Practice Blog

12th Sep 2023

Macmillan Coffee Morning Wed 20th September 10am

We are hosting a Macmillan Coffee Morning at the surgery on Wednesday 20th September between 10am and 12pm.  You're welcome to bring a cake or something yummy to share (homemade or bought!).  Please support our small event if you are in the parish of Haverthwaite and Backbarrow, or if you are just passing through on the A590.  

If you can't come but would still like to give a donation to Macmillan just text CUPCAKE to 70550 (one text = £5), go to or phone 0845 074 2606.

Texts cost £5 plus any network charge.  Macmillan will receive 100% of every £1 donated in this way.  Obrain bill payer's permission.  Test STOP to 70550 to opt out from future communications from Macmillan.

24th Aug 2023

Patient Survey

Haverthwaite Surgery - your opinion matters

Have your say

Haverthwaite Surgery in Backbarrow has published a letter to patients on its website. This informs patients that the practice has been asked by its
landlord to vacate its premises by the end of November 2023.

As the commissioner of primary care services for the region, NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) is working with
the practice to look at a number of options focusing on ensuring robust services for registered patients both in the short and long term.  
The ICB understands the population and geographical characteristics of the area and want to ensure that the needs of the population are met.

We are committed to listening to patient views about the services they use and any potential changes those services.  

To support with this, patients of Haverthwaite Surgery are asked to complete the short survey below.
16th Aug 2023

Open Letter to Patients

Dear Patients, 

RE: Haverthwaite Surgery Eviction Notice 

We are writing to offer clarity and detail on the circumstances currently affecting your surgery here at Haverthwaite. 

For some time now it has become clear to NHS England that our surgery building is no longer up to the standard as outlined in the mandatory guidelines by the Department of Health for Estates and Facilities: 

Facilities for Primary Care and Community Services 

We now have an increased patient population of just over 2,900, welcoming patients from a wide geographical area but essentially offering health care to those hard-to-reach rural areas of western Windermere, Coniston and beyond.  Although we are busier than ever with our clinical rooms at capacity, we endeavour to meet our patients’ needs and NHS England Access Targets with convenient appointment times and on-the-day emergency consultations - statistics reflected within the national GP Patient Survey 2023: 

NHS GP Survey 2023 Results - Haverthwaite Surgery 

To protect our hardworking community surgery and continue with the provision of excellent primary care we have researched best solutions to future-proof our service given the current state of the building and its outdated facilities. Early last year we entered discussions with a third party to develop an existing building with additional land within Haverthwaite.  Architects have designed plans in accordance with NHS England to create a state-of-the-art surgery which would not only be bright, airy and physically accessible to all, but also environmentally friendly and energy efficient.  The property developer is a local resident. He is extremely passionate about the community and the all-important retention of necessary health services for our semi-rural patient population. 

Many of you will be aware that very recently we coincidentally received an eviction notice from the owner of our current premises together with a proposed rental lease agreement containing a 65% increase to £55k per annum. 

Such a rental increase would not be approved and funded by the Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB (Integrated Care Board) without substantial renovations to the existing building to bring it up to the standards as attached above. Owners of healthcare properties must maintain pre-requisite building standards to prosper from the favourable benefit of long term, above-market rental income.  

In the absence of an agreement between the ICB and our current landlord regarding the improvements required to negotiate a rent increase we continue with our original plan to move into a brand new third party-owned property.   

Both options, however, require financial commitment from the ICB.  As such, very shortly in September the ICB will arrange an open meeting in which to discuss our options and the financial viability of each.  It is unlikely that a dispersal of our current patient population to over-stretched Ulverston practices will be raised, given the unquestionable need to retain a much-needed healthcare service central to this area. 

We want to ensure that you, our patients, are kept abreast of this ongoing situation and where you can, we would welcome your involvement.  Please do keep an eye on our Facebook page, or here at for any updates. We will also ensure that information is available within the surgery. 

Thank you in advance for your understanding with this matter, 

Yours sincerely


Dr Philip Edwards, GP Partner

& Sarah Edwards, Managing Partner

28th Mar 2023

Those Lazy Doctors!

"I can never get to see a Doctor - they're all lazy"

"GPs can't be bothered to see their patients"

"There's never any appointments. I reckon they're all out playing golf."

These are just some of the classic comments we at Haverthwaite Surgery try to avoid reading underneath many of the mis-informed, scathing articles as published by the likes of the Daily Mail and other tabloid press.

The fact of the matter is that nationally there are simply not enough GPs.  It takes a total of 9 years in further education to become a fully trained GP and many graduates are now not choosing to commit to this path.  One could say the incessant, disparaging articles in the press have encouraged prospective GP trainees to now disregard the profession as one that has long since become too hard and quite frankly too disrespected to follow. 

We however, feel very lucky.  Unlike many other surgeries, we are small enough to offer the best service possible to our local community.  Patient demand and bureaucracy have increased and it is not uncommon to find  Dr Edwards working late at his desk, scrutinising the various funding codes, algorithms and protocols we must adhere to in order to ensure the continued functional service our patients rightly expect.  


We are also lucky because we have a fabulous team.  Our experienced Practice Manager Ursula ensures that we help to provide the very best in service and patient care. We are 11 permanent members of non-clinical staff versus 3 clinicians.  Those figures alone highlight the extent of administration and business work now required in General Practice.   

But just in case we don't get things quite right, unable to offer the exact appointment time which suits you best (forget 2 weeks, Dr E will bend over backwards to see you on the day if he can) or if your prescription is not quite ready, then please consider the pressures on General Practice as a whole. We're only human and sometimes it's not easy battling through a busy day when unhelpful press articles attempt to appeal to the masses and pull us down.  We work according to the mandate and contractual arrangements as imposed by NHS England.  Until our government manages to work through the pressures imposed on the NHS, we get up to work another day the best we can.

Thankyou to all our patients who appreciate and value the service we provide. 

We are given a lot of home made cake and that must be a good sign :-)


safer sleep
13th Mar 2023

Safer Sleep Week 13-19 March 2023

Today begins Safer Sleep Week which is the Lullaby Trust’s national awareness campaign targeting anyone looking after a young baby.  It aims to raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and the simple advice that reduces the risk of it occurring. 

The theme for Safer Sleep Week this year is co-sleeping.

The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a clear, flat, separate sleep space. However, a recent survey of over 3,400 parents showed us that many parents co-sleep with their baby at least some of the time and that many parents have accidentally fallen asleep in bed with their baby. A recent report from the National Child Mortality Database also highlighted that many babies die in hazardous co-sleeping situations, the majority of which are unplanned. So, it’s vital that every new and expectant parent knows the advice on how to co-sleep more safely, regardless of how they plan to sleep. This will allow parents to prepare a safer space for planned co-sleeping, or if they fall asleep without intending to.

Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership has produced a really informative Safer Sleep Booklet.  It's been put together to help keep babies safe as they sleep, providing the right information to parents and carers so that they are aware of the risks.




nutrition hydration
13th Mar 2023

Nutrition & Hydration Week 13-19 March 2023

Nutrition and Hydration Week

A shared objective to highlight, promote and celebrate improvements in the provision of nutrition and hydration locally, nationally and globally. Read more about it here

kidney day
9th Mar 2023

9 March 2023

World Kidney Day

It’s the topic that’s too BIG to ignore. On Thursday 9 March 2023, join us in highlighting just how big an issue kidney disease is. It’s not a disease that affects only a handful of people; one in ten worldwide have it. Your neighbour could have it. Your parent. Your work colleague. Your child. Help us shout it from the rooftops.  Find out more here.

eating disorders
27th Feb 2023

27 Feb to 5 March 2023

Eating Disorder Week

An international awareness event, fighting the myths and misunderstandings that surround eating disorders. Learn about different diagnoses and what to be aware of if you think you or someone you know may have an eating disorder.

Visit to find out more.


1st Feb 2023

1 February 2023

The LGBT+ History Month 2023 #BehindTheLens celebrates LGBT+ peoples’ contribution to cinema and film from behind the lens. Directors, cinematographers, screen writers, producers, animators, costume designers, special effects, make up artists, lighting directors, musicians, choreographers and beyond.

At a time when LGBT+ lives are in the media we also encourage you to look ‘Behind the Lens’ and listen to LGBT+ peoples’ lived experiences.

Online Booking
26th Jun 2022

26 June 2022

Online bookings are now open via your NHS-approved app (MyGP, Patient Access, NHS etc).

We now offer our patients the option of booking some appointments online via your mobile phone.  Telephone consultations with our fantastic Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Sarah Baker are available on some Fridays.  If you normally have to call us and book your regular bloods with Alison or indeed your yearly chronic disease review (asthma, COPD, diabetes etc) then you can now log into your app and book your appointment this way.

We have made several slots available for online booking throughout June and July and will adapt according to demand.

Of course, you are more than welcome to call us by phone but we realize that some patients would rather quickly book their regular appointment via a quick click on a mobile phone. 

cervical screening
20th Jun 2022

20 - 26 June 2022 is Cervical Screening Awareness Week

Cervical Screening Awareness Week was established to raise awareness of the importance of cervical screenings (also called smear tests) and to help people who may find the experience difficult. For more information on why smear tests are so important, check out this article at

Macmillan says that in the UK 1 in 4 people invited for a smear test don’t go to their appointment. This may be because they find the idea of the test daunting, or embarrassing.

But Cervical Screening Awareness Week is an opportunity to ask any questions you may have about smear tests, or to learn from other people’s experiences.

Find out the answers to common questions about cervical screenings below, and for more information, visit the NHS, Macmillan, and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust websites.

Who needs cervical screenings?

Macmillan says “Regular cervical cancer screening is important for anyone with a cervix. This includes women, trans men and people assigned female at birth.”

People who have had the HPV vaccine should still get a smear test. Anyone with a cervix should have the test, regardless of their gender identity of sexuality.

At what age do you start–and stop–getting cervical screening?

The NHS recommends that people between the ages of 25 and 64 have regular cervical screenings.

People will first be invited for a cervical screening up to six months before their 25 birthday, and then every three years after that, until they turn 49.

People aged 50 and older should have a cervical screening every five years, and people aged 65 and older generally only need a smear test if one of their last three tests was abnormal.

What happens in a smear test?

During cervical screening, a nurse or doctor will gently put a speculum into the vagina and open it to see the cervix. They will use a soft brush to take a small sample of cells from the cervix, and then close the speculum and remove it.

The test itself should take less than five minutes, according to the NHS, while the whole appointment should last around 10 minutes.  So, if you think you are due for your smear, please just call the Surgery on 015395 31619 and book in with our lovely Nurse Susan who will answer any questions you may have and put you at ease.  

13th Jun 2022

13-19 June 2022 is Mens Health Week

13th to 19th June 22 is Men's Health Week and this year the theme is 'Time for your MOT'.

We know early stage cancer diagnoses fell by a third during the first lockdown and that shortfall has continued. Macmillan reckon that around 50,000 of us have missed a cancer diagnosis during the pandemic. Prostate cancer diagnoses, for example, were down 29% between 2019 and 2020. That's not because prostate cancer is getting rarer (it isn't), but because men weren't seeing their GPs to begin to get diagnosed. Indeed, male GP visits fell more than female visits. There were good reasons for this fall during lockdown but not now.

The Men's Health Forum have produced a really great DIY MOT.  Okay, it's a bit cheesy and takes you through a selection of health steps akin to an actual car MOT - dashboard warning lights, wobbly gear stick... you get my drift BUT if this approach works and gets men stopping to think and consider their health and lifestyle then that can only be a good thing.   

As part of #menshealthweek, men are also encouraged to get an NHS Health Check.

What is an NHS health check?

It's basically a free midlife MOT from NHS England. It can help you spot upcoming heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, stroke and other health problems.

If you're aged 40-74 and don't already have a diagnosis for one of these conditions, you should have an NHS health check.

What happens?

It takes about 20 minutes. The health professional - usually a nurse - will ask you some simple questions, measure and weigh you, take your blood pressure and probably a small prick of blood from your finger. Based on this, they will be able to give you an idea of your risk of several serious diseases: heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.

They'll then give you personalised advice to reduce your risk.

The questions are very easy and not embarrassing and you won't have to take any clothing off. 

Do NHS health checks work?

The NHS thinks so. They estimate that every year, NHS Health Checks:

  • save 650 lives
  • prevent 1,600 heart attacks and strokes
  • prevent 4,000 people from developing type 2 diabetes
  • detect at least 20,000 cases of type 2 diabetes or kidney disease earlier

Mental Health Awareness Week
10th May 2022

Mental Health Awareness Week 9-15 May 2022


One in four adults and one in 10 children experience mental illness, and many more of us know and care for people who do.

Children & Young People

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out the priorities for expanding Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CYPMHS) over the next 10 years.

It aims to widen access to services closer to home, reduce unnecessary delays, and deliver specialist mental health care which is based on a clearer understanding of young people’s needs and provided in ways that work better for them.

To achieve this, the NHS are supporting commissioners to develop effective, evidence-based services which can meet the goals set out in the Mental Health Implementation Plan. These will combine local, system-wide leadership and ownership with the participation of essential partners including children, families and carers.  

Adults' Mental Health

One in four adults experiences at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any given year. People in all walks of life can be affected and at any point in their lives. Mental health problems represent the largest single cause of disability in the UK.

The NHS is placing more national focus than ever before on mental health. NHS England and NHS Improvement aim to deliver a transformation in adult and older adult mental health services by 2023/24, building on the progress made to date towards achieving the recommendations set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, and aiming to rebalance the provision of care and ensure that people can access the care they need closer to home.

The NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24 sets out the NHS Long Term Plan priorities for improving adult and older adult mental health care over the next five years supported by major new investment. NHS England and NHS Improvement are investing to improve care across a range of services and settings, including mental health crisis care, acute mental health care, and community-based mental health care.