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Lostwithiel Medical Practice - First Newsletter

Tuesday 13th November 2012

Welcome to the first edition of the Lostwithiel Medical Practice newsletter. We hope that you will enjoy our endeavours to engage you in what is your surgery as much as ours. Our over-riding ethos is to help you, the patient, to the best of our collective abilities; to maintain your good health as well as the timely recognition of problems that may need onward referral to specialists. We are a team.........doctors, nurses, dispensers, receptionists, secretary, medical records administrator and a practice manager. We discuss important issues during regular clinical, practice and business meetings and no topic is too small or too big for meeting agendas. Communication is the key and in-between formal meetings we talk again about anything that is relevant, causing concern or might be helpful in improving our services. You may not be surprised at how busy this keeps us!

We need your help with patient input. We are setting up a Patient Participation Group (PPG) and anyone of any age can join. The group is to be run on a voluntary basis and all you need is an abundance of ideas, enthusiasm and spare time. If you would like to be involved or would like more information please let the practice manager know your name and any particular talents or ambitions you may have and she will contact you. The group will need a chairperson, a secretary, someone with marketing skills, someone with organisational skills for patient surveys and an army of willing participants to make things happen. The aim of the group is that patients and staff will pool ideas on how to improve services and to support and help in implementing any changes that arise from the meetings. For example, would patients find it helpful for a surgery e-mail contact to ask non-urgent questions? Would there be interest in arranging evening events on particular health topics such as “Men’s Health” or “Menopause Matters”? Help us to help you by volunteering for this group.

Clinical Topic – What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat that is essential for good health and needed for cell growth and production of hormones including oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. There are two types of cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”). High levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to fatty deposits building up on artery walls. This can block the blood flow in your arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke. HDL carries excess cholesterol out of the blood to the liver where it is processed and removed from the body. The risk of heart disease is particularly high if you have high levels of LDL cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol.

Where is it found? Small amounts of cholesterol come from diet. A diet of eggs, liver, kidney and prawns will not usually raise your cholesterol level much. Most cholesterol is made within the body, in your own liver, and this process is influenced by the other fats that you eat. Saturated fats are found in meat (particularly red meat), butter, cream, cheese and pastries and cause levels of LDL cholesterol to rise which raises your risk of heart disease and stroke. Unsaturated fats are found in vegetable and sunflower oils and spreads, nuts and avocados and reduce levels of LDL cholesterol which is good. Trans fats are artificially solidified vegetable oils and raise levels of LDL cholesterol; these are found in some biscuits, cakes and pastries.

What can be done? Your cholesterol level can be measured with a blood test if you discuss with your GP. Cholesterol levels can be changed through diet, maintaining a healthy weight and increasing exercise levels. Your diet should be low in saturated fat, high in unsaturated fats and high in fibre (which can lower cholesterol – fruit/vegetables/beans/oats). Oily fish can increase HDL cholesterol (sardines, salmon, mackerel and fresh tuna). If you already have heart disease or are at a high risk of getting it, your GP may prescribe cholesterol-lowering medicines such as statins. Certain spreads and yoghurts containing substances called plant sterols/stanols may help lower cholesterol. You should reduce any additional risk of developing heart disease such as stopping smoking.

The British Heart Foundation has excellent advice on its website:


Date For Your Diaries:   ‘Flu Vaccination Day 

Tuesday, 2nd October 2012 : 9.30am to 4.30pm Lostwithiel Community Centre

As with last year, “patients at risk” will be sent further details by letter nearer the time. It is hoped the vaccines will be delivered the week before so if 2.10.12 is not convenient for you please contact the surgery to book an appointment on an alternative day. Being vaccinated against influenza helps not only you the patient but your local community by limiting the spread of this unpleasant infectious disease.


Triage Appointment System

As the practice grows, we find we have growing pressure on our ground floor clinical rooms. To make the most appropriate use of our space, our clinical staff, your time and ours, we have introduced a system to try to give you the right appointment with the right person at the right time. At times when we have most pressure on appointments, we will take your details and a clinical member of staff will return your call promptly.

Some enquiries can be handled on the telephone, some need a prescription and some need a face-to-face appointment. Our nurse practitioner, Lizzie King, has training in telephone triage and prescribing and also knows most of our patients. She will return your initial telephone call, make an assessment of your request and make appropriate arrangements for you to be dealt with by the clinical staff.



Following the government’s reform of the health service, a local commissioning group has been established. This has the title of Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group and from 1/4/13 it will have responsibility for the commissioning of most health services within Cornwall. This practice has a small voice in this organisation which can be heard through the North Cornwall Locality Group.

Dr. Howe and Mrs. Angell regularly attend locality group meetings with the intention of improving clinical services in this part of Cornwall and in this practice.


Training Practice

Lostwithiel Medical Practice has been inspected and approved as a training practice in 2012. Doctors in training in the south west of England can therefore be appointed to our surgery, amongst others of a similar standard, to gain experience of general medical practice. From 1/8/12 we will have Dr. Ian Buchanan working with us for six months. He has graduated from the local medical school - Peninsula Medical School - in the recent past and has been working in the region for the last 18 months.


Practice E-Mail Address 

This e-mail is for general use by everyone for general inquiries, requests for information and is being used more frequently for prescription requests. Please feel free to e-mail us at this address.



We also have a website which is currently being updated– do please explore this and advise us on its content. Click here


Comments Or Requests

Your comments, suggestions or requests for articles in future newsletters are all very welcome. Please write to the practice manager at the surgery.