through the link - please do not contact the practice. We will either be sending a new link when it is confirmed how many doses we will be receiving or calling you if you do not have a mobile number.
Please try not to contact the practice to book an appointment - we will contact you.
You can still book appointments at other venues such as local pharmacies who are signed up to deliver the vaccine.
We know this isn't a great message to be sending to patients but due to the volume of vaccine being released at a national and then local level, we are unable to increase the number of clinics and then patients vaccinated each week.
19th Apr 2023

Training Afternoon - We are Closed

We have been closed this afternoon for training. Our telephone message should have notified callers of this but unfortunately our telephone provider (I am trying to find out why) didn't update the system. I should have checked that this had been done and have taken steps to check that this is place for the training afternoons going forward.

Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience and frustration that this will have caused.

19th Apr 2023



MyType1Diabetes is a free, online resource with tailored support to help adults in England live well with their type 1 diabetes.
It can help patients understand more about type 1 diabetes and increase their confidence in managing their condition through e-learning, signposting to local services and a wide-range of content available in 10 different languages including Polish, Spanish and Urdu.
The programme is for people over the age of 18, with type 1 diabetes. Families, carers, and healthcare professionals can also sign up at

18th Apr 2023

Crisis Transformation across Durham and Darlington.

As part of the NHS long term plan, we are increasing alternative services to those in crisis.

National funding has been invested in all areas to increase the range of alternative services that can meet the range of different needs and preferences for accessing crisis support.

The funding is to be invested into alternative models of crisis support, providing an alternative to A&E or inpatient admission. The programme aims to identify local inequalities among people who use crisis services and to implement alternative services that better meet the needs of these groups.

As part of this work, we want to improve signposting and expand coverage to reach more people and make a greater impact. The NHS and voluntary sectors will work together on these alternatives.

Please follow link below to find out more

Crisis Team Information

18th Apr 2023

Waiting Well Programme in County Durham

A 'waiting well' programme is being implemented across the whole ICB to help support our most vulnerable patients while they wait for surgery. 

'Waiting Well' is a regionwide programme that aims to support patients to improve their physical and mental health while they are waiting for their operation. Find out how the Waiting Well programme has helped one patient in the North East and North Cumbria realise that life is worth living.

For patients, this means they will receive a full wellbeing assessment and offered support in line with identified needs as part of their pre-surgical care. The aim is to help patients get the best outcome from their surgery. 

For practices, it means patients will receive additional support to help them remain well while they wait for surgery and possibly reduce the need to visit the practice.

Below are a couple of case-studies:

Waiting Well – Life is worth living

“Before your intervention I thought I just wanted to die, now I realise life is worth living," was the response from one patient to the support from the Waiting Well team. 

With uncontrollable pain, mental health struggles and the loss of their mother the patient was feeling isolated and lonely before being referred to the Waiting Well programme while preparing for their surgery.

The patient had a small appetite due to continuous pain which attributed to them experiencing complications including sickness and diarrhoea. The latter issues made the patient reluctant to leave home due to the anxiety of finding public toilets.

They lost contact with friends impacting severely on their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Following referrals by the programme the patient received amended medication to control pain levels, counselling and were sign-posted to the local befriending service.

The patient has now had their operation, has a new outlook on life, has reconnected with old friends and is also showing interest in attending more community groups.

Waiting Well – Building confidence and living a better life

Attending physical activity sessions and engaging more in social situations is helping a busy grandparent prepare for their surgical procedure.

After living a sedentary lifestyle, being isolated and restricted in their everyday living, the patient is now enjoying daily exercise and meeting new friends after being referred by the programme to a physiotherapist and regular fitness class.

The patient is now able to do more household jobs, go out more often and is working towards a healthy body weight. They are also finding everyday life easier and are able to cope better looking after their grandchildren with a much lower amount of pain on those busy days.

They have much more confidence in their ability to make changes and are proud of what they have achieved so far.

Meeting other people and taking part in the physical activity sessions have not only improved the patient's health and confidence but also allowed them to engage with people socially, something they were very rarely able to do before having help from the Waiting Well service.

18th Apr 2023


Thank you to all patients who completed the feedback form for March. We look forward to seeing the feedback and pleased that, despite a challenging start to 2023, the feedback shows that our patients are generally pretty pleased with the practice.

  • My appointment was on time and ran smoothly
  • Booked appointment easily and quickly
  • Appointment went straightforward and staff were pleasant.
  • Ordering prescription online was quick and easy
  • Did the online e consult and had a telephone reply the same afternoon and appointment booked in for the following morning
  • Telephone appointment. Rang on time -good friendly and helpful service
  • "As far as I'm concerned my new doctors have saved my life. I changed my doctors a little while ago, I did not realise how many opioids medication I was on. These doctors helped me reduce my medication, My life is worth living, I feel good. I'm so glad I came here"
  • "Because the staff who saw me , or spoke to me were amazingly informed and informative And I began ‘to see the light’. THANK You so much"

Many comments are concerning the availability of GP appointments and answering telephone calls. As mentioned above, we are looking at this process internally and whilst there is still a wide-spread view that appointments have to be with a doctor, our admin/reception team are trained to signpost patients to the most appropriate clinician – this could be a physio, pharmacist, nurse or doctor.

Please continue to complete the friends and family survey  - hardcopy surveys are available in the reception. Ask one of our receptionists and pop it in the box or hand it back.


16th Apr 2023

eConsult - Consult Online from Home

16th Apr 2023

Care Navigation - why we ask questions!

We shared a post recently on our Facebook page regarding Care Navigation. Please see the attached link for further information.


16th Apr 2023

Ways to help you have a Healthy weight in County Durham

What is a healthy weight service?

This is a free service to help people living in County Durham to have a healthy weight.

 Your GP or health care provider can refer you into a free service.

The health professional will take some information and tell you how you can get help to have a healthy weight.

Why is it good to be a healthy weight?

To feel healthier and have more energy

To have better health

To have lower risk of illness and disease

Lower chances of some cancers

Better mood

What support does the healthy weight service provide?

Help with following a healthy eating plan

Help with ways to be physically active to suit each person

Help to make lasting healthy changes

Things you can do to keep a healthy body and mind

Making too many changes at once can feel too much.

Start small

Taking one thing at a time can help you make that change last.


16th Apr 2023

Community Wellness Coordinator

Lisa Turnbull, our Community Wellness Coordinator, is funded by the Weardale Area Action Partnership, she has worked for The Weardale Practice since 2016.

Lisa’s role is very versatile she works with numerous professionals to enable our patients to remain as safe and independent as possible in their own homes.

A typical example of Lisa’s role would be to flag up any concerns health related to our medical professional whether this be GP’s, ECP’s or Community Paramedics to try and prevent the concern escalating.

Another very important part of Lisa’s role is to provide social support for the patients in our practice, she supports with home social visits or signpost patients to events or groups that they would like and would benefit from.

Lisa also works closely with other professionals including Occupational Therapists to provide the correct equipment in the patients home to support independence to remain in their own homes, Social Workers and care providers in the area to help set up additional support for patients that can no longer manage everything at home themselves.

She works closely with Linda Pearson Citizens advise also, this enables patients to receive the correct financial support and benefits including blue badges.

She also works alongside the Fire and safety team to make sure that patients homes are as safe as possible, this may include fitting or replacing smoke alarms.

If you would like to speak with Lisa or would like her to visit you can contact her via her direct number 07766239434 or contact The Weardale Practice.

tom amy
16th Apr 2023

Artwork Gift from Newcastle University

The practice were recently gifted this beautiful print of a watercolour painted by the late Alan Smith. The print is now proudly displayed in the practice.

Alan was a local artist in Newcastle and recognised as such by Marshall Hall's book "The artists of Northumbria". His work continues to be exhibited at the Biscuit Factory where he had his studio. Alan contributed to many a MOSLER exam as a subject and even to the occasional teaching session for medical students.

The subject of the painting is "The King's Walk" where the medical students gather at graduation. The aim of having the picture and sign in each teaching surgery is to acknowledge the connection between the practice, Newcastle Universtiy and the excellent teaching delivered all around the region.

The picture enhances The Weardale Practice and students sense of belonging to Newcastle Universtiy and it's medical school.

(ps - i know the image is horizontal)

13th Apr 2023

Spring Covid Booster Campagin

Spring is in the air which means two things - lambs and covid vaccinations.
Yes, Covid Booster season 6 is upon us and we start delivering vaccinations to the over 75 and immunosurpressed from wc 17 April. We have clinics organised but further dates are dictated by the supply and distribution of the vaccines across the region.
We have District Nurses looking after our housebound patients and a team will be going into Crosshills to vaccinate their residents.
We are contacting eligible patients, making use of the patient invites which are proving a very quick and successful way for patients to book appointments. #improvingaccesstogeneralpractice
(NHSE are sending invites as well)
3rd Apr 2023

Electronic Repeat Dispensing

For people who have a regular prescription, electronic repeat dispensing (eRD) allows them to get their medicines from their chosen pharmacy without having to obtain, each time they collect, a signature from their GP.

Through eRD a GP can authorise up to 12 months’ worth of a patient’s regular prescription, which is then ready for download and dispensing at the chosen pharmacy each time the patient needs it.

People who have consented to get their regular medication through eRD welcome the convenience of knowing their next prescription will be ready without having to contact their general practice, and say it provides flexibility so they have medication to cover bank holidays.

Since its introduction nationally in 2019, GP practices and pharmacists in the North East and Yorkshire have embraced electronic repeat dispensing and this NHS region has been the top performer for growth of the scheme for the last two years.

Now, NHS regional teams want to build on that success by increasing further the number of patients being offered the convenience, and reassurance, of electronic repeat dispensing (eRD).

The Benefits of eRD for Patients In England - YouTube

9th Mar 2023

Snow Plans

With weather warnings in place for the next few days we currently plan to operate as usual. Please try not to contact the practice to check if your appointment is going ahead - unless you hear otherwise, please attend if it is safe for you to travel.
Plans are in place if staff are unable to safely travel to Stanhope or Wolsingham and we will contact patients if we need to make any changes to appointments booked for Thursday or Friday.
Thank you and stay safe & warm over the next few days.
1st Mar 2023

We have changes to our Doctor team

Dr Ben Rowley sadly left us in January 2023 to relocate to Cumbria with his family. Dr Rowley had been with the practice since 2014.

Dr Matthew Hackett will be leaving the practice as GP Partner at the end of March but will continue his diabetes clinics. Dr Hackett has been with us for 25 years.

We are pleased to announce that Dr Helen Farrah will be joining the practice in April as GP Partner and Dr Kate Thomas will join us as a salaried GP in March.

Dr Amy Rowan is on maternity leave from mid-March and Dr Jenny O'Brien joins the team to provide cover. 

Dr Tom Rowley has been away from the practice for a few weeks on paternity leave following the birth of his second child.

Big changes which has left us in a period of transition and fewer short-notice and routine appointments than we would normally have. We do have agency staff working with us to try and support the demand. 

In April, we will be doing a piece of work to reassign patients with a named/usual GP.



13th Feb 2023

Friends and Family Results - January

Thank you to all of our patients who continue to complete the Friends and Family survey on a monthly basis.

We review the comments on a monthly a basis make changes where possible - we can't do everything and it often takes a little time to implement some improvements - but we do listen, so thank you to everyone who takes the time to give us feedback.

9th Feb 2023

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAAs) are a weakening in the aorta that can swell and rupture causing fatal internal bleeding. They usually don’t have symptoms and are most common in men aged over 65.
AAA screening is a free NHS national programme that invites men in the year they turn 65, to attend a quick and painless 10 minute ultrasound scan.
Last year over 107 AAAs were detected by the North East and North Cumbria AAA Screening Service.
Over 4400 Men in the North East and North Cumbria did not attend their invitation for AAA screening in 2021/22. Don’t be one of the men who miss out.
When you receive your invitation DON’T ignore it. It could save your life!
Watch the AAA Video to find out more:
16th Jan 2023


We're contacting eligible patients to book an appointment for a blood pressure & pulse checks. You may wonder why....
From those recently attended, we have identified 8 patients who have atrial fibrillation. Without AF being identified and treat
ed they could have had a serious outcome without any pre-warning. We can now work with the patients to manage the condition. Without this very simple test for patients who may not be presenting with any symptoms, it's life changing. You could feel fit and healthy but still be at risk.
This is one example of why we would like to bring you in.
We have QOF (I'll explain this another day but Google if your interested) targets to achieve every year and actively carry out work on a monthly basis to bring in patients who are at risk of disease that the QOF indicators have identified. If we send you a text asking you to book an appointment, that you haven't initiated, we're asking you to book to possibly identify health issues, manage them and improve your health. And yes, for the critics out there, this is how we earn money, by achieving targets (like most businesses). QOF income is approx £120k. Not much.
Further reading from British Heart Foundation and NHSE.
16th Jan 2023


Appointment reminders will now be sent for all routine HCA appointments to try and tackle the volume of non-attenders. These will be sent the day before your appointment at lunchtime.
We will start sending reminders for nurse appointments shortly. We need to do some further configuration of the clinical system to ensure you don't receive texts for 'behind the scenes' activity that we record.
If you are using the NHS app you have easy access to all your appointment information.
16th Jan 2023


We're really keen for patients to make use of online access via our website or the NHS app. Follow the link find out how to access via the NHS app and visit our website.
You don't need to have registered for online access to book appointments if you have been sent a text message with a link.
16th Jan 2023


There's a post on one of the noticeboards asking about a Patient Survey that a patient has received.
This is an annual survey sent to a percentage of the patient population for each practice. We do receive the results and have a mandatory obligation to implement an improvement plan. We posted the results on Facebook in March for transparency.
Last year the survey was sent to 264 patients but only 128 completed the survey, so not very representative of the patients in Weardale.
Random coincident & fact - 43% of responders said they found it easy to get through to the practice. We also answer 43% of all calls with 2 minutes.
If you receive one, please complete it if you can. Your opinions really do matter.
Practice Statistics for Feb 2022
23rd Feb 2022

Our Practice in Numbers

Many moons ago, the practice published performance figures and we are now in a position to start publishing monthly stats again. A newsletter is planned but for monthly stuff the News section is the place to find this information. Watch this space for the February update and more information about the practice.

10th Jan 2022

New Faces to The Weardale Practice

The Weardale Practice is welcoming 3 new members of staff today.
This is a great start to 2022 and fantastic news for our patients. We are very aware that due to the volume of calls, patient queries and admin time to support the busy appointment diary - we often struggle to meet our patient expectations. With more admin time, I am confident that you will see an impact over the next few months.
Amy, Duncan and Sam are joining the practice to work in our busy admin back-office and reception teams. Their induction training is very intensive and we are all keen for them to be patient-facing as soon as possible.
Kati Makepeace
Strategic Practice Manager
13th Dec 2021

Covid Boosters

Following the announcement by Boris Johnson on Sunday, we are looking to increase our vaccination clinics. We are constrained by the vaccination ordering process and await further information from our CCG. We will make further announcements as soon as we have dates and vaccines. 

Please do not phone the practice to try and book an appointment.

8th Dec 2021

Why we ask for PCR Testing

COVID-19 remains a serious health risk and you should stay cautious to help protect yourself and others. For this reason we continue to ask you to respect our policy on the requirement for all patients to have a PCR test prior to coming to the practice if you are displaying symptoms.

When booking your appointment at the practice, you will be asked if you have any symptoms, even if mild, (a high temperature; a new, continuous cough or you've lost your sense of smell or taste or they have changed). If you do, you will need to provide a negative PCR test prior to coming to an appointment. This is to protect other patients and staff. Please do not come to the practice if you are displaying symptoms- if you do, you may be asked to leave and go through the PCR testing process.

We have seen a number of comments on social media regarding the requirement to have a PCR test following a negative lateral flow and we have a large number of patients calling who are disgruntled that we are then asking for testing prior to an appointment. This is for your safety, the safety of our staff and the safety of the wider community.

if you do have a negative lateral flow test result but are displaying symptoms, you must have a PCR test prior to an appointment at the practice. These are easy to book online or by dialling 119.

There are two main tests  to check if you have Covid -19. 

  • PCR tests – mainly for people with symptoms, they're sent to a lab to be checked Click here to book your appointment
  • rapid lateral flow tests – only for people who do not have symptoms, they give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test

For further information Coronavirus (COVID-19) - NHS (

If you do have symptoms, use the 111 coronavirus service for further infomation on what to do.

1st Dec 2021

Covid Accelerator Booster Programme

Following the recent announcement regarding the accelerated covid booster programme, we are currently working to increase capacity for further booster clinics starting in December. Despite various news outlets asking patients to call their GP practice to book an appointment - please do not contact us. We will be adding the clinics to the online booking system and further announcements will be made when these are available. 

As all 'at risk' patients, over 50s and immuno-surpressed patients have now been invited for their booster or third dose, all eligible patients will be able to book appointments via the online system. 

We will be organising further pfizer clinics for under 18s only and again, the appointments will be made available and annoucements made on our website when you can book.

Don't forget that you can book your appointment at one of the national vaccination centres on the NHS mobile app.