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Welcome to our Christmas update!

Ivy Grove Surgery would like to wish all our patients the very best for the festive season and we send wishes for good health in the New Year!

Please look after yourselves!

December 21, 2020

Dear Patients

This is our Christmas update following on from our last status update of November.


The pandemic continues, with cases still continuing to rise in the vast majority of the UK and with most regions still under the toughest levels of restrictions. Almost 38 million people are affected by these restrictions including those in the East Midlands as you all know!

With a backlog of cases now being registered, cases have gone up by nearly 70% compared to last week, and yesterday saw a record number of UK cases registered, with 35,928 new cases, the highest since the pandemic began.

The previously relaxed rules for Christmas time have now been revoked, in light of fears over a more transmissible strain of the virus. The new restrictions come along with a new tier 4 , which is essentially 'stay at home'. Please check the latest guidance.

At the time of writing, the Derby and Derbyshire remain in tier 3 which is 'very high alert'.

We remind patients to review the latest information and official guidance on what they can and cannot do and take special care during this time, especially when covid vaccination is just round the corner.


As many of you might know, covid vaccination has started and we therefore have set up a new page about this.

The first clinic, on the weekend just gone, went very successfully, and a total of 1,104 doses were given to local people and surgery staff.

The whole covid vaccination programme is a fast changing one, so please bear with us – we will always post any new information we know on our covid vaccination page, so please check there first.

We urge that patients do not tie up our phone lines by ringing in with queries or requests to book in for the covid vaccination. Please review our covid vaccination page first. Further, we will contact you ourselves if you are in the correct cohort and need to book you in for the jab.



We have been asked to emphasise the importance of having your flu jab if you are in one of the higher clinical risk groups, namely, heart disease, diabetes, COPD (chronic bronchitis), learning disabilities, stroke and mini-stroke.

Despite several reminders and reserving flu jab stocks for this group, we still have over 100 vulnerable patients in these groups who have not come forward to have the flu jab, or let us know that they don't want it.

Letting us know you don't want the flu jab is important is it allows us to direct our efforts to others who are eligible for the jab, rather than spend time chasing you up repeatedly.

If you are in such a group, please let us know immediately one way or the other, because if you don't have your jab, we will be using up all remaining stock for others who need the jab (for example, see below).


It's become clear some patients have been receiving letters from NHS England reminding them to have a flu jab, along with a second extra piece of paper in the envelope asking patients to help the NHS cut down on the use of paper..! [seriously, you can't make this up].

We haven't asked for these letters to be sent out and don't know why they have been sent. The letters have caused a great deal of confusion and extra work for everyone as we deal with the numerous phone calls coming in.

It has also been apparent that letters have been sent out to patients who are NOT eligible and also letters have been sent to those who have already had the jab.

Please be assured that the practice carries out its own recall for eligible patients requiring flu jabs and we have been sending out our own invites and reminders by letter, text and/or phone calls.

If you have previously had an invite or reminder from us, but have not had a flu jab, please ring us to book for a flu jab straight away, before we run out of stocks.

Everyone else, please ignore. Please do not contact us. We have things in hand.


We have ordered additional flu jab stocks to cover the cohort of 50 to 64 year olds who will be eligible this year. Please look out for your invite by text or letter.

We kindly that the patients do not jam up our phone system booking for their jab - please use of the online form that has worked very well previously and we will book your appointment for you and let you know.

Please note the online form will be switched on and off according to stock and clinic availability. If you have received an invite and wish to use the form but find it is closed, please try again at a later date.


Data from the Royal College of GPs' Research and Surveillance Centre shows that GPs and their dedicated teams are performing many more patient consultations than before the pandemic.

We expect it will get even busier due not only to winter pressures but also due to planning and preparation for delivering the largest ever flu vaccination programme the country has ever seen.

Official figures from NHS Digital show that 26.6 million appointments were provided in September, almost a million more than the same time last year, whilst the number of full-time fully qualified GPs actually dropped by 334 to 27,981 during the same period - so essentially we are doing more with fewer doctors overall. Personally, it has never felt busier or more stressful.

Whilst General Practice turned itself around to providing remote consultations at the start of the pandemic, in order to keep everyone safe, it is clear that the entire NHS has still found it a significant challenge - a recent GMC survey found that many GPs experienced difficulties with referrals and test delays for their patients.

Worryingly, the report also showed that nearly a third of GPs were found to be at a moderate to high risk of burnout, very much in keeping with the acute stresses that General Practice is working under at the moment.

Without any additional resources and workforce to get through this incredibly challenging period, we urge all our patients to not only be patient, but also to use health services responsibly. In addition, we hope that you will all look after yourselves as well as can be, and keep yourselves safe.


Many of you will already have met Dr Vivien Neely pre-pandemic days. Unfortunately, given how busy we've been ever since, we overlooked the opportunity to introduce you all to her formally. So here we now go:

I studied Medicine in Exeter and Truro and had a great time there, before moving back to Derby to do my further training, at Derby and Chesterfield hospitals and GP training in Heanor.

I used to be fairly good at cycling, but also enjoy most outdoors sports and gardening.

In a previous life I was an engineer at Rolls-Royce so it’s no surprise that I like musculoskeletal problems. I have completed a good variety of training posts and am happy to see whatever problems come my way.

Since starting with Ivy Grove in August 2019 I, like you, have seen a massive change in how we do things. It has been a hard time for everyone and I look forward to seeing more of you face-to-face once things are more under control.

We are also very pleased to announce that Dr Neely has accepted our offer of full partnership here at Ivy Grove Surgery, and we hope that this will become a long and happy relationship with the team and the rest of you in the many years to come.


Some of you will have already spoken to (and met) our new GP, Dr Joanne Marvel. Here we allow her to make a brief introduction to you all:

Having been brought up in Lancashire, I studied medicine at Nottingham University. My early working years took me to Plymouth and New Zealand, before I settled in West Bridgford as a GP Partner. My husband’s consultant anaesthetist post moved us to Derbyshire, where we, and our 3 children, have been settled for the past 15 years.

I worked as a salaried GP in Wirksworth for many years before I took a year away from clinical practice to focus on family life. My main interests outside work are focused primarily on family, sport and outdoor activities. I enjoy off road running and walking, and as a family we are active members of Belper Hockey Club and we love to spend our holidays surfing in Cornwall.

I joined the great team at Ivy Grove Surgery in September 2020 and I have been made to feel very welcome. My main interests are in women’s health, menopause and contraception. I miss seeing patients in person and I look forward to meeting more of you over the coming months – when hopefully life will return to normal.

We hope you will all join us in welcoming Dr Marval to the surgery team.


After an illustrious career spanning four decades, we are sad to announce that Dr Wordley will be retiring from general practice at the end of March.

We will bring you more news about this in the coming months as well as set up a safe covid-secure system for patients who will want to send Dr Wordley any good wishes.


Just several comments regarding blood test results. We are coming across issues as more blood tests are being performed.


Please try not to be too worried if you ever receive a text or letter asking you to repeat blood tests. Blood test results always come with what is called a reference range (also known as a normal range) within which the majority of results lie. However on occasion, sometimes results lie slightly outside the reference range. In general this is not too concerning, however the doctor who assesses your result may ask for the test to be repeated in order to see how the trend is. Often we find results have reverted back to normal. Or the results show that the readings are stable, leading us to conclude that the results are likely to be normal for that individual and/or their medical conditions or medications taken.

To explain reference ranges a little further, if we were to look at heights of adults, we would find most adults' heights would be clumped around a rough average range of heights. However, there will be some adults who are slightly shorter than the 'normal range' and some who would be slightly taller than the 'normal range'. These adults are not 'abnormal' and their height is 'normal' for them. Clearly if they are very wide off the normal range then something might be amiss. The same thing applies to many other human physiological measurements, including blood results.

Please always bear in mind, if your results could indicate serious disease, we will always call you urgently to either assess you further by telephone or to see you face-to-face, so please do try not to worry.


We are also seeing a lot of kidney test results that indicate the patients' kidneys are struggling a little. It is apparent that not everyone drinks the recommended amount of non-alcoholic fluids/water on a daily basis, leading to their kidneys having a harder time trying to clear waste products from the bloodstream.

We know that we are all guilty of this at some point, because, for instance, we are too busy, we don't want to be tied to a toilet, it might be inconvenient, or we just simply forget.

Not drinking enough, even if it is not to the point of overt clinical dehydration, does cause some symptoms of ill-health, such as poor concentration, tiredness, dizziness, light-headedness and headaches, therefore it is vital to drink enough.

Up to 30% of our daily fluid intake can come from food, but we do need to make this up with 3-4 pints of extra non-alcoholic fluids a day. People who actively increase their fluid intake up to recommended amounts do report feeling better overall and generally healthier.

IMPORTANT NOTE If you have previously been advised to restrict fluids to lower amounts, because you have heart failure or other important conditions, then you do need to stick to existing fluid restriction advice, as drinking too much in these situations may be harmful.


We are also seeing a lot of results coming back to us with the results indicating that the specimen was unlabelled.

This then means extra time and effort in organising a repeat of the test before further progress in care can be made. This inconvenience affects you as the patient and also our staff.

We therefore remind all patients to ensure that any specimen bottles or containers that you bring back to us are always labelled with your name and your date of birth to prevent this from happening to you.


Please check our appointments page to find details of Christmas and New Year opening.

This is generally an extremely busy time of year, even more so this year, so we encourage all patients to self-care where possible and to use our eConsult and home visiting service responsibly.

If you need medical attention or advice when we are closed, please ring 111 for the out of hours service, or check our help page or symptom checker.


  • Get a flu jab if eligible - you’re eligible if you are over 65, or have heart, lung, liver or kidney problems, stroke or diabetes, or are pregnant. If you've not already had yours book one before we run out! Check our flu page for info. If you get an invite because you are in another eligible cohort, please book with us for your jab, as demand is very high this year
  • You don't need to call us if you have a cold - there's nothing we can do about it! The best thing for cold and flu is to stay at home, rest, take paracetamol and drink plenty of fluids - NHS.UK advice on colds
  • Winter vomiting (norovirus) bug - this is the recurrent winter bug causing diarrhoea and vomiting during winter time. We're not sure if it will flare this winter given social distancing, but if you do get it, do what you can to prevent spread by not coming to the doctors, avoiding school or work for 72 hours after getting better - NHS.UK advice on norovirus
  • Stock up medicine cabinet - every household should have a well-stocked medicine cabinet that you can turn to when needed, filled with cold remedies, painkillers, antiseptic cream, plasters - find out more about a home remedies box on our self-care advice page
  • Get your medications on time - make sure you order early, but please don’t order more than you need, and use our online service at any time for your convenience - please note if you write anything on your repeat slip, or request something that isn't on repeat, your entire prescription might be delayed whilst we investigate your query - use our online service
  • Your pharmacist can always help - they are on hand to help and offer advice on minor illness and over the counter remedies for most conditions, and they will always let you know if you need to seek guidance from the GP - Local pharmacy details
  • Get in touch (via eConsult) earlier rather than later - if you have tried self-care, sought advice from appropriate professionals, and feel that you will still need GP advice, get in touch via eConsult promptly - this helps us to plan our day better for the benefit of all - remember eConsults submitted before 2pm it will be a same day response, whereas, after 2pm, you will get a response the next working day - eConsult page
  • Call 111 if we are closed - when the surgery is shut, they can advise you about your condition and what to do, and if you are simply unsure what to do next, they can advise you who to turn to first. Walk-in and urgent care centres are also available, but only go to A+E with medical emergencies - use the very easy NHS 111 online triage service if you are not sure what to do
  • Keep yourself warm - try and keep at least your main living room warm and comfortable at 18-21°C and do wrap up when going out
  • Keep healthy with a good diet - try and have regular hot meals and drinks and, quite importantly during the pandemic, do what you can to keep in touch with friends and family using social media, phone and video calls
  • Check the weather forecast - watch the roads and pavements in icy weather and attend Minor Injuries Unit (Ripley Hospital Urgent Care Centre) if injured - Minor Injury Unit details and A&E details
  • Visit our winter self-care page for more advice


Every year, at Christmas Time, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) publishes a collection of fun, quirky and amusing articles and scientific studies. We thought it would be interesting to report on a study published in the latest issue around that of dogs, their owners and diabetes.

The study showed that owners of a dog with diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes themselves than owners of a dog without diabetes.

The same did not occur with cat owners and their pets.

There are already widely held views that pet owners eventually do look like their pets (!) but this is another level, and we already know that cats don't really have 'owners' as such, and just do their own thing!

According to the study it is thought that the link may be because dog owners and their pets might share certain health behaviours, such as physical activity level and dietary habits.

The link persisted even after personal and socio-economic factors in the pet owners were taken into account, such as age, sex, area of residence, marital status, education level, and income, factors in the dogs, such as age, sex and breed.

Compared with owning a dog without diabetes, owning a dog with diabetes was associated with a 38% increased risk of diabetes in the owner.

If the pet owner had diabetes, the risk of the dog developing diabetes was 28% higher than in dogs with an owner who did not have diabetes.

The study admitted that other factors might be at play, including environmental factors, and other health behaviours that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

We already know that couples are more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes where one half of the couple is already type 2 diabetic.

The conclusion we take from this is that what you do and how you do it may not just affect yourself, but also those loved ones around you, so it is perhaps sensible for everyone to try and do what they can to be healthy and stay healthy.


It is clear that you appreciate these updates from the level of feedback we have received about them. If you do leave us feedback, please note that whilst we may not be able to reply to you, we do read each and every one of them and really appreciate the time and effort taken to respond. Some of the feedback we have received is shown below:

I just wanted to pass on my thanks to the entire team, appreciate everything that you are all doing in these difficult times, and the occasions I have had to contact the practice I have been dealt with kindly and efficiently. - CA

Really appreciate the human assistance, I’d completely lost the will. When you don’t feel great, sometimes with the best will in the world, technology systems are just too much. Then a lovely empathetic person like yourself is required and my thanks is heartfelt. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Stay safe. - SC [Editor's note: this relates to Patient Access registration and not eConsult!]

Thank you for the email update, this was very informative and useful, well done to all involved. Keep it going. Also well done to all involved with the flu vaccine, my wife and I attended your 'drive-in' session and thought it was great, very easy and quick. Thank you. To all keep safe and well.. - JR

I do find Ivy Grove updates very helpful indeed and hope that you continue with them. It gives a feeling of confidence to have the right advice, should you need it, and I thank all the staff at the surgery for all their efforts. The 'drive-in' flu jab service in September was excellent, even better than usual. - MB

I feel this update is much more reassuring and positive than previous updates. Everyone is on a steep learning curve and I feel lessons have been learned and implemented. Thank you.. - PG

Thank you for your updates they are very much welcome at this time. I read each one also the extra ones in between. Thank you very much to all the doctors and staff at Ivy Grove you're working so hard in these difficult times take care and stay safe.. - JB

I have read the Mental Health advice and I agree with what has been written. We always try self-help first whatever it is that we have, whether it is physical or mental health problems. I think people are too critical and your surgery and all of your staff are doing a really good job in a really difficult time, and it is appreciated.. - JW

Thank you to you all and thank you for your appreciation that we are all here trying to do our best.


With nearly 1.5 million people working for the NHS, there are a lot of you out there. So given the time of year, we thought we'd draw the attention of NHS colleagues to kind offers still available from a variety of companies if you are not already aware.

Visit NHS England - NHS People Offers for details:


With the year that everyone has had, we would like to wish all our patients the very best for the festive season and send wishes for good health for the New Year. We certainly hope that 2021 will bring brighter hopes for the future. And remember, looking after yourself, your family and your loved ones could be one of the most important gifts you can give this year.

See you in the New Year!

Kind regards

Ivy Grove Surgery


We do our best to keep our patients informed of latest developments at Ivy Grove, and feel that within the coronavirus pandemic, this has become even more important. We spend our own time co-ordinating efforts and writing these updates, so it would be nice to know if you find these updates useful? Do you want us to carry on with them? We welcome feedback on this, so please do get in touch.

Previous updates

For your information only, older update(s) appear below:

Written by Dr M. Wong