Media Releases

On this page you will find the latest press releases from Surrey Heartlands CCG.

If you are looking for a historical news item related to one of the previous CCGs that merged to form Surrey Heartlands, you may find the information on one of the following websites: 

GP practices release film to reassure patients that services are open and running safely

Three GP practices in Surrey have collaborated to produce a short film that features a host of Surrey winter heroes delivering messages of reassurance. Keeping patients safe is central to everything they do, and although all their services are open, practices now need to work differently to do this.

Fairlands Practice Manager Isata Green has never appeared in a public information film before, but you wouldn’t guess it. Isata is a natural, she thanks patients for the patience they continue to show, echoing the sentiments of healthcare staff in GP surgeries across Surrey. Her colleague GP Dr Marty McKendry takes the time to apologise that health care services have been disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team at Shere Surgery and Dispensary have recorded a message to remind patients that they are being listened to. GP Dr Douglas Wardrop describes how they are “working with patients to understand their needs and prioritise what healthcare staff do”.

Health and immunisation services are available and anyone who has a routine appointment is encouraged to keep it. If anyone has a cancer concern, a medical symptom or a maternity concern, NHS advice is to contact your GP surgery.

Final words come from Pharmacist Quresh Shamsuddin and Healthcare Assistant Angela Gill, both from The Wall House Surgery, thanking patients for their kindness and what they are doing to help.

Dr Charlotte Caniff, Clinical Chair, Surrey Heartlands CCG and local GP said:

“It’s critical that the NHS is able to continue to offer non-Covid services; since the first wave we have worked hard to restore services and to make our hospitals, GP practices and other premises safe, with stringent social distancing and infection control measures in place.

We’ve learnt a lot and have adapted our services to make them as safe as possible – for example offering more virtual services where we can (which many people are also finding much more convenient).

By reducing the spread of this infection we can help preserve these vital services and make sure our hospitals and other services aren’t overrun.

Finally I want to remind people - the NHS IS still here for you. Our services are open and are running safely. So if you think you need medical care, if you are worried about something – for example if you find a lump or have other worrying symptoms – please seek help”.

Model Publication Scheme Class: Not part of the MPS

Prescriptions available around the clock in Shere

Waiting times and restricted hours are a thing of the past at Shere Surgery, where a Pharmaself24 robot (affectionately named Brenda) has been making it easier and more convenient for patients to collect their prescriptions.

Brenda – an automated prescription collection device – was installed at the surgery last month, as a solution to the problem of queuing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Explains Dr Emma Watts from the surgery: “At the start of the lockdown in March there was a feeling of panic from some of our patients who were anxious about running out of medication. People were flocking to our dispensary and we found we had a huge queue of people going down the street, all at a two metre distance.

“We have a lot of elderly patients and so having them queueing wasn’t ideal, and we couldn’t put out seating because we didn’t have the resources to clean the seats between patients. I also saw the same thing outside other pharmacies when I drove home after work.”

Emma and her colleagues set about coming up with a solution and researched all of the options available. They decided an automated prescription service would offer patients greater flexibility, reduced waiting times and increased safety.

The surgery spoke to its patient participation group, SALV (Shere and Local Villages Charity) which was in favour of the new service, and which offered to fundraise to pay for the device and its installation.

Dr Watts said: “We have a very supportive community and engaged patients, and so they were keen to help with the purchase, which was wonderful.”

The installation of the device involved securing two rounds of planning permission – both for the machine itself and the ramp which was needed to enable wheelchair access – and also some building work to redesign the interior of the practice. In all, this took six months.

Finally, the work was finished and the machine was installed. The practice staff named her Brenda the Vendor.

She can dispense 750 prescriptions per week – which equates to around 90% of the surgery’s total, and the regular whirring of its robotic conveyor is now part of the ambience in the practice.

The machine is available 24/7. Patients are sent a text with a code, which they input into the machine to get their medication, and – if they need to pay for their prescription – they can do so with a contactless card payment.

Added Dr Watts: “Our patients have found it very exciting and people say they’ve enjoyed it as it’s really simple to use and is available whenever they want to pop by.

“We know from the machine reports when it’s accessed and so we can see that people use it at all times – some pop by when they’re out for a walk on a Sunday, and one patient with social anxiety has told me she uses it very early in the morning when no-one else is about. I recently had a patient with a urine infection who couldn’t get to the surgery before it closed on a Friday evening but I was able to prescribe her antibiotics which she collected that evening from Brenda. It’s wonderful to be providing a service at all hours, even when we’re not physically in the building.

“Some people still want to come in to collect their prescriptions from the dispensing hatch as they enjoy that human interaction, but it has helped to reduce the number of people around the building at one time, which is obviously safer during this pandemic.”

Patients have been taking to social media to comment on the new device with one person on Twitter saying: “Perfect, collected this morning and so easy. Could time with school run, no queue and had baby in arms so managed easily one-handed! So simple!”

The surgery also reports that staff are happy with Brenda. Explains Dr Watts: “When we announced it to our team they were a little anxious – after all none of us are experts in programming robots. But it’s quite intuitive to use and it is now saving us a lot of counter time so our staff are more available to focus on dispensing and other aspects of their workload. The machine works via unique bar codes so is safer as it takes away the risk of human error".

“This is a wonderful innovation and a great example of a surgery which is providing an enhanced level of customer service for their patients, “ said Vicky Stobbart, Integrated Care Partnership Director for Guildford and Waverley.

“It’s so convenient for patients who no longer have to queue or have a wasted journey to check if their medicines are ready, and I’m delighted that it’s freeing up staff time too.”

Model Publication Scheme Class: Not part of the MPS

Stay safe - just call 111 first

Stay safe and avoid waiting in A&E – just call 111 first.


Review Date: 2020-12-02
Review Due: 2021-12-02
Model Publication Scheme Class: Class 9: Services Commissioned

Paralympic Gold Medallist Launches Wheelchair Services

Guildford-born gold medallist Rachel Morris MBE turned out to lend her support to officially launch a new Surrey and North East Hampshire-wide NHS wheelchair service, which has comes into effect this month.

Ms Morris, who has won multiple gold medals at the Paralympic Games in both rowing and cycling, marked the launch of the new service which will support wheelchair users across Surrey, North East Hants and Farnham to continue to live independent lives. She was joined by Surrey Downs ICP Deputy Managing Director Lorna Hart, and Millbrook Healthcare’s CEO Phil Campling.

Following a competitive tender process in 2019, Millbrook Healthcare Group, specialist providers of wheelchair services and mobility equipment across the UK were appointed as the new provider. The appointment was made jointly by three Clinical Commissioning Groups; NHS Surrey Heartlands*, NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham and NHS Surrey Heath CCGs, the NHS organisations in charge of planning and buying wheelchair services for people across Surrey.

Key to this appointment, was a broad range of wheelchair service users and carers from across Surrey and NE Hampshire who were involved in designing the new provision of service to ensure their needs were central at every stage. The new single provider will bring a fully integrated care model and personalised service ensuring that clinical assessments, repairs and maintenance, delivery and collection, specialist seating and ongoing support are all provided through one organisation and single point of access for clients. New, purpose-built facilities are now based in Sheerwater, Woking and Salfords, Redhill.

Ms Morris, a passionate advocate for improving wheelchair services for users across the county and attended one of the engagement events designing the new service, said As an advocate for wheelchair users and working with schools to help give children the skills they need to live more independent lives, I was pleased to be at the launch of the new wheelchair service today. I was excited to hear about the holistic approach Millbrook Healthcare has to wheelchair services, with clinicians trying to maximise the quality of life of wheelchair users through the service and help them to reach their goals.”

Lorna Hart, Deputy MD of Surrey Downs ICP said “I’m delighted that the new service is now up and running, and we can offer local wheelchair users a brand new, bespoke service, designed by service users, for service users. This changeover would not have been possible without a combined and dedicated effort between CCG colleagues, service providers and each and every person who took part in the engagement events which provided invaluable views on what the new service should look like. As commissioners of the new service, we are committed to maintaining a high standard of care, and will continue to work with our Wheelchair Steering Group as the new service progresses”.

Phil Campling, CEO of Millbrook Healthcare, said “It’s an honour to deliver this new, exciting and innovative wheelchair service across Surrey, North East Hants and Farnham, building on the partnership with our colleagues in health and social care and most importantly our service users, their families and carers”.

For more information on the new wheelchair service, visit the Surrey Heartlands CCG website.

Due to social distancing measures, the event was held digitally via online platform Zoom for the majority of participants.


pdf 200721 Paralympian Launches Surrey Wide Wheelchair Services SyHeartCCG (369 KB)

Struggling with aches and pains?

Patients urged to contact physiotherapy service through local GP Practices to tackle aches and pains.

Review Date: 2020-08-12
Review Due: 2021-02-08
Model Publication Scheme Class: Class 9: Services Commissioned

Quit for COVID

Quit for COVID: There’s never been a more important time for smokers to quit!

Smokers in Surrey are being urged to quit to reduce the risks of severe symptoms if they get COVID-19.

NHS Surrey Heartlands CCG is backing the national #QuitforCovid campaign and is joining calls from Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer for smokers to try to quit to protect themselves and others.

Smoking tobacco damages the lungs, weakens the immune system and causes a range of severe respiratory problems. Evidence so far suggests people who smoke may be at increased risk of severe disease if they get COVID-19.

Dr Charlotte Canniff, NHS Surrey Heartlands CCG Clinical Chair says: “Whilst this is a worrying time for all of us, we are all conscious of the need to protect ourselves and others around us. Quitting smoking is a very good way to reduce the chances you’ll develop complications from COVID-19 infection.

“It is never too late to see the health benefits of quitting smoking and you're never too old to quit. Even if you've tried before and didn't manage, don't give up on quitting because you can do it. Many smokers try several times before they succeed. Evidence shows getting the right support and using stop smoking aids to help ease the cravings gives you a much better chance of success.”

Ruth Hutchinson, Interim Director of Public Health at Surrey County Council, added: “Quitting smoking is one of the best things smokers can do to protect their own health, the health of those around them and to minimise the impact of coronavirus. It is vital we all do what we can to stay safe and healthy during this outbreak. The One You Surrey stop smoking service is ready to support our residents with specialist stop smoking support.”

As well as reducing the risks from complications from coronavirus, quitting smoking quickly improves your circulation and your breathing. It also reduces the risks of other health problems such as heart attacks and strokes. In the longer term quitting is also linked to reduced depression, anxiety, and stress and improved positive mood and quality of life compared with continuing to smoke.

The stop smoking service, One You Surrey offers stop smoking telephone support to existing and new patients.

• Call: 01737 652168
• Visit: and click ‘Get started’
• Text: 07494 681070

For more information on giving up smoking visit:

Once smoke free, health benefits include:

• After 8 hours carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by more than half and oxygen levels return to normal.
• After 48 hours carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris 
• After 72 hours breathing becomes easier as bronchial tubes begin to relax
• After 2 to 12 weeks lung function and blood circulation starts to improve, making physical activity like walking and running easier
• After 3 to 9 months any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function increases further.


pdf 200618 Quit For COVID-19 (147 KB)

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