Spring 2004

MONDAY 17 MAY 2004

Patient Services

Saturday Morning

From April 2004 Saturday morning cover will be provided by the North Edinburgh Emergency Doctors Service (NEEDS). If you have a medical emergency on a Saturday morning and you need to see a Doctor urgently please telephone 537 2700.

The Health Centre will not be open for collection of repeat prescriptions etc. Please ask at reception for details of alternative collection methods.

Service Information

Dementia Café

Edinburgh’s first Dementia Café opened within the Youth Café at 6 Victoria Terrace on Thursday 29th January. It is a monthly event where people with dementia can meet in a comfortable environment to get mutual support, information on the illness and socialise with others. Carers and professionals are also welcome. The Dementia Café is open from 1pm-3pm on the last Thursday of every month. It will provide invited speakers to discuss topics such as nutrition, welfare rights and tips to support memory functioning. For further information call: Katrina Balmer, Dementia Co-Ordinator 668 2688

The MacMillan Crossroads

The MacMillan Crossroads project which offered invaluabale support to the carers and families of terminally ill patients has closed, sadly reducing the service available to this patient group.

Staff Roles:

GP Retainer

I (Morag Reid) joined the practice in November 2003 as GP Retainer having previously completed my GP training year with the practice. The ‘Retainer’ scheme runs throughout the UK and is essentially a flexible careers scheme – almost always for young women with babies/pre-school children although not exclusively for this group. Retainers are fully qualified GPs who wish to continue with their clinical careers but without the added responsibilities of GP ‘Partners’, i.e. administrative/management/business aspects of running a practice. Practices are given some reimbursement by local deaneries to offset the costs of employing Retainers.
The scheme allows me to work up to ‘4 sessions’ per week, equivalent of 2 days, incorporating surgery time, admin, home visits and telephone enquiries – generally ‘bread and butter’ general practice. Naturally this also involves working with the wider practice team e.g. health visitors, practice nurses etc. In addition to my clinical work as a GP the Retainer scheme allows me to work up to one day per week outwith general practice, so in the past few months I have been doing some medical student teaching for the University.
It has been great to come back to the practice and being a Retainer for a few years will hopefully make transition to working mother/part-time GP easier –for now I leave at the end of March to have my first baby and will be back in October.

from the Green Team


Staff News

Congratulations: I am sure you will all be delighted to hear that our receptionist Lee-Anne gave birth to a baby girl Cara. Both mum and baby are doing well.
Nikki Gilmour is the latest recruit to our team, Nikki will have reception and computer responsibilities – welcome Nikki. We bade a fond farewell to Jane Savage – Treatment Room Nurse on 2nd floor when the Trust withdrew this service recently. The practice is actively recruiting to find a replacement to accommodate patients previously seen by the Treatment Room Nurse. Until then the Practice Nurses are carrying the extra workload and we apologise to patients for any delays currently being experienced with the appointment waiting times.

Clinical Issues

Screening for Prostate Cancer – PSA Test

Our male patients often ask us about the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test, which is described in mens’ magazines and elsewhere as a test for prostate cancer.


The test is a blood test which increases when prostate cancer is present.
There is no exact ‘normal’ level, which means that the test can be normal even when cancer is present, and it can show a raised reading when there is no cancer.
The result is often influenced by other factors , e.g. it will fall if a man has recently ejaculated.
Prostate cancer is on the increase, but it is more common in older men, and men are now living longer.
A more common disorder is benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) which is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. BPH can cause a rise in the PSA test.
No-one is certain whether any treatment is helpful for men with early prostate cancer, and all treatments have potentially unpleasant side-effects.

So if you are worried about prostate cancer what should you do?

Firstly, please do NOT simply ask our nurses for a PSA blood test.

Because diagnosing prostate cancer is not simple, and because our nurses are not trained in this field, you should see a doctor.

If you think you are in a risk group (particularly if you are over 50, with a family history of prostate cancer, and with some symptoms such as difficulty passing urine) the doctor will want to know more about your concern and may wish to examine your prostate gland. This involves a rectal examination.

After hearing your story and probably examining you, if the doctor is concerned he/she may suggest doing the PSA test, but only as part of trying to find out whether you have a normal prostate gland. Even after this has been done it may still be unclear whether there is a problem, and a specialist referral for further tests may be needed. In many cases there is still doubt as to whether any treatment is helpful for patients with cancer of the prostate.

Thiomersal Containing Vaccines

Two global committees on vaccine safety established by the World Health Organisation confirm that “there is no evidence of any significant health risk associated with the amount of thiomersal contained in vaccines”.

For further information consult websites: