Friday, 4 March 2011

health centre news: did you know?

We are all very aware of the financial constraints being imposed across the board in the current economic climate. The Health Service is no exception and we all have a responsibility to ensure that the money is being spent wisely. We, the taxpayers, are providing the money to fund the service and therefore we have a vested interest in knowing how the money is spent.

Did you know?

  • can't treat an empty chairEvery time a patient attends A&E and gives their name to a receptionist, there is a charge of £59 – even if the patient does not wait to be seen. (Since April 2010 we have had 56 patients from the Practice who did not wait to be seen after registering in A&E)

  • A blood test taken during this visit will cost £87

  • An echocardiogram ( a special heart ultrasound test) is £117

  • An admission from A&E costs £500

To put this in perspective, an appendicectomy (an operation to remove the appendix) costs £1,500 and a heart bypass operation costs almost £9,000.

The bills are currently picked up by the Department of Health, but when the GPs take over the budget, they will be billed directly for this care. The GP services that we provide have already been paid for by the Government, as has the Out of Hours service provided by Urgent Care Cambridgeshire.

We, at the Health Centre, should be the first port of call if you are suffering with a sore throat, earache, flu-like symptoms, skin, chest and bowel problems to name but a few of the illnesses that are regularly seen in A&E. We have specialist nurses and doctors available to see our patients and simply ask that you make the receptionists aware if you need to be seen the same day. The reception staff can always advise you if you are unsure whether you need to go to A&E, or they can ask our Emergency doctor to phone you to offer advice.

When we are closed, the contact details for the Out of Hours service is on the answerphone.

Finally, may we ask for you help, please?

We have seen a significant increase in the number of prescription requests that we deal with. It would be appreciated if everyone would remember that we need two working days to process the requests. In addition we would like to remind you that we cannot accept telephone requests, for safety reasons. This is at the doctors request.

Gill Cummins


  1. I don't quite understand why there is a cost/ charge of £59 if someone gives their name and then goes. In our college, if someone comes to reception and gives their name, but then decides not to wait to see a teacher(or whatever it was) as far as I am aware, there is no charge or extra cost involved (although it might be a bit inconvenient.)How is the cost/ charge worked out?

  2. Hi Suem, nice to hear from you again!

    I think the charge will be brought in as part of an internal NHS marketplace wherein GPs, as budgetholders, will buy services for their patients from hospitals; as far as I can make out, those services are engaged when somebody registers at A&E, therefore have to be paid for even if the person doesn't stay.

    If you ask at your local practice, I'm sure they'll give you a more detailed answer - but it's good to be in the know!