Dear Exmoor Medical Centre Community,

I am writing to keep you all updated with regard to the recent decisions taken by Kathryn Kyle (Practice Manager Executive Partner) and myself.

As many of you may be aware, both locally and nationally GP surgeries are struggling to recruit GPs – there are simply not enough to go around. Kathryn and I have worked tirelessly over the past 12 months to try to recruit an additional GP to complement our team (Dr Peter Byass, Dr Michelle Colley and myself) to improve continuity of care and sustainability for the practice. Despite all of our efforts, we have not been successful in appointing another GP. Therefore, the pressures that I have personally had to face over the past year have been extremely high.

I am sure many of you will realise that, with not enough GPs on the ground, it is very difficult to continue to meet the high quality care that we continually strive to give and pride ourselves upon. We also currently face even higher pressures now that Dr Peter Byass is moving onto a new job more local to him in North Devon. So in order to ensure sustainability for the practice, we have had to look at alternative options from our current partnership model.

Based on the above, Kathryn and I have jointly made the decision to integrate into a larger organisation, Symphony Healthcare Services (SHS), to give us greater resilience and secure the future of the practice.

In April 2016, SHS was established after three GP practices approached Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust directly for help. Ilchester Surgery, Yeovil Health Centre and Buttercross Health Centre in Somerton were the first practices to integrate into SHS. Like many GP practices, they had been struggling to manage the operational and financial pressures on the surgery; with difficulties in recruiting permanent GPs, rising costs, growing patient numbers and demand, along with increasingly complex healthcare needs. SHS now supports nine surgeries within Somerset and by joining together SHS aims to help practices meet the current and future challenges within primary care by providing a sustainable, high quality healthcare service for patients.

Although Kathryn and I have jointly agreed that joining SHS is the right decision for patients, the practice and its staff, Kathryn has made the decision to move on to pastures new after 13 years at the surgery, as much of the finance and HR work will be managed by SHS centrally. Kathryn has seen the practice through some extraordinary changes and challenges with the most impressive, innovative and charismatic approach, and is committed to seeing the practice through the integration process. Whilst this is incredibly sad news given Kathryn’s absolute dedication and commitment to the practice, we have no doubt that Kathryn will continue to make a real difference in whatever she chooses to do. Our current Assistant Practice Manager, Lindsay Smith, will step into the day to day management role which will remain much the same.

It is undoubtedly going to be a time of change as we move through 2020. However, I will continue as the Clinical Lead GP and GP Trainer for the practice alongside Dr Michelle Colley. I am very committed to the Exmoor Medical Centre community; having first worked within the practice as a receptionist in 2005 during the summers whilst I was at University. The relationships I have developed with patients and staff are of utmost importance to me and I am driven to not only continue to deliver the best possible care for you at the practice, but also to be on the frontier of new and innovative ways of working. I am confident that SHS will help support the team and I to do this.

The good news for our patients is that these changes behind the scenes should not disrupt the usual day-to-day running of the practice and although GPs will undoubtedly remain scarce, the additional infrastructure and support provided by SHS will allow the team and I to focus on you and your healthcare needs.

I feel confident that SHS is the right decision for Exmoor Medical Centre and I hope that you will be as supportive of SHS as we are.

SHS and Exmoor Medical Centre will look to host an open event for interested patients following integration to share key information, meet the team and will provide an opportunity for you to ask questions. Further information regarding this will be announced shortly.

With kind regards,


Dr Kelsey Boddington

GP Partner

Exmoor Medical Centre


Comings and Goings at Exmoor Medical Centre


Hello and Happy New Year to all our patients!

As we have had a number of team member changes at EMC in recent months, the Partners would like to update you.

First and foremost, it is with fondness tempered with regret that we share this sign off from Dr Pete Byass who is leaving in March:

“I’ve been at Exmoor Medical Centre five and a half years – straight from qualifying as a GP. The old adage that we learn something new every day is very apt in General Practice and as a newly qualified GP, even more so. I’d like to thank my colleagues for supporting me through this settling in period and come to think of it – every day since!

I’m moving on to work in Ilfracombe at the Combe Coastal Practice. I’ll be part of a larger team and will also have a considerably quicker commute which was an important factor in moving as I’ll be able to spend more time with my family.
Over the last five and a half years I’ve met a good few Exmoor folk – some of whom I’ve got to know well.  I have no doubt I will miss catching up on and being part of people’s lives and feeling a small part of the community.  I know I will also miss the Dulverton steak and stilton pies and lemon drizzle cakes!”

We all wish Pete the very best of luck as he heads off to work ‘across the border’.

In other news:

  • GP Registrar, Kathryn Walling, left us to have her first baby and we are delighted to report the safe arrival of baby Jesse on 1stDecember
  • We have very reluctantly had to say a fond goodbye to Practice Nurse Paula Williams, who departs after an amazing 16 years with the Medical Centre. Perhaps the mathematicians out there will be able to calculate how many miles Paula has clocked up driving from her home near Porlock and back, all in the call of duty! We are very sad to see her go but wish her the very best of luck as she takes up a new role on home turf.
  • We also said goodbye to our medical Secretary Emma Thompson in the summer, who after six years could no longer resist the lure of the bright lights of London. We hear she is working in close proximity to Harley Street and enjoying her new, even busier, pace of life.
  • Heulwen Stevenson, whom many of you will know, changed roles locally in the Autumn. In her stead we have greeted Ele Laker and she is settling into her role as Complex Care Nurse.



After all those departures, fortunately we have also been able to welcome some new, and returning, faces!

  • GP Michelle Colley rejoined us in November after maternity leave and her delightful daughter Alice is thriving
  • GP Registrar Hannah Jackson joins for the last part of her GP training
  • Gabby Rowe, an experienced dispenser, has re-joined the team in Pharmacy, in the stead of our long-serving staff member Julie Cross, who left us in the summer, after a sterling quarter of a century’s service!
  • Christine Rowatt is covering the dual role of coordinator for the Living Better initiative and receptionist in training.
  • Andrea Corrie has joined us as medical secretarial support to Lindsay Smith and she also wears an editorial hat with regard to Practice communications, having previously held a similar role at a GP Practice in Surrey, before moving to the local area. A quarterly Newsletter is planned from springtime onwards.

In broader Practice terms, some of you may know that Dr Kelsey Boddington is Clinical Director of the West Somerset Primary Care Network: Living Better as part of her continued commitment to the practice and patients.

There are many exciting developments around community support for both clinical and non-clinical issues and we will provide updates as and when these are accessible.  Initiatives already available include local Talking Cafés, support from Village Agents and Mental Health Liaison Worker.

It is certainly a time of change at EMC but we will continue to offer all our patients the personal and efficient service they have come to know.

Kathryn Kyle

Practice Manager Partner

January 2020

January 2019


We are so pleased to see the uptake of the flu jab has been high this year.  For those of you who still haven’t managed to have your injection please get in touch with our reception staff.

I am sure many of you are aware, as the winter creeps in so do the numerous bugs that are flying around.  Consequently, this can put pressure on all healthcare services, including Exmoor Medical Centre, and we continue to try to meet our demand and prioritise our care as effectively as possible.

How can you help us to help you?

Firstly, consider whether your query requires seeing or speaking to a GP, or whether your question can be answered by another member of the team….

In an effort to try to deal with your queries as efficiently and effectively as possible our reception staff are asked to enquire about a patient’s concern when they request an urgent appointment with a GP.  We understand that not everyone may wish to divulge their reasons, but where possible we would ask that you do.  In providing this information you can help the doctor deal with your need in the most efficient way possible.  Where there is a need for a doctor’s appointment that day, you will often find the doctor will need to phone you back to ensure you are seen at the most appropriate time in the most appropriate place.

Sometimes you may not necessarily need to speak to a doctor and may find other members of the team helpful….

Do you have a query about medication?  Do you need a new medication that has been advised by a consultant at the hospital or you would like to request a medication that is not on your repeat prescription?

  • Speak to our dispensers…
    • they will be able to access your records to see if a GP has seen and prescribed according to a consultants letter – and if they haven’t received or processed that request the dispensers can prompt the GP to do so.
    • They can identify if you have had a medication before that is not on your repeat prescription and ask the GP to prescribe it. Again they ask for more information to help the GP process this request. If the GP feels they need to speak to you the surgery will be in touch to arrange this.
    • You may be due a medication review – you may not always need to see a GP for this – it may be worth asking the dispensers if you need to come in or whether the GP has enough up to date information regarding your health to be able to update your medication from your notes.

Do you have a query about a referral? Are you struggling with booking your hospital appointment? Would you prefer to be referred privately?

  • Speak to our medical secretaries….
    • They will be able to look up relevant information and support you with queries around your referrals.
    • They can communicate directly with the GP on your behalf to arrange an alternative referral or discuss your query and get back to you on the GPs behalf.

Do you need information about groups, services and micro providers in the community?

  • Speak to our receptionists…
    • They will be able to direct you to the appropriate place, give you useful phone numbers and advise you on where you can access the help you need

Do you need to request a home visit?

  • We ask that you speak to our receptionists prior to 11am that day if it is at all possible. This enables the GPs to phone when needed and plan lunchtime visits as efficiently possible
  • We ask that home visits are only requested for housebound patients.

Do you need to find out about blood test results?

  • Our receptionists are able to discuss blood tests with patients or those with written consent in place to discuss a patient’s record on their behalf. We request that you phone after 3pm for results as the mornings are usually very busy for receptionists arranging appointments.

Have you heard about our Talking Cafés?

  • We are so fortunate now as part of the West Somerset Living Better Project to have a Talking Café taking place in Dulverton Library every Friday between 10am – 12pm. This is a great place to meet people and also access local services and resources.  These cafés have been a success in Minehead and we are now very lucky to have this in Dulverton. Please feel free to go along and see what it is all about!

That’s enough of the information overload and now on to a fond farewell to our Nurse Louise.  She will we greatly missed by so many and we wish her well… We now welcome our new nurse, Clare Hendy, who is now settling in as a much valued team member…

Best Wishes,


Autumnal blogging

It would appear autumn is officially now upon us – the autumnal equinox has apparently recently occurred thus signifying the appearance of trick or treat costumes in the shops and the call to get flu jabs at medical centres up and down the land!  Our stock has now arrived, the clinics are running as follows, and you don’t need to book in:


    Thursday 27th September 2.30-4pm



    Tuesday 9th October 2.30-4pm



    Monday 1st October 10am-4pm

    Thursday 25th October 10am-2pm



    Tuesday 6th November 2.30-4pm



    Tuesday 13th November 2.30-4 pm


The CQC visited over summer – overall this was very encouraging and we are again rated as ‘good’ with ‘outstanding’ ratings in three areas;  long term conditions, being effective and vulnerable people…  I think it is fair to say the assessors were impressed with the work we have been doing around care planning but wanted to see more hard evidence about its efficacy which we have taken on board…  We are grateful to the team for their preparation for this and keeping calm heads with an hour long power cut mid way through the assessment day!   Also pleasing was a recent NHS patient survey showing that we are rated the 5th highest in Somerset here at Exmoor Medical Centre out of around 70 practices in the county.

In other news we said farewell to Dr Amanda Kemp last month – Amanda was with us for a year in her final year of training we were grateful for her hard work and commitment, were delighted when she (very deservedly) progressed through her exams and assessments and wish her the very best with her new job in South Devon.   In her stead is Dr Paige Burchell who is with us until February who has settled in very well. Welcome Paige!


Lastly,  anyone wishing to enjoy a gentle walk with a local friendly group should look no further then our Health Walks group.  I would hate for anyone thinking about coming along to be put off by worrying they  may be too slow or unfit…  Please do ask for details from one of the staff.



At last… some sunshine!

The sun is finally out!  As many of us find, the sunshine helps motivate us to get outside and get active.  The views on Exmoor over the past few weeks have been spectacular and reminds me of just how lucky we are to live in this area.  So what better excuse than to come out on our Health Walks that take place fortnightly in various locations in Dulverton and surrounding areas?  If you want to find out more please enquire at the reception desk.


For any of our Irritable Bowel Syndrome patients we have exciting news!  Award winning NHS gastro-dietitians have now set up the First Line Advice IBS webinar ‘on demand’ which means that patients can watch it whenever they wish.  You do not need a referral letter, simply email them on:  And they will do the rest!


For those of you on regular medications, we also want to take the opportunity to point out this important information….

Medicine Sick Day Rules:

When you are unwell with any of the following:

  • Vomiting or diarrhoea (unless only minor)
  • Fevers, sweats and shaking

Then STOP taking the medications listed below and restart when you are well (after 24-48 hours of eating and drinking normally).  If you are in any doubt, contact your pharmacist, GP or nurse.

Medicines to stop on sick days:

  • ACE inhibitors
    • Medicine names ending in “-pril” eg. Ramipril, Lisinopril, Perindopril
  • ARBs
    • Medicine names ending in “-sartan” eg. Candesartan, Losartan, Valsartan
  • NSAIDs
    • Anti-inflammatory pain killers eg. Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Diclofenac
  • Diuretics
    • Sometimes called “water pills” eg. Furosemide, Spirinolactone, Indapamide, Bendroflumethiazide
  • Metformin
    • A medicine for diabetes

Ask your GP or dispensary for a Medicine Sick Day Rules card to carry on you if you think this would be helpful…


As many of you may know, we are now offering some of our patients with the most complex needs opportunities to discuss Advance Care Planning with their GP or our Living Better nurse, Heulwen Stevenson.  Advance Care Planning is a way to share your wishes for future healthcare, and name someone who can speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself.  You can watch a great video that explains all of this on:  If you have not yet had the opportunity to discuss your future wishes, but would like to, please phone reception to arrange a consultation with a GP.


On a final note, we would like to take the opportunity to thank all of those who continue to give their voluntary support for the practice.  This includes our delivery drivers for the dispensary, our patient group members, our community drivers and many others I am sure.  We really are extremely lucky for you all to give your time so generously throughout the year…



Spring has sprung!

It is good to see in the Spring equinox and change our clocks to British summer time finally….I am hoping that will be the last of the snow for 2018 too! Thank you to everyone who popped in and offered their help to us during the snow, it make such an enormous difference when we are offered help with medicine delivery and other offers of support during the bad weather.
We are also hoping that we will be through the worst of the horrid viruses that have been making so many people unwell recently. On that note please may I politely ask that if you are very unwell and feel you are absolutely unable to make it into the Practice for an appointment, that you request your home visit before 11am. Please remember that home visits are for housebound patients only. This is so that our GPs can telephone you first so that we can offer you the best possible care and that they are  able to plan their day more effectively.
We are delighted to announce that our new Healthy Walks program has started this month, we are offering short walks for  patients of the Practice who are not usually active led by our two trained volunteer walk leaders. Initially this is offered to patients that our clinicians have recommended. We are looking for more volunteer walk leaders so that we can offer the opportunity more widely in the future. Please speak to our Reception Team if you are interested.
We are delighted that so many of our patients almost half of all our registered patients are using our online patient access system. This is a truly amazing number and makes our work far more efficient in terms of booking appointments and organising medications. If you would like to sign up please follow click here and click the green register button.
Now for the little grumble, if you have any queries about your medication please can you write these on your repeat medication request via patient access, this way is most efficient and safe way for us and the information lands within your medical record. It is difficult if we receive email queries as there is the possibility of transcription errors or other misunderstandings occurring.
It has also been brought to our attention that a few company’s are offering to process your repeat medications for you stating that this would be helping your GP Practice, these are private companies making a profit. We are a Dispensing GP Practice and the revenue from running the Dispensary supports the Practice as a whole, without the Dispensary the GP Practice in Dulverton would not be viable. Please support our Dispensary.
Wishing everyone an enjoyable Easter break
Practice Manager Partner

December 2017

Merry Christmas One and All!

This time of year is always a reflective one for me, looking back at the happenings of the previous year and often thinking “where has that twelve months gone!”.   So, here we are following a year of some fond farewells as well as the excitement of welcoming new members to our practice team.  Our newest of which being Claire Floyd as our new healthcare assistant.  Claire has worked with us previously and we are so grateful to have her back with us at the practice.

Another huge accomplishment for our practice this year is achieving our “Going for Gold” Accreditation.  This work was started in August 2014 and as a practice we have worked together to improve our systems and delivery of healthcare to those patients whose needs require a very important multi-disciplinary approach.  We are now looking to extend this work to provide protected GP time for our patients with complex health needs in the hope that we can build upon the service that we currently deliver.  Achieving national recognition for this work is something our whole team feel extremely proud of and we have had fantastic feedback from patients and carers over recent months.

As you know we have also been planning to start our Health Walks and we are so excited to say that we now have two patient volunteers that have been trained up and will be looking to start regular walks for our patients in the New Year.  These will be regular guided walks that will be graded according to difficulty and designed to help give people the confidence to get out into our beautiful surroundings.  For those of you who may have BBC Sports Personality of the Year last night, Denise Larrad was awarded the “Unsung Hero” trophy for her outstanding voluntary work helping people in her community get active.  Her words were truly inspirational particularly speaking about the detrimental impact inactivity can have on our health.   Is it time for a New Year’s resolution to get more active?  Maybe these groups can help? Watch this space – more details will follow in the New Year!  (If anyone is interested in helping to support the running of this group or feel they would benefit from participating in a regular health walk please let Lindsay Smith know).

We are now well and truly into the winter weather! There are undoubtedly higher pressures on healthcare services at this time of year.  Could we please ask that wherever possible home visit requests for housebound patients are made by 11am to enable our GPs to plan efficiently.  We appreciate that this may not always be possible, but we are keen to try to meet the demand as effectively as possible over the coming months.  In addition, if you are happy for us to leave answerphone messages please let our receptionists know.  Please note, we require a personalised message on the mobile or landline answerphone to be able to leave this message for confidentiality reasons.

That’s all from me for now!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


November 2017

The clocks have gone back, winter is upon us but we still have a few flu jabs left!  – If you haven’t had one yet and would like one please get booked in or else let us know.
Since the last blog we have some new faces – Welcome!
Firstly to Michelle Colley – our new salaried GP has now started and some of you will no doubt have seen her.  Michelle has settled in well, is a pleasure to work alongside and knows her stuff!  In these times of difficulty in recruiting GPs, to have her working with us is a great boon to the practice.
Heulwen Stevenson is our new ‘living better’ nurse.  Some of you may have met Sandra Jarvis and/or Louise Ford – Heulwen takes over in the same role – namely working in the community for people with multiple medical conditions who often struggle to get into the surgery…  Heulwen is part of some new exciting work we are doing – led by Dr Boddington – to allow us as GPs – and patients with (often) multiple long term medical conditions to meet for a longer time slot than usual for a review.  Appointments will be starting to come out shortly for this.
We also say good bye to some old faces
Will Morgan – our registrar is now working as a locum GP nearer his base in Exeter.
Andrea Phillips our Health Care Assistant is also moving shortly – again to be working nearer to her home – We will miss Andrea – she may not thank me for reminding her how many years she has been at Exmoor Medical Centre (and Trumpington House beforehand) so in terms of ECG stickers used (for heart tracings) I think she will have put on around 50,000 and taken over 20,000 blood tests totalling around 500 pints. Sincere thanks for your hard work.
We are also pleased that Carl Egan – a fifth year medical student from Brighton Medical School had a successful six week placement with ourselves.  Training (registrars and medical students) is something we think is important for general practice as a whole, potentially for future recruitment to our practice and for ourselves as doctors and the team – to keep us up to date and bringing new ideas in.
Yours Aye.

Summer news

Here we are in the middle of summer already and it is time to update everyone with our news from the EMC.

As you will all know Dr Trill has now left the Practice and embarked on her cycle touring adventure all the way from Tromso in Norway to Rome with her husband Peter. We wish them well for their travels and strong legs with tailwinds for all the hills! Dr Trill will be taking up a new role as Deputy Medical Director at Musgrove Park Hospital in October and we wish her every success in her new role.

During August and September we are delighted to announce that Dr Will Morgan our current GP registrar will be staying on as a fully fledged GP working with us over the summer, please book appointments in the usual way via online access or phoning into Reception to see either Dr Byass, Dr Boddington or Dr Morgan.

Alongside our regular GPs our new GP Registrar Dr Amanda Kemp will be joining us during the first week in August, I’m sure you will join me in welcoming her to our team. Amanda has been training as a GP in North Devon and will be with us for a year as she completes her GP training with us.

In late September our new Salaried GP Dr Michelle Colley will be joining us for seven sessions each week alongside Dr Peter Byass and Dr Kelsey Boddington. I am pleased to report that our entire team is fully staffed at the EMC and we feel excited about this next phase. I’m sure you will join me in welcoming Michelle to our team too. Michelle has been qualified for a year and has a wealth of experience working in many North Devon Practices and also for Devon Doctors out of hours service.

I would like to mention a little about our current appointment system. We are advised by NHS England to provide ten minute appointments during routine surgeries; this is so we can offer a good volume of GP & Nurse appointments during the week and most practices offer these appointments. Ten minute appointments are designed to deal with one medical problem at a time, to make appointments run a little more smoothly please can we ask that if you are expecting to have an examination during your consultation that you dress appropriately so that the GP can examine you? We always aim to offer same day or next day appointments at all times and we pride ourselves on being able to achieve this high standard.

As you know GPs are under increasing pressure to meet rising demand. In order to manage any urgent or emergency appointments we have introduced a new more innovative and efficient way of dealing with these requests. If you request a home visit, same day or urgent appointment, you will now receive a telephone call from the GP to get a little more information to best understand how to meet your needs. You may then be asked to come into the Practice or if you absolutely are unable to make it in you will receive a home visit. We have made space for this during the duty GP’s day so that all other GPs are booked up in the usual way and available for routine face-to-face appointments. Please get in touch if you have any thoughts regarding this new system.

Also, if you would like to check your height, weight or blood pressure this is available in the confidential room in Reception. There are some slips of paper to note down your readings please pass these to Reception Team and we will add to your medical record which will help our clinicians when you have appointments as recent readings are very useful to help with diagnosis and treatments.

All that is left is for me to wish you a very happy summer here’s hoping for some more warm weather too.


Mrs. Kathryn Kyle

Practice Manager

A Decision Reached

Many of you will be aware that over the last 6 months or so, my days working in the surgery have been reduced as new opportunities have been opening up for me.

Therefore, it is not without some considerable sadness that I have decided after almost 16 years to resign from Exmoor Medical Centre as a GP Partner.

It would be disingenuous to say that the 16 years have always been easy and you will know that we have gone through some bumpy rides and difficult times. What I can say is that being a GP on Exmoor has always felt an absolute privilege and if I have been able to support or help any of you in a small way, I have received this back immeasurably in kind.

Sixteen years ago both General Practice and Exmoor Medical Centre were very different  and there have been many changes over the years. I started on the first day that an appointment system was put in place, when all the accounts were held in a large ledger and medical notes were still illegibly hand written on the cards, with no sense of order. We may curse computers from time to time, but believe me, it is so much easier to read typed text!

Not all the changes in the years have worked perfectly (appointments only bookable on the day was a disaster). The team is not complacent, but it is trying hard to provide a medical centre for Exmoor that provides high quality, person centred care and I know that the remaining Partners will continue to strengthen this.

I feel proud of our Practice and particularly our Practice team, some of whom have been with the Practice longer than me and without whom we could not have hoped to have struggled through the tough times. I shall miss working with them very much and in particular my close colleague and friend, Kathryn Kyle our Practice Managing Partner who has always been a great sounding board and enthusiastic supporter of a mad idea and who stood solidly by my side when I was the only GP left in the practice.

From a list, there are one or two particular achievements I should like to mention (if you’ll bear with me) as they belong to the whole practice.

We are now a training practice for GPs, so we regularly receive qualified doctors, who are completing their GP training. Dr Pete Byass, will take over this training role from August.

We so nearly achieved  an overall outstanding report in our CQC inspection, which was impressive as it came at a particularly difficult time in the practice when we were doctors down.

Our new project, Living Better, working with other practices across West Somerset to provide stronger services, including for our frailer patients is looking to go from strength to strength.

Our charity year in 2014 though was a particularly important year. It was a very distressing year in the practice and hard work for us all, but despite that the team raised £6 000 for local charities, through individual projects, quizzes, anniversary donations and the team Exmoor Ironman challenge. It turned that awful year into a very special one.

I do not know how General Practice will change in the future. I worry that it is being taken lightly, when we should be celebrating, supporting and strengthening a service that few other countries benefit from. Finding GPs both nationally and in Somerset is difficult and I wish Exmoor Medical Centre all the very best in their hunt. I am confident that I leave the Practice in good hands and if they are desperate, perhaps they will call me back to locum.

With thanks and very many best wishes

Andrea (Trill)