Blog Archive


First Contact Practitioner

Do you have a muscle, joint or bone problem?

From 4 April, when you request an appointment, you may be offered an appointment with a specialist physiotherapist called a first contract practitioner instead of a GP.

A First Contact Practitioner can:

  • Assess your concern
  • Start a treatment programme
  • Arrage tests
  • Refer to other services – both hospital and community
  • Provide a work advisory note if you need to be off work

Nationally 96% of patients recommend the service and only 5% choose to see a GP afterwards

Speak to the GP reception team for further information


Social Prescribing

Social Prescribing Link Worker for Alrewas Surgery

What is Social Prescribing?

Our health and wellbeing can be affected by many factors and GP’s report that they see many patients who are feeling isolated and lonely, or stressed due to housing, work, financial difficulties or the impact of long term health conditions. Within East Staffordshire there are a team of Social Prescribing Link Workers connected to GP practices who are able to help find opportunities for improving the health and wellbeing of its residents.

How can a Social Prescribing Link Worker help me?

The role of a Social Prescribing Link Worker is to take the time to listen to your concerns and help to connect you with services and activities that might help to improve your health and wellbeing. They may be able to support you to access new activities, a community group or help you to find legal advice or debt help. They may also help you to start a group of your own, such as a ‘men’s shed’, DIY, craft, or growing group. Ultimately everyone has different needs and challenges and we aim to help you to have control over your health and do this in a way that is focussed on what matters to you.

How can a Social Prescribing Link Worker help me during Covid 19?

Shielding, self-isolating and social distancing has been challenging and has left some individuals feeling anxious and worried about leaving the house. We can help to support you through these worries and find ways to help encourage the transition back into communities. In addition we can connect you with professionals and services that can help support you to manage your emotional and mental wellbeing.

Who is the Social Prescribing Link Worker in our community?

The Social Prescriber in your area is Katy Lawrence who is connected to the Alrewas Surgery. You can ask your GP to refer you to the Social Prescribing service, or contact Katy directly via email or telephone:, 07739 090562

A note from Katy

*Please note that due to the current Covid-19 crisis support is being provided over the telephone. But when it is safe to do so I will look forward to being an active part of the Alrewas community.

Donwload the Case Study.

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Non NHS Fees (including Travel)

Why do GPs charge fees?

Isn’t the NHS supposed to be free?

The National Health Service provides most health care to most people free of charge, but there are exceptions: prescription charges have existed since 1951, and there are a number of other services for which fees are charged.  Sometimes the charge is made to cover some of the cost of treatment, for example, dental fees; in other cases, it is because the service is not covered by the NHS, for example, medical reports for insurance companies.

Surely the doctor is being paid anyway?

It is important to understand that GPs are not employed by the NHS, they are self-employed, and they have to cover their costs – staff, buildings, heating, lighting, etc – in the same way as any small business.  The NHS covers these costs for NHS work, but for non-NHS work the fee has to cover the doctor’s costs.

What is covered by the NHS and what is not?

The Government’s contract with GPs covers medical services to NHS patients.  In recent years, more and more organisations have been involving doctors in a whole range of non-medical work.  Sometimes the only reason that GPs are asked is because they are in a position of trust in the community, or because an insurance company or employer wants to be sure that information provided is true and accurate.

Examples of non-NHS services for which GPs can charge their NHS patients are:

  • Certain travel vaccinations Click here for general travel information.
  • Private medical insurance reports

Examples of non-NHS services for which a GP can charge other institutions are:

  • Medical reports for an insurance company
  • Some reports for the DSS/Benefits Agency

I only need a doctor’s signature – what is the problem?

When a doctor signs a medical certificate or completes a report, it is a condition of remaining on the Medical Register that they only sign what they know to be true.  In order to complete even the simplest of forms, therefore, the doctor might have to check the patient’s entire medical record.  Carelessness or an inaccurate report can have serious consequences for the doctor with the General Medical Council or even the Police.

What will I be charged?

The BMA recommends that GPs tell patients in advance if they will be charged, and how much.  It is up to the individual doctor to decide how much to charge.  The surgery will have a list of fees either in the waiting room, or available on the website. See the link below

What can I do to help?

  • Not all documents need signature by a doctor.  For example, you could ask another person in a position of trust, who may be willing to sign a passport application free of charge.
  • If you have several forms requiring completion, present them all at once and ask the receptionist/GP if he or she is prepared to complete them all at once as a ‘job lot’ at a reduced price

Do not expect the GP to process forms overnight; urgent requests may mean that the doctor has to make special arrangements to process the form quickly, and this will cost more

Alrewas Surgery Non NHS Fees 2022

Travel Vaccination Fees

PATIENT NOTICE – From 11 April 2022

ALL requests for non-NHS (private) work will require payment IN FULL before our doctors and staff team commence work on them.

This work includes:

  • Holiday cancellation and fit to travel letters
  • Private prescriptions, blood tests and sick notes
  • Forms to complete such as sports fitness certificates, insurance claims
  • HGV, employment and driving medical reports
  • Travel vaccinations

A full list of non NHS work and the charges is in the waiting room, on our website and available from reception

Once payment is confirmed, you should wait 10 working days to receive your request.



Alrewas Surgery takes part in high quality medical research. The practice is part of the local Primary Care Research West Midlands North and we are accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) . The network is funded by the Department of Health to undertake research to improve health care.

What does this mean for you?

You may be invited to take part in a research study. Whether or not you take part is entirely up to you, and the decision you take will not affect any of your medical care.

Your medical records and how they are used

We may be asked to share information we hold in medical records as part of the research. There are strict measures in place at the practice and with the researchers to keep your records confidential. The way in which we do this is set out in the leaflet “Use of your medical records”. A copy is available at the surgery.



SHINGLES…..the facts!

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

The shingles vaccine is given as a single injection. 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 are unlucky enough to 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 and shingles is fatal for around 1 in 1,000 people over 70 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.

What is shingles?

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster virus) in people who have previously had chickenpox.

It begins with a burning sensation in the skin, followed by a rash of very painful fluid-filled blisters that can then burst and turn into sores before healing. Often an area on just one side of the body is affected, usually the chest but sometimes the head, face and eye.

How is shingles spread?

You don’t “catch” shingles – it comes on when there’s a reawakening of chickenpox virus that’s already in your body. The virus can be reactivated because of advancing age, medication, illness or stress and so on.

Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. It’s estimated that around one in five people who have had chickenpox go on to develop shingles.

Who’s most at risk of shingles?

People tend to get shingles more often as they get older, especially over the age of 70. And the older you are, the worse it can be. The shingles rash can be extremely painful, such that sufferers can’t even bear the feeling of their clothes touching the affected skin.

Who can have the shingles vaccination?

The shingles vaccine is offered routinely as part of the NHS vaccination programme to the following people who haven’t yet had it:

  • people aged 70
    plus anyone in their 70s born after 1st September 1942
  • people aged 78 or 79

You can have the shingles vaccination at any time of year, though many people will find it convenient to have the vaccine at the same time as their annual flu vaccination.

How is the shingles vaccine given?

As an injection into the upper arm.

How does the shingles vaccine work?

The vaccine contains a weakened chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster virus). It’s similar, but not identical to, the chickenpox vaccine.

Very occasionally, people have developed a chickenpox-like illness following shingles vaccination (fewer than 1 in 10,000 individuals).

How long will the shingles vaccine protect me for?

It’s difficult to be precise, but research to date suggests the shingles vaccine will protect you for at least three years, probably longer.

How safe is the shingles vaccine?

There is lots of evidence showing that the new shingles vaccine is very safe. It’s already been used in several countries, including the US and Canada, and no safety concerns have been raised. The vaccine also has few side effects.


Screening Programme

Alrewas surgery supports and encourages its patients to receive information on, and take up, screening services available via the NHS.

Screening is the process of identifying healthy people who may have an increased chance of a disease or condition. 

Deciding whether or not to have a screening test is a personal choice and one which only you can make.  You have the right to accept or decline screening.

For further information, please download the Screening Informaion Leaflet


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Wherever possible, you will have a choice about where and when you receive treatment if a doctor believes you need hospital treatment or specialist care elsewhere. This service is called NHS E-referral (previously known as Choose and Book).

There are various ways of booking the appointment:

  • The doctor can book your appointment electronically for you
  • You can take the appointment request letter away with you and book your appointment later
  • In some cases you will need to telephone your chosen hospital directly to make your appointment

The doctor will explain the options to you.

Please read the You have been Referred to a Specialist Information Sheet.



Travel Information

If you require any information or vaccinations relating to foreign travel, please make a telephone appointment with one of our nurse practitioner to discuss your travel arrangements.

It is important to make this initial telephone appointment as early as possible  – at least 6 weeks before you travel – as an appointment at the surgery may be required to receive the vaccinations. 

For travel advice and information see

There is also further information about countries and vaccinations required on the links below:

Europe Europe & Russia North America North America
Central America Central America india South America
egypt Carribean lithuania Africa
bulgaria Middle East poland Central Asia
china East Asia china Australasia and Pacific


If your travel requirements are complex, the Practice Nurse may ask you to complete our Online Travel Questionnaire below before coming to see the nurse.