By Dr Brian Jones
Appointments telephone 01767 651544
General medical practice is carried out from the Medical Centre in Stocks Lane. Three doctors work from the centre, Dr. Karame and Dr. Baker are full- time and Dr. Diana Taine is part-time. The doctors work in a team along with practice nurses, district nurses, health visitors, physiotherapists, receptionists and other clerical staff. There is an administrative manager.
The doctors in Gamlingay work in partnership with three doctors from the neighbouring small town of Potton which is in Bedfordshire. The combined practice cares for about eleven thousand people.
The building in Stocks Lane is modern and purpose built. It is owned by the medical partnership.
The doctors and their team provide primary health care for the residents of Gamlingay and the many surrounding villages. The team deals with ninety per cent of the medical problems of their patients within the surgery or within the patient's home. Patients with more complicated illnesses are referred for opinion, advice and in-patient care to the large district general hospitals situated in Cambridge (Addenbrookes) and Huntingdon (Hinchinbrooke). A few patients travel to the district general hospitals in Bedford or Stevenage.
When an individual requires medical advice, the first port of call is the primary health care team. The patient is seen, usually by appointment, by the doctor and nurse. This most frequently occurs within the Medical Centre, but when circumstances demand the consultation takes place in the patient's home.
Specialist advice is available in the hospitals stated above. On Monday to Friday consultations occur during the morning and during the late afternoon and evening. Most patients are seen by appointment. However, those with more urgent problems are seen on demand. Once a week there is a dedicated ante-natal clinic. Most patients are delivered in the nearby hospitals, but the ante-natal care is shared between the general practitioner, midwife and the hospital specialists.
There are also immunisation and cervical smear clinics carried out within the Centre.
The Medical Centre has a well equiped treatment room where minor casualties are treated and where minor surgical operations are carried out.
The Centre also contains a dispensary, and the patients from outlying areas are provided with their drugs and appliances from this.
The role of the general practitioner is changing. As a result of recent legislation the practice has been compelled to join a group of other practices, mainly in Bedfordshire. The main function of this group is to commission the health care for all the patients covered by this group. This is likely to be between sixty and eighty thousand. After the first year or two the group will be responsible for its own budget.
A group of local neighbouring practices have now formed a co-operative. The purpose of this is to provide out-of-hours cover for the population. The co-operative is due to begin work at the end of June 1998.