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Latest News

Shingles- Are You Eligible?

Shingles vaccination

A vaccine to prevent shingles, a common, painful skin disease is available on the NHS to people in their 70s.

The shingles vaccine is given as a single injection into the upper arm. Unlike the flu jab, you'll only need to have the vaccination once and you can have it at any time of the year.

The shingles vaccine is expected to reduce your risk of getting shingles. If you do go on to have the disease, your symptoms may be milder and the illness shorter.

Shingles can be very painful and uncomfortable. Some people are left with pain lasting for years after the initial rash has healed. Shingles is also fatal for around 1 in 1,000 over-70s who develop it.

It's fine to have the shingles vaccine if you've already had shingles. The shingles vaccine works very well in people who have had shingles before and it will boost your immunity against further shingles attacks.

Who can have the shingles vaccination?

You are eligible for the shingles vaccine if you are aged 70 or 78 years old.

In addition, anyone who was previously eligible but missed out on their shingles vaccination remains eligible until their 80th birthday.

You can have the shingles vaccination at any time of year, as soon as you turn 70 or 78.

The shingles vaccine is not available on the NHS to anyone aged 80 or over because it seems to be less effective in this age group.

To see if you are eligible for a Shingles vaccine, please see below-

Shingles Eligibility

Are you taking gabapentin or pregabalin (brand names include: Lyrica, Alzain, Neurontin)

Important changes from 1st April 2019

There will be changes that may affect you from 1st April 2019. These changes follow a government consultation because of concerns around possible misuse and mean that these medicines become Controlled Drugs (CDs). The medicines themselves will not change, but there will be more rules on how they are prescribed and dispensed.

What does this mean for me?

Currently gabapentin and pregabalin prescriptions cannot be sent to your pharmacy using the electronic prescription service (EPS.) If you usually have your prescriptions sent to the pharmacy in this way you may need to collect a prescription from your surgery, or ask your pharmacy to do this.

If you use the repeat dispensing “batch” service (RD) this will no longer be available for these medications and your pharmacy will not be able to dispense any outstanding batches from the 1st April 2019.

Controlled Drug prescriptions MUST be dispensed by your pharmacist within 28 days of the date on the prescription. (Most prescriptions  can be dispensed up to 6 months after this date)

If you are owed any medication by the pharmacy this also needs to be collected within 28 days of the date on the prescription.

The quantity on your prescription may be reduced. It is recommended that a maximum of 30 days of CDs should be prescribed, to ensure safety. The prescribing of controlled drugs is closely monitored. This may also mean that you are called in for more regular reviews to make sure that the medicine is still working.

Make sure that you do not run out of your gabapentin or pregabalin as Pharmacists are not allowed to provide emergency supplies or loans for controlled drugs without a prescription.

You (or your representative) may be asked for proof of identity when collecting prescriptions and may be asked to sign that you have received these.

Do I need to do anything?

If you currently get your prescriptions through the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) or RD (batch prescriptions) then speak to your pharmacist or staff at the practice.

If you have a green “paper” prescription for gabapentin or pregabalin please make sure that you get this dispensed before the 1st April 2019 when the new regulations come into force.

If you are ‘owed’ any gabapentin or pregabalin from your pharmacy please make sure you collect this before the 1st April 2019.

When you next request a prescription after the 1st April please be aware that these changes will be in force. This is a nationwide change to the regulations and your GP and Pharmacist are legally required to change practice.

Please see the leaflet below for more information

Pregabalin and Gabapentin Information

Ambrose Avenue- A Training Practice

We are delighted to announce that Ambrose Avenue Group Practice will be welcoming Medical Students from June 2018! Working closely with our regular doctors, Medical Students from several universities will be spending time at the practice. You may be asked with no obligation, if students can be present during your consultation. Just let Reception know if you have any concerns, and we wish to thank our patients who have recently had the opportunity to meet our current Student Doctor, Maddie 

Copies of Blood Test Results

From Friday 25th May we will be no longer providing paper copies of blood tests results.   To obtain copies of your blood test results you will need to register for On-Line Services.  Once you have access to the On-Line Services (you may already use this to make appointments and request repeat medication) you can then request access to your "detailed coded record" - the practice will then approve this and you will be able to access your blood tests results at any time.  Please ask at Reception about registering for this service.

GDPR-What is it?

The General Data Protection Regulation is the new EU law legislation to protect the personal data of all EU citizens, and is a significant change in Data Protection for all of the UK, inciuding the NHS and Healthcare providers. It comes into force on 25th May 2018.

Although GDPR does not completely alter the way data is currently protected, it does have some changes, especially about what 'personal data' means for us as a practice and our patients. We now need your consent to be able to contact you by Text Message- if you have not already done so, please complete a Text Message Consent Form as soon as possible.

More information can be found at

Please see the Further Information section to the right for more guidance.

Launch of 'The Sound Doctor' patient education films for long term conditions

In conjunction with Essex County Council, the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group are supporting the launch of 'The Sound Doctor', a new web based library of 300 film and audio patient information videos designed to help people understand more about some of the long term conditions which is now freely available to north east Essex residents.

These videos are aimed at those living with or caring for someone with COPD, diabetes, dementia, heart failure, back pain. There are also videos for those considering weight management surgery.

The sound doctor videos are full of information people often wished they had remembered from their GP appointments or that they just forgot to ask, and may help to avoid additional visits to the doctor. They provide access to expert advice at home, in peoples own time whenever it suits them.

If you or your family would like to access this large film library, please visit select your surgery and pop in your postcode- that's all you have to do!

Friends and Family Results for September 2018

We are delighted to announce the results of our latest Questionnairs and are pleased that 87% of our patients would be likely to recommend us to their friends and families!

The Friends and Family test is to determine how likely our patients are to recommend their surgery as a surgery of choice to their friends and family.

The results for September 2018 are as follows-

Extremely Likely                   41

Likely                                  28

Neither likely nor Unlikely      6

Unlikely                                3

Don't Know                           0

At Ambrose Avenue Group Practice, we are always looking at ways to improve to service we offer to out patients and the friends and family provides us with invaluable feedback on the experience our patients have when using the surgery.

Some examples of patient's Comments-

  •      Doctor always pleasant, always detailed in looking into health issues.
  •      Dr Soares is a fantastic GP. She has been working with me for over 3 years and honestly wouldn’t be here today if not for her.
  •      All the staff – doctors, nurses and administration staff – have been very helpful, patient and efficient.
  •      Friendly, confidential, understanding GP who offers many options –while considering your wishes.

     We are very grateful to all of our patients who have taken the time to complete the survey for us over the past few months, and the Friends and Family Questionnaires can be collected from Reception at Ambrose Avenue and Tollgate surgeries.

Why not leave a review online? Go to and search for Ambrose Avenue Group Practice!

Ear Syringes

From Friday 1st June, Ambrose Avenue Group Practice will no longer offer ear syringing. This decision has been taken in accordance with national guidelines stating that it is no longer recommended for GP practices to offer the service on a routine basis.

There are several self-care alternatives to ear syringing. Please contact a pharmacist to discuss the most suitable product for you or pick up a copy of our self care leaflet from reception.

You can also click on the link below-

                                                     Ear Care Options

Cessation of Ear Syringe Service - Practice Comment

Text Messaging Service

As form 1st April 2018, the laws regarding General Data Protection are changing. This means that we will no longer be able to send you Text message reminders to your Mobile regarding appointments and results unless you have signed a consent form.

In order for us to continue providing this useful service to you, our patients, we urge you to call into the surgery at Ambrose Avenue or Tollgate to sign out consent form.

Alternatively, just head over to the Text Message Reminders page to print off the form and bring it in at your convenience.

It only takes a minute and means we will be able to continue keeping you up to date!

The Team at Ambrose Avenue Group Practice

Text Message Consent Form

Coming Soon- Care Navigation

Receptionists at Ambrose Group Practice are training to become Care Navigators

Care Navigation is a new national programme designed to make sure every person contacting the surgery is helped in a way that is right for them. 

This could be anything from arranging contact or an appointment with your GP or Practice Nurse, providing information on services within your community that could help you, or by giving you advice or information over the phone, perhaps saving you a visit to the practice.

What is a care navigator?

A Care Navigator will make sure you get help from the right person at the right time-right away.

To do this, Care Navigators will need to ask why you are calling so that they can arrange the right care or support for you

Care Navigators have been trained to keep information confidential and to provide a safe service

Why will this help?

You will get help from the most appropriate person as quickly as possible

Seeing your GP will become easier when you need to

You may not need to visit the practice 

For more information, call into the surgery and speak to the Reception Team

Friends and Family Results

We are delighted to announce the results of our latest Questionairs and are pleased that 83% of our patients would be likely to recommend us to their friends and families!

The Friends and Family test is to determine how likely our patients are to recommend their surgery as a surgery of choice to their frineds and family.

The results for March are as follows-

Extremely Likely                   50%

Likely                                  36%

Neither likely nor Unlikely      4%

Unlikely                                4%

Don't Know                           6%

At Ambrose Avenue Group Practice, we are always looking at ways to improve to service we offer to out patients and the friends and family provides us with invaluable feedback on the experience our patients have when using the surgery.

Examples of some of the feedback we have received throughout February include-

"I can usually get an appointment when I need one and the practitioners are always friendly and helpful" 

"Lovely helpful Reception Staff, Knowledgeable Doctors"

"I have always found the surgery to be helpful and understanding"

We are very grateful to all of our patients who have taken the time to complete the survey for us over the past few months, and the Friends and Family Questionnaires can be collected from Reception at Ambrose Avenue and Tollgate surgeries.

Why not leave a review online? Go to and search for Ambrose Avenue Group Practice!

Welcome to Ambrose Avenue Group Practice

We are confident that our website will provide clear and concise help and give our patients the information they require in an easy and convenient format. It has been designed with the patient’s needs at the forefront of everything, from checking surgery times to letting us know what you think of us.

New Daily Minor Illness Clinics run by our Nurse Practitioner Team, covering all minor ailments. See Your Health section for more details or ring and book an appointment on the day of your minor illness.


On behalf of the Patient participation Group we would like to thank all patients that helped complete thier recent young parent survey.  


Apologies - from 1st April 2016 the Surgery will no longer be able to offer an in house Sexual Health Service (Mirena, Coils and Nexplanon implants) to our patient population. Those who wish to enquire about a coil fitting should now ring 0300 003 1212.

Apologies - from 1st April we will also no longer be offering an in house Smoking Cessation service, please read notes below and for further information please ring 0300 303 9988.

From 1st April 2016 Provide will  take responsibility for the delivery of a new Essex Sexual Health Service and Essex Lifestyle Service:

 Essex Sexual Health Service

The new Essex Sexual Health Service draws on the experience, innovation and expertise of  a number of organisations, including South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, the Health Living Partnership Ltd, and specialist charitable organisations Brook and Terrance Higgins Trust.  The new service will deliver the full range of sexual health services, including sexually transmitted infection testing/treatment and contraceptive advice and services.  As well as a central point of access,  the service have staff based in localities across Essex and has the expertise to reach those who may be vulnerable or have a specific need. The service will include a new online ‘test at home’ STI testing facility provided by SH:24.



The Essex Lifestyles Service

The service will take a holistic approach to improving the lifestyles of people and will offer practical help and support on a range of health-related issues including: stopping smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise and healthy eating.  It can also help with emotional well- being issues such as stress, depression and loneliness.   The team will also signpost people to other health and care services and are also able to issue ‘social prescriptions’.   These are referrals to other groups and organisations that can help the individual. 


Both services will have dedicated websites that will provide detailed information for both the public and professional that will also launch on the 4th April:



Diarrhoea and sickness? Please stay at home!

Clinicians at North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group and Colchester Hospital are asking people who are experiencing diarrhoea and vomiting not to attend A&E or visit friends or relatives in the hospital, or any care providers (GP surgeries, Walk-in Centres) until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours.

If you are concerned or need any advice please call your GP or NHS 111, further information can also be found here

Norovirus is a virus which causes diarrhoea and/or vomiting and spreads like a cold or flu and is more common in the colder, winter months. It is also sometimes called 'gastric flu' or the 'winter vomiting bug'.

Symptoms can begin suddenly and may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach-cramps, chills and muscle aches which tend to last for around 24 hours, although the bug may last for up to 48 hours in your body.

Winter vomiting is quite infectious and can be spread quickly through any close contact.

The risk of norovirus is most effectively reduced by good hygiene and using common sense.

Please make sure you wash your hands regularly - it’s the best form of resistance. For more details on how to wash your hands properly please see or


Please remember:

  • Wash your hands
  • Stay at home if you are ill
  • Symptoms may begin suddenly and include:
    • Nausea | vomiting | tiredness | fever | diarrhoea
    • muscle ache | stomach cramps | headaches
  • Stay away from hospital, GP surgeries or walk in centres until you are symptom-free for 48 hours
  • Please call your GP or NHS 111 if you need to seek advice

Following these simple steps makes a huge difference in preventing the spread of norovirus.  It’s such an easy thing to do but will hopefully ensure more people stay well this winter.

Health News from the BBC and the NHS

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