A doctor greets his patient in the waiting room at a Billingborough surgery.
It’s all part of the personal service already available at the New Springwells practice as nationally more pressure is being put on surgeries to free up hospital A&E wards.
With the latest government announcement that over-75s are to be promised a return to old-fashioned family doctors, the Free Press went along to meet the team and discover how they manage to deliver the personal touch while serving 6,000 patients across 72 villages and hamlets.
Christine Scholfield, practice manager, said: “All of our doctors greet their patients in the waiting room.
“It puts patients at ease when they don’t have to watch on a screen for their name and which room to go to.
“But there’s also a lot a doctor can tell from the body language of a patient just from watching them walk across the waiting room so it’s practical, too.”
Billingborough’s surgery has been in its present position by the village duck pond since 1984 with extensions being built in 2007 and 2010.
These include a new treatment rooms and dispensary and have enabled the surgery to become a training practice.
The practice has three doctors – Dr Jonathan Parry, Dr Hermann Keck and Dr David Murphy – and five nurses.
Mrs Scholfield said: “Patients can usually see the doctor of their choice so that’s like having a family doctor, although sometimes when you wake up feeling sick you are just happy to see someone.”
However, the surgery has not been without controversy. It’s Rippingale branch closed in March amid protests for it to remain open in spite of plans to provide transport to Billingborough for patients.
Mrs Scholfield said: “The premises were just not fit for purpose for staff or patients. The consulting rooms were small, one was upstairs, and the building was infested with vermin.
“We just want to put all that behind us now and look to give the best service we can to our patients.”
Improving its outreach service has been made possible by the practice’s medical equipment fund.
Treasurer Graham Eames became a fundraiser when he was so impressed with the service he received as a patient.
He said: “This year we have raised funds for insulated bags for vaccines and a second mobile heart monitor.
“We sell raffle tickets at the practice and our next big fundraiser will be a Burns’ Night in Folkingham on January 25.
“But next year we are also hoping to get more members of the community involved in improving the service by inviting them to join a patient feedback forum.
“We want to create a mini think tank. We’ve got a great surgery and we want to make it better.”