Further Information

Welcome to Goldington Avenue Surgery.

The team are here to provide all patients with a professional and caring healthcare experience in friendly and personal surroundings. With discretion and confidentiality guaranteed your welfare is safe, secure and in good hands.

Please do not shout or swear at any of our team. We are unfortunately seeing more behaviour that is unacceptable, and this will ultimately drive team members away and only make the service harder for us to deliver upon.

All our team members are doing their very best in difficult circumstances. To the majority of our patients who continue to be understanding and supportive, we thank you for your kindness, and appreciate your tolerance.

Demand for appointments has become significantly greater than capacity, and whichever way we try to manage our appointments to provide ‘same day’ demand or pre-bookable demand, there is simply not enough to be able to see everyone when they want it. We can assure you that we have recruited appropriate GPs and Minor Illness Nurses that would have been able to manage the increase in patients following the takeover of the Rothesay patient group, however this takeover together with an explosion in demand has made appointment availability scarcer than we would want.

We understand your frustrations at not being about to get through on the phone, at having to wait longer for an appointment, or not being seen on the day that you want.

We are due to implement a new phone system, but there have been delays with the team that are managing this for us which we continue to chase – however this system will introduce the ability to queue, rather than get the engaged tone when we are busy – so it will not make it faster to answer calls, as we still have the same number of staff picking calls up and helping patients. On the plus side, it will enable us to transfer calls between the two sites, which we cannot do at present, and so operationally that will be a significant improvement for us.

We also understand the desire to be seen in person, and we will facilitate this where possible and appropriate. Our pre-bookable appointments can be in-person, telephone or video – whichever mode of contact suits you best, as we understand that choice is important for you, and not everyone wants or needs to come in to the practice. Our ‘on the day’ appointments will be on the phone initially, and if the clinician feels that the consultation needs to be in person, then we will convert that appointment and invite you to attend one of our two sites.

It is frustrating, which we understand, but if you feel you need to talk to a clinician ‘on the day’ please call us at 8am that day or alternatively complete an eConsult which is on our website. We have GPs, very experienced prescribing Minor Illness Nurses, and a Paramedic working on our ‘on the day’ appointments – which is why the reception team will ask you for the reason for your appointment so that they can book you in with the right clinician for that day.

There are other services that are outside of the practice that are also sometimes better placed to manage your condition, for example the urgent eye service – and this is why the team will direct you to other services once they know why you are asking for an appointment that day.

Again, we thank you for your support and understanding.

Kind regards,

The Partners of Goldington Avenue Surgery

Dear patients

We have listened to how frustrated you find calling at 8am, and equally how challenging and limiting this is for us and our teams in restricting our appointments to ‘on the day’.

As a result we are changing how we operate our appointment system.

As we now have more Urgent Care Practitioners within our practice team, we can now offer some pre-bookable appointments.

Urgent Care Practitioners are experienced allied health practitioners that work independently and can prescribe. They manage most new problems, or flare ups of existing conditions.

This allows the GPs to focus on long term, chronic or complex problems.

It will still be one problem per appointment, and we ask you to bear that in mind when booking your appointment.

Our GP appointments will be:

50% pre-bookable up to 2 weeks in advance

50% kept for same day appointments

We hope this will help our patients access appointments more easily.

To help us make best use of these appointments, a reminder of other ways to access health care:

First contact physio appointments – can be booked in advance by reception to deal with most musculoskeletal problems

Enhanced access – appointments with a range of different healthcare professional, including GPs, outside of normal hours which can be booked in advance by reception

Community pharmacy – for advice about minor ailments, e.g. coughs and colds, ear ache

Bedford wellbeing service – self refer for help with mental health and wellbeing, e.g. anxiety and depression

Community Urgent Eye Services – for advice on a recent problem with your eyes, e.g. sore eyes, red eyes, or visual disturbance – 0800 316 900

Blood test appointments

Patients are now able to book blood test appointments at Gilbert Hitchcock House (North Wing) by:

Using the online booking service (available 24/7). Patients will need to register online at www.bedford.sangix.co.uk

Booking an appointment in person by visiting the department.

A limited walk-in service will remain. Patients will be given an appointment, if available, at the next appointment time for that day, or offered an appointment for another day.

Children’s Blood Tests

Children Phlebotomy Poster

The practice is proud to actively support local and national charity work.  Our nominated charity is Sue Ryder, a continuation of our support for this charity which started during 2013.

Locally, Sue Ryder is located at St John’s hospice in Moggerhanger where they specialise in offering palliative and end of life care.  We will be fundraising for them throughout the year in various ways, including donations for books in the practice waiting rooms, and supporting seasonal activities (e.g. Easter Egg hunt, Christmas pins).

We last updated our plan on the 20th March as lock-down was being put in place, and as we moved immediately to a ‘telephone first’ appointment basis.

As the weeks have unfolded our plan and approach has moved on, and we have also settled into new ways of working, and you have adapted with us to this.

For the foreseeable future our plan is:

New GP appointments will be by telephone first, and the reception team will ask you for the purpose of your call (so that we can book your call back with the most appropriate team member, as not everyone is working from the practice, and not everyone has access to the same video technology)

The GP will either call you back by phone, or the reception team may call you back to walk you through how to do a video call, as some of our GP’s prefer to do a video consultation where the technology allows it

The reception team may also ask you to send in a photo or two if they (or you) feel that a photo would assist the GP in their consultation, we can send you a text message that you can reply to with the photo(s) that will go straight back onto your clinical record

We are now pre-booking telephone appointments if you wish to have a telephone consultation with a specific GP for a non-urgent matter, please let the reception team know if you prefer to talk to a specific GP and if you are happy to wait a few days until they are next available

On the rare occurrence that the GP needs to see you in person, they will make an appointment for you – please attend at that time, we are not using the waiting room and so you will need to wait outside or in your car until the GP is ready to bring you in (they will be in full PPE, and sometimes getting ready and making sure we have an appropriate room available can cause a delay)

Nursing appointments have continued throughout this outbreak for core services, e.g. childhood immunisations, whooping cough vaccinations, other IM injections, warfarin management, dressings, and urgent blood tests

The nursing team have continued to undertake telephone reviews for our asthma and COPD patients, as well as reviewing and refreshing care plans for patients with dementia – this will continue

We are now expanding the remit of the team, but still not back to full services – our next step is to manage our patients that have diabetes and hypertension, as we feel there is potential for diabetic control to have changed during lockdown. This will involve bringing in several hundred patients over a period of months for blood test and physical checks, and then following this up with a telephone call to complete their review

A word on infection control

We are fanatical about it, and we are taking all measures as indicated nationally as well as making common sense decisions about how best we can make services available to our patients while maintaining a safe environment

Any patient that is symptomatic of CoronaVirus will not be seen at this location, Bedford has a single ‘Red’ site that any ‘Covid likely’ patient will be seen at (this is by referral by our GP only)

This allows us to remain a ‘Green’ site, and see symptom free patients with a high level of confidence

As well as each clinician wearing appropriate PPE, and changing this as per guidelines in-between patients, each room is wiped down in-between patients and any equipment, surface or door handle they may have touched is also wiped down

We will not compromise on this

Prescriptions requests need to continue to be made as usual – please use the NHS App if you don’t already have access, or use the SystmOnline access if you already have access that way. We will not take them over the phone for safety reasons, so please do not ask us

Prescriptions will now only be sent directly to a pharmacy, if you haven’t already nominated a pharmacy please let us know where you want your prescription to go to – you will not be able to collect it from the practice

Continue to avoid coming to the practice if at all possible – find a way to work with us by using email or by sending us a query through our website

We are taking these steps to protect you, and our team.

These actions should enable us to continue provide a service to you – be we all need to act responsibly to work through this situation, and we hope that you will work with us on this.

Many thanks,

The Goldington Avenue team

This page contains information and links to resources on how you could reduce the risk of contracting Coronavirus, and also information on ways to help you reduce the severity of symptoms should you contract Coronavirus.

Whilst we cannot guarantee that your symptoms will be less severe, there is growing evidence that a healthy BMI and respiratory system, along with overall wellbeing, are contributory factors in reducing your risk*.

Top 4 Things

1. Wash your hands


2. Social distancing


3. Wear a mask


4. Get tested if you have symptoms


Better Health Campaign

The Better Health Campaign is recently launched government programme that can help with weight loss and increased activity


You can also self-refer to the Lifestyle hub for support with weight loss and exercise here


The NHS BMI calculator can be used to help you monitor your progress


The Couch to 5K programme can be accessed here


If you have already completed the Couch to 5K programme, you can find tips on how to continue and stay motivated here


The charity Caraline offers support to people living with eating disorders. You can self-refer to the service here


Stop Smoking

The stop smoking service offers specialist help and support, along with the option for Stop Smoking medication


Mental Health

Every Mind Matters has expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing, and addresses the challenges we all face with Coronavirus


You can self-refer to the Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service here


Kooth is a free, safe and anonymous online chat service which is available to young people aged 11 to 25


Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal. Call Samaritans free, 24 hours a day 365 days a year on 116123



There is lots of help around sleep on Every Mind matters


Sleepstation is a clinically validated sleep improvement programme that can help you sleep better after just 4 sessions. Some options are available on the NHS


Flu Vaccinations

If you are eligible, you should have the flu vaccination. Whilst this does not protect you from Coronavirus, it will give you some immunity from flu, which like Coronavirus, is predominantly a respiratory illness

*source: www.gov.uk/government/news/excess-weight-can-increase-risk-of-serious-illness-and-death-from-covid-19

Your plasma might save lives! The NHS Blood and Transplant are asking 18-65 year old males who have had COVID-19 to donate their plasma (antibodies) as part of research into new treatments. For more details, visit : www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/how-you-can-help/convalescent-plasma-clinical-trial/. Thank you.

COVID – Advice when isolating at home

To apply for a CoronaVirus Test, please visit www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test.

Patients who have planned operations are asked to self-isolate for two weeks prior to the surgery. Please do not ask your GP or the hospital to provide a sick note – if you require a sick note to cover absence from work, you can obtain this by following this link: 111.nhs.uk/isolation-note

To participate in the clinical trial by donating blood plasma, you can sign up for this through the NHS Blood and Transplant site at www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/how-you-can-help/convalescent-plasma-clinical-trial. If you have had a positive test result for Covid-19, or have had symptoms, you may be able to help.

Coronavirus vaccine research

Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases.They’re designed so they do not give people the infection they’re protecting against.Research into vaccines is the only way to find out which vaccines will work. Researchers need people to take part in their studies so they can find out which possible new vaccine works best. Visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccine-research to find out more about taking part in approved UK coronavirus vaccine studies.

Free Online Courses to Support Your Wellbeing

Parent Information leaflet – where and how to seek help when your child is unwell.

Red Cross Support Services – for Bedford Borough Residents.

This link will take you to the self-isolation and symptom treatment approach www.nhs.uk/self-isolation-and-treatment

For patients needing help while self-isolating please contact Bedford Borough Council.

The following link contains information on local support, but also a wide range of links to activities and resources – www.yourwellbeingbedfordshire.org.uk/self-isolating-need-something-to-do/.

To access resources on mental health and wellbeing during this period of crisis, please go to www.gov.uk/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing.

Luton & Bedfordshire Mental Health Crisis Support – To access mental health support in the event of a crisis, contact 111 option 2.

Useful videos by the Association of Palliative Medicine on Care Planning; hoping for the best and preparing for the worst: apmonline.org/news-events/covid-19-resources-for-the-public/.

If you have a musculoskeletal issue, please visit our musculoskeletal information page for further information.

Never Alone – Helplines

Q&A from Cancer Charities – update 18th May 2020

Advice for Parents

The following links have a variety of resources for parents:

Advice for parents leaflet.

RCPH: What to do if your child is unwell during lockdown

A guide for parents on which service to contact during Covid-19.

Advance Care Plans

If you wish to complete your Advance Care Plan for Covid-19, guidance notes and a template are available here.

Please note that this is not a Do Not Resuscitate order, and you will need to speak with your GP should you want further information on this

As the coronavirus pandemic affects all areas of our lives and lockdown, furlough and job uncertainty make everyone think differently, we have pulled together a list of resources that may help.


Call us if you need support from the foodbank – we can provide you with a voucher code which can be used for 3 days emergency food supply and personal items. (If you are self-isolating, someone can attend the foodbank to collect on your behalf – you will need to contact the foodbank to advise them).

There are various locations around Bedford, follow the link below to view specific locations and opening times.

Let us know which foodbank you will use so we can issue you with the appropriate code.


Below are some useful links on how to eat well on a budget:

www.nutrition.org.uk – Healthy eating on a budget

www.bhf.org.uk – Healthy eating on a budget

Below is a link with information on how to reduce food waste:


Financial health

Our social prescriber can work with you to support you with your finances and create a financial recovery plan.

If you would like to be referred to the social prescriber, send us a message through the website outlining the reason for the referral. A member of the team may contact you if we require additional information; otherwise we will refer you directly.

www.stepchange.org is a charity that can give practical advice on how to manage any debts you may have.

www.entitledto.co.uk offers a benefits calculator that can check if you are entitled to any benefits.

The ‘Browse: How benefits work’ page on the Gov.uk website lists all available benefits, with links to allow you to apply.

The ‘Benefits’ page on the Citizens Advice website includes information on benefits you may be entitled to during coronavirus.

www.benefitsguide.co.uk is charity that has some useful information on benefits.

Mental Health

If you need to speak to someone the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123.

Below are some useful links:




Young people

Below are links to some services that offer support specifically for young people:

www.kooth.com (free, safe & anonymous online chat service available to young people aged 11-25)

www.bedfordopendoor.org.uk (free and confidential counselling for young people aged 13-25)

This is your third Covid-19 vaccination, and you are eligible 91 days (or roughly 3 months) after your second vaccination.

You will be contacted by NHS England to let you know when you should book in.

There are two ways to book an appointment:

Via the national booking portal

Phone 119

Your GP practice cannot book you in, and we cannot bring your vaccination date forward.

3rd Primary

The 3rd primary vaccination is the same type of vaccination, but is given to patients that are immunocompromised and whose immune-response to the first two doses of the vaccination is likely to have been lower than the rest of the population. The intention is that this group have a 3rd primary vaccination at least 8 weeks after their 2nd vaccination, and will then still have their booster dose 6 months after their 3rd primary.

Patients will be receiving a letter from their consultant confirming that they are eligible for the 3rd primary vaccination, and where timing is crucial to their immune response to the vaccination, will specify the timing as to when the 3rd dose should be administered – as this ‘sweet spot’ in immune response will vary from person to person, and their individual treatment and circumstances.

We have also been advised that if you have received a text confirming you are eligible for the 3rd primary, you can take this text with evidence of identity, to one of the mass vaccination centres – please see www.blmkccg.nhs.uk/covid-19/blmk-vaccination-sites for details.

From 17th May you may be able to show your Covid-19 vaccination status as proof of your status when travelling abroad. This evidence will be obtained either via the NHS App or through 119, it will not be obtained from your GP practice.

There are not many countries that currently accept proof of vaccination, and you should check the entry requirements for your destination country.

You can access your COVID-19 vaccination status through the free NHS App from 17 May. You can access the app through mobile devices such as a smartphone or by tablet. Proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status will be shown within the NHS App. We recommend that you register with the app before booking international travel.

If you do not have access to a smartphone and know that the country you are travelling to requires COVID-19 vaccination status, you can call the NHS helpline on 119 (from 17 May) and ask for a letter to be posted to you. This must be at least 5 days after you’ve completed your course of the vaccine. We expect the letter to take up to 5 days to reach you.

Do not contact your GP surgery about your COVID-19 vaccination status. GPs cannot provide letters showing your COVID-19 vaccination status.

Please see www.gov.uk/guidance/demonstrating-your-covid-19-vaccination-status-when-travelling-abroad for the full information from the UK Government.

Find digital tools on the NHS Digital Apps website to help you manage and improve your health, sourced by the NHS. These can be downloaded on any Apple or Android device and there are plenty of apps to help you with long term conditions and other health related issues. These include the following list:


Stress and Anxiety Companion

Catch It

Calm Harm

Active 10 Walking Tracker



Sugar Smart

Be Food Smart

Easy Meals

Couch to 5k

BMI Calculator

Smart Recipes

The practice provides the following facilities for our disabled patients:The practice provides the following facilities for our disabled patients:

Intercom system – there is an intercom at the front door in the event that you require assistance to enter the building

Automated door openers – there is a push button at the main door and internal door to automatically open them

Doorway widths – every doorway is wheelchair accessible

Wheelchair – if you would benefit from use of the practice wheelchair, to or from your car into the practice, please ask one of the reception team and they will make this available to you.  Although please bear in mind that they cannot help you into the wheelchair.

Stair lift – for access to our upstairs consultation rooms

Hearing loop – a portable hearing loop is available for use in any part of the practice

Patient toilet – which is wheelchair accessible

Braille signs – each consultation room, waiting room and patient toilet, have a braille sign

Additionally, 2 of the GPs have basic Sign Language skills, as do some of the Reception team.

Dear Patients,

We are refocusing how the online consultation system, known as eConsult, is used going forward. We are re-launching this from 11th of May 2023.

If you are seeking advice on a single problem that does not require face to face intervention, or have a non-urgent query, this may be a good solution for you to use.

We will be scheduling eConsult clinician time across the week, and so will review your response within 72 hours, and usually provide a response back to you through eConsult or text.

Please note that this is not a route to request an appointment, if you know that you need to be seen at a specific time or day, or want a specific clinician, please call the practice as usual.

This service will be available on each working day, and the volume of eConsults will be capped each day to manage demand – as each eConsult does convert to clinical time which we have to build into our team’s schedule.

eConsults are simply another form of appointment, and we would respectfully ask that you do not book multiple appointments for the same issue – for example, please do not also book a telephone call or face to face appointment if you have submitted an eConsult, or if you do then please advise the reception team which appointment you need to cancel.

There are many benefits to using the eConsult service, which many of you experienced when we first introduced this nearly two years ago.  Primarily this is about convenience, that you can send your problem or query to us at any time of day, and equally we will be able to respond at any time of day – as this is a fully remote consultation, based on what you tell us in the eConsult and your history.  So please be as informative as possible within the eConsult.  Simply saying ‘pain meds needed’ will be rejected.  But if you were to say something like ‘recently injured knee playing football, usual paracetamol and ibuprofen have helped a little, but still in some pain and knee still a bit swollen – would like advice and help in getting my knee back to normal and help with the pain’, then that gives the clinician something to work with.  Think about having that virtual conversation, and what is it that you need to communicate to us.  More information is better than less.

Some other good examples of things that should processed through eConsult include:

Request advice on a single non-urgent medical problem (e.g skin conditions)

Request for routine blood tests

Request for sick note extension

Requesting a GP letter

Advice about specific medication

First advice on a single non-urgent problem

Examples of things that shouldn’t be processed through eConsult include:

Requesting GP appointments

Requesting Nursing appointments

Requesting/chasing prescriptions

Requesting/chasing hospital referrals – please contact the relevant hospital department

Discussing test results

Urinary infections (please drop off a sample in a sterile pot) – the reception team will ask for your symptoms at the same time you drop off the sample

Thank you for working with us while we make this improvement to how this aspect of our service to you will work.

Whilst we encourage our patients to come to the surgery, where we have the proper equipment and facilities available, we do appreciate this is not always possible. In this respect, if you do need a home visit, you can help us by calling reception before 10:00.

You may only request a home visit if you are housebound or are too ill to visit the practice. Your GP will only visit you at home if they think that your medical condition requires it and will also decide how urgently a visit is needed. Please bear this in mind and be prepared to provide suitable details to enable the doctor to schedule house calls

You can also be visited at home by a community nurse (formerly known as District Nurses) if you are referred by your GP.

You should also be visited at home by a health visitor if you have recently had a baby or if you are newly registered with a GP and have a child under five years.

A web page has been developed, which is available on the Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust website to provide you with information on why there are long waits in the system in certain departments, what is being done to reduce the waiting lists, how we are working to keep you safe when attending hospital for appointments, how and when you will be communicated with, how you can manage your condition while you wait, and how you can prepare for surgery to ensure you are fit enough for it to proceed when your appointment is issued to avoid any further delays.

The link below will take you to the ‘My Hospital Journey’ web page for Bedford and Luton & Dunstable Hospitals.

My hospital journey – Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust

There is also information on these pages where you can follow a link to view average waiting time information for each department and find further help whilst you are waiting, including links to information about the NHS App and the platforms developed by NHS England/NHS Improvement: My Planned Care and Decision Support tools.

More information on these platforms are detailed below:


Owned and run by the NHS, the NHS App is a simple and secure way to access a range of NHS services on your smartphone and iPad/tablet, including ordering/managing prescriptions/repeat prescriptions, viewing health information, managing appointments and referrals, and much, much more.

You can also access the NHS App services from the browser on your desktop or laptop computer. To find out more about what the NHS App can offer simply go to: www.nhs.uk/nhs-app

My Planned Care

This online platform contains average waiting time information for 1st Outpatient Appointment and further treatment for each speciality under the Hospital Trust.

The platform includes helpful advice and information such as how to manage pain, finding mental health support, keeping healthy, and information for accessing financial help and other local support whilst you wait. It can also help you to prepare for your appointment or operation, including how to form a plan for your care and treatment alongside your healthcare professional.

Updated weekly, the site is easy-to-use and has ‘open-access’ so carers, friends, relatives and NHS teams can also easily access this information.

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – My Planned Care NHS

Decision Support Tools

NHS England has added new information to their website to support shared decision making between you, as a patient, and your clinician. We hope you will find they are useful before, during or between consultations, depending on your care pathway. They can help you to understand your condition, the treatment options available to you and support you to make a decision on the best treatment option for you depending on your personal circumstances and desired outcome.

NHS England » Decision support tools: making a decision about a health condition

In recent weeks, we have been working closely with BLMK CCG on supporting the future of a nearby practice, Rothesay surgery. We are now pleased to confirm that from the 1st July, we will be taking responsibility for the patients of Rothesay surgery and the building.

What does this mean for our existing patients?

For existing Goldington Avenue patients, the only significant change will be that our services are run out of two buildings instead of one. When you book a face to face appointment, we will be clear with you which site you should attend.

We plan to use Goldington Avenue for most of our planned care, including routine pre-booked GP , nursing , HCA and pharmacist appointments.

Rothesay House will be used for most of our urgent care, with care provided by a multi-disciplinary team of GPs, GP registrars, urgent care practitioners, minor illness nurses, paramedics and pharmacists as it is now.

What do we hope to achieve?

As many of you know, one of our biggest challenges for the past years has been lack of space, preventing us growing and developing as we would wish. Having a branch surgery will allow us to offer high standards of care to more patients, with better facilities and more spaced for increased staff numbers to support you. It will also allow space for more services to be delivered from the practice e.g. antenatal care, mental health support, first contact physiotherapy and potentially others in the future.

How do I book an appointment?

There is no change to our appointment booking system.

For most GP appointments, we request you phone and book a pre-bookable appointment with reception. This will give you a longer appointment, with a named GP at a specified time, which will allow for more holistic care and continuity. These can be face to face, telephone or video appointments, depending on your preference  (although with social distancing we will continue to have limits on the number of people that can wait inside the building).

If you feel you need to be seen more urgently, please complete an eConsult through our website. This gives us more information to ensure we can prioritise care and arrange for the most appropriate clinician to see you for an urgent problem. The information will be reviewed by a clinician and you will then get a response by eConsult, a telephone call or a request to come in depending on your issue. If you are unable to complete these forms online, please call reception who will complete a similar form with you over the phone.

These are shorter appointments to deal with urgent issues only and due to the need to prioritise emergencies, we cannot specify who will respond to you or give a fixed time. We are finding demand is very high at present, so please only request an urgent appointment if you truly need this to allow us to meet everyone’s needs.

For nursing appointments, please continue to call reception to book.

Our phone number will not change – 01234 349531.

When will this change happen?

This happens from the 1st of July. During the 1st and 2nd of July, we will operate from Goldington Avenue only to ensure everything is set up and ready to go in the Rothesay branch surgery.

From 5th July, appointments will be offered from both sites.

On the afternoon of 29th June, all the IT updates will happen so we will dealing with emergencies only as we will not have access to any computer systems or patient records.

We would like to take this opportunity for your continued support in working with us over the past year, which has offered many challenges for everyone. We hope that this step will allow us to continue to develop and offer high quality care to you all.

With best wishes,

Dr Liz Tatman on behalf of the Goldington Avenue Surgery team

We wanted to let you know that following discussions with the owner of the Rothesay Surgery premises, it was recently confirmed that the building will no longer be available for us to use as a GP surgery going forward. Given the relatively short notice involved, we have been working hard to find an alternative location that all our patients can use instead. We have secured this at Bedford’s Union Street Clinic, with construction work now underway to make it available for our staff and patients to use from 31st October 2022.

While we are very sad to move from Rothesay, we are pleased to confirm the works undertaken at Union Street will provide a safe and fully accessible GP facility. There will be 5 ground floor clinical rooms and waiting area, and a car park with disabled spaces which is accessed via Tavistock Place. The practice area of the building will have its own reception area, and the clinical rooms have been reconfigured and redecorated as part of this development.

This change will mean that we continue to operate from our main site at 85 Goldington Avenue and move our branch surgery to Union Street. The way that we provide face to face appointments, or telephone appointments will not change, you will still phone the same telephone number to reach us and attend whichever building your preferred clinician is based at that day.

We are working very closely with Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board (ICB), who are responsible for arranging GP services in Bedford. They recognise that this change may cause concern to some patients and would like to reassure you that the continued provision of quality of care to all patients is their priority.

What do I need to do as a patient?

You do not need to do anything. The telephone number and website address for Goldington Avenue Surgery will stay the same and our branch surgery details will be amended to reflect the Union Street details.

From Monday 31st October 2022, the new address at our Union Street branch surgery is:

Union Street, Bedford, MK40 2SF

Patient vehicular access is via Tavistock Place. There is also direct access from Union Street for patients on foot without mobility issues.

Useful Information

What do I do if I have an appointment booked?

If you have an appointment booked this will go ahead as planned. If you have an appointment to be seen face to face on or after 31st October 2022, the reception team will advise you, when the appointment is booked, which building your appointment is booked at.

Remember, please do not attend the surgery if you have any symptoms of covid or have been in contact with anyone who has. You will be asked to wear a face-covering whilst in the surgery.

What will happen to my repeat prescription?

There will be no change to the way you arrange your repeat prescription.

Is there parking available at the Union Street Clinic?

The surgery has a car park to the rear of the building, which is free for patients to use, this includes three disabled parking places. There is also some pay for on-street parking available in Tavistock Place (please ensure that you always check the signage before parking).

Where is the nearest bus stop?

There is a bus stop situated on Union Street directly in front of the Union Street building.

Strep A is a common bacterial infection that can cause other conditions to develop

There is a currently an outbreak of this around the UK, and it is important for parents and guardians to be aware of signs and symptoms and when to seek help

These resources may help you:

Scarlet fever – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Little orange book (PDF)

Tonsillitis/sore throat :: Healthier Together (what0-18.nhs.uk)

But if in doubt, then please contact the practice and we will do our best to provide advice.

We are a training practice, which means that fully-qualified doctors, who have usually completed their 3.5 years of training in hospital medicine, and 6 months working in a practice to develop their skills in general practice, before completing a final year in general practice with us.

What does this mean?

It means we are officially approved to teach and train GPs and Medical Students.

Why become a training practice?

By fulfilling the criteria needed and incorporating this into the way we work we expect to improve and maintain a higher standard of care for our patients.

How did we achieve this?

For The Surgery: The practice is examined to ensure that it provides an appropriate learning environment. It must provide a good example both of clinical care and of management. The infrastructure must be sound, the records of high quality and the team committed to learning. The surgery was re-assessed (as part of the re-accreditation process) in May 2016 by East of England Deanery based in Cambridge.

The Trainer:

The trainer is examined independently to ensure that they have sufficient knowledge of practice and of education, skills appropriate to one-to-one teaching and educational management, and attitudes supportive of learning.

Dr Elizabeth Tatman and Dr Navita Srivastava are both lead trainers in the surgery, and Dr Ravi Agarwal is an associate trainer.

How are these standards maintained?

Every 2-3 years the practice is visited and inspected by a team of representatives from the Deanery who review the practice and interview the staff to ensure standards are being maintained. There is also feedback from the GPs who have been trained at the practice. Dr P Tatman, Dr E Tatman and Dr R Agarwal are also formally assessed during this visit.

What is a GP Registrar?

This is a qualified doctor who has decided to embark on a career in general practice, much like a surgeon or physician in the hospital. Like these doctors part of their training involves them spending a total of 18 months working at a teaching practice. This is usually divided into a 6 month and 12 month attachment.

How much experience do they have?

By the time you see a GP registrar they will have spent at least 5 years at medical school to qualify as a doctor. Then they will have done 2 years working in hospitals (previously known as “house jobs”). They will then start a 3 year training programme to become a GP, during which they will spend 18 months in a training practice. Often the GP Registrar will have more up to date knowledge on hospital treatment and service than we do as they have just come from a hospital job. So by the time you see this doctor they may well have been working as a doctor for 4 years.

What support does the registrar receive from the practice?

Training and education is scheduled into every day, and all of the GP’s at this practice participate in these sessions. An example of a training plan is: a 2 hour tutorial on Monday morning, a 30 minute debrief Tuesday lunchtime, a 1 hour tutorial Wednesday, a 30 minute debrief Thursday and Friday lunchtime. While structured training sessions are an important part of the support that the practice provides, this is also supplemented by involving the registrar in clinical audits, clinical reviews and meetings, as well as providing information on practice management and business management to ensure that the registrar has a good sense of how a practice works from all aspects. Senior GPs are always available to assist the registrar, if this is required during a patient consultation.

Do you think you would want to be a registrar at this practice?

We usually take ST3 placements, but will start taking ST2 placements in August ’17. If you would like to arrange for an informal visit with the either lead trainers (Dr P Tatman or Dr E Tatman) or the Practice Manager (Mrs C Prentice) please call the surgery to schedule this.

During the CoronaVirus outbreak the practice has received help from a range of teams and individuals, and would like to say ‘thank you’

University of Bedfordshire for donating PPEKindly donated 17 boxes of masks, 5 boxes of face shields and 50 surgical gowns in early April

This was shared amongst 10 practices in Bedford that were running very low on PPE, as well as to the Bedford ‘red site’

Bedfordshire PoliceKindly donated around 40 pairs of goggles in early April

This was shared amongst 10 practices in Bedford that didn’t have any eye protection, as national supplies had yet to come through

Goldington Avenue residentsKindly made ‘scrubs bags’ for the GPs and Nurses

These bags are used by the clinical team to put their used scrubs in and to take home, and reduce infection transmission risk to the home of the clinician

All our patientsThank you for being patient and adapting with us to all of the changes that we have had to go through

Thank you for being kind to the reception team, or whichever of the team you speak to on the phone, your kindness helps us to get through some difficult days

Thank you for the flowers, they are lovely

Mrs C Prentice

Practice Manager

Goldington Avenue Surgery

For some time we have not required an appointment for patients that suspect they have a UTI, and this has as a result both freed up those appointments to be used for other patients, but also allowed the treatment of suspected urine infections in a more timely manner.  We now need to add some principles to how this will be managed going forward, and these changes will come into effect from Tuesday 26th September ’23.

– Sample and symptoms must be with us by no later than 2:30pm

– Symptoms can be provided to us either by completing a text message that we can send to you that you answer, or there is a paper form at reception, or your can tell us your symptoms when you hand your sample in.  We prefer the text message as this allows us to capture all the information directly onto your records, but there are other options.

– The urine sample will need to be in a ‘red topped’ bottle – red topped bottles contain a small amount of preservative that ‘fix’ the sample at the point in time, so that it is in a better state for it to be cultured by the laboratory, should we need to send it off

– Anything received later than 2:30pm will be acted upon the next working day, except for Friday (or when a bank holiday is due) when we will not ‘hold over’ any samples until Monday as they are unlikely to be usable if we do need to send them off to the lab

– On a Friday (or the day before a bank holiday) all samples must be in by 2:30pm

If you feel you have a urine infection, please call us on our usual number – 01234 349531 – and let us know that, and ask for the text to be sent to you. 

You do not need to phone at 8am, and so may want to call us after the usual morning calls have been answered so that you avoid the morning queue.

Then just come in to the practice to collect the red topped bottle and either do the sample while you are at the practice, if you can, or return before 2:30pm that day.

At our Goldington Avenue site there is limited parking available near our practice, in and around the surrounding roads. Please consider cycling, as we have a bike rack that you can lock your bike to, or consider walking if you live nearby, to alleviate the parking stress that is often experienced in this area.

At our Union Street Clinic site there is an onsite car park, with some parking spaces available, however when we are running at full capacity there are not sufficient parking spaces for all patients. There is parking in the road outside, but this is ‘pay to park’. Please also consider walking if you live nearby.

This information supports the practices travel plan as recently requested by the local authority in planning application number 22/00292/FUL