Category Archives: News

Patient Notice: Dr Alastair McGhee Retirement

We are writing to make our valued patients aware the Dr Alastair McGhee has chosen to retire at the end of June.   

Dr McGhee has worked for over 30 years as a GP and a Partner at the Surgery and his passion and commitment to the practice will be hugely missed by patients and colleagues alike.  He has made an immense contribution to the development of Peartree Surgery, been heavily involved in training new GPs and his compassion and expertise has enhanced the lives of many patients and their families.

We wish Dr McGhee all the best for his future.  His last day at Peartree Group Practice will be 20th June 2019. 

Dr McGhee’s patients are reassured that they will be reallocated a named GP and the high quality of their care will continue.

How to manage your Hay Fever

Hay fever is caused by an allergy to pollen. The symptoms of hay fever are caused when a person has an allergic reaction to pollen. Common hay fever symptoms are:
  • a runny, itchy and/or blocked nose
  • sneezing
  • itchy eyes

Pollen is a fine powder released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle. Pollen contains proteins that can cause the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses to become swollen, irritated and inflamed.

How to treat hay fever

Many hay fever symptoms can be controlled with over-the-counter medication at your local pharmacy.

  • Steroid nasal sprays help to prevent or reduce inflammation in the lining of the nose and some can help to relieve watery eyes.
    Available from your local pharmacy.
  • Antihistamines help to relieve a runny nose, sneezing, itching and watery eyes. Some types of antihistamines make you drowsy and are best taken before bed. Newer antihistamines are less likely to make you drowsy and are a common choice for children and people with milder or occasional symptoms of hay fever.
    Available from your local pharmacy.
  • Decongestant nasal sprays and tablets are used to unblock the nose. They should never be taken for more than a few days at a time.
    Available from your local pharmacy.
  • Eye drops can be used to treat itchy or watery eyes.
    Available from your local pharmacy.

If none of the above treatments are effective for you, please book an appointment to discuss other treatments.

Useful Links

  • NHS – Hay fever
  • NHS – Find your local Pharmacy
  • Met Office – Pollen forecast

EpiPen shortage ‘likely for rest of the year’

New advice is being issued over the EpiPen availability as supplies of adult and junior EpiPens are likely to be limited for the rest of the year.

  • Certain batches of adult EpiPen (300mcg) can be safely used for four months after the expiry date has passed, says East and North Hertfordshire CCG.
  • Patients should not dispose of their expired devices until they have replaced them. If no new devices can be obtained parents / patients should be advised to use expired devices in an emergency as this is safer than not using them as this is not dangerous but the potency of the adrenaline may have reduced.
  • Training will be required if receiving different device.
  • Junior adrenaline auto-injectors (150mcg) in all 3 brands – Epipen, Jext and Emerade – should be reserved for children weighing under 25 kg during this shortage period. Children weighing more than 25 kg should be given adult auto-injectors (300 mcg).
  • Each patient should have a maximum two AAI devices available at all times
  • To manage the existing supply of EpiPen Junior® and other replacement products over this short-term period it has been necessary to put in place national contingency arrangements to ensure that patients with the greatest short-term need have priority access to the 150mcg adrenaline auto-injectors as they become available.
  • See a patient/parent letter about the EpiPen Junior shortage and relevant advice here.

In the onset of symptoms of anaphylaxis, patients should:

  •  Immediately use an adrenaline auto-injector device.
  •  Immediately call an ambulance or send someone to do this. Say this is an emergency case of anaphylaxis*

*Please note- ambulances carry adrenaline 1mg/1ml (1 in 1,000) ampoules, which are not affected by the shortage

If no new devices can be obtained parents / patients can use expired devices in an emergency as this is safer than not using them, as they are not dangerous but the potency of the adrenaline may have reduced.

However, patients are advised that using an in-date device, even if not of the usual brand, is preferable to using an expired device.

Extended GP access during evenings and weekends

GP and nurse appointments are now available in your area during the evenings and at the weekend, as part of an ‘extended access’ service for patients registered at practices in Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield and the surrounding areas.

You will be able to book appointments to see a GP, Nurse or other health professional in the evenings between 6.30-8pm and at weekends from 9am-1pm.

Appointments can be booked either in advance or on the day and will be held in different locations across the area.

For more information on the extended access service or to book an appointment please contact your practice, or if you’re seeking an appointment on the day at the weekend, please call: 01707 328919.

Waiting Room survey results

On 18th June the Practice, with the assistance of members of the Patient Participation Group, started a Waiting Room survey.

This is a simple questionnaire comprising 8 questions with tick-box answers and the responses will enable us to understand our patients’ views on the telephone call-back/triage process we have instituted.

This enables a GP, Nurse or Pharmacist to call the patient back, and, depending on the problem, either an appointment is offered or advice can be given over the ‘phone thus preventing the need for an appointment.

As of 12th July 138 questionnaires had been completed by patients in the waiting rooms at Peartree Lane and Moor’s Walk surgeries. We are very grateful to those patients who have taken the time to respond. This feed-back from our patients will enable us to see if the call-back/triage process is working and the level of patient satisfaction with it. It also identifies areas of possible improvement.

The first 138 responses have been analysed and the results graphics can be seen here.

We will be continuing the survey for another couple of months and will update the web-site so please keep checking back to see how we’re progressing.

We can only improve things if we understand what our patients think. We welcome your input.

Extra evening and weekend routine GP and nurse appointments

Peartree is joining other practices in Welwyn and Hatfield by providing extra evening and weekend routine GP and nurse appointments. This service is being offered as a collective arrangement across the locality to provide additional access to out of hours appointments.

To find out more please visit the following website:

Ephedra Healthcare Ltd –

Peartree operates a telephone triage system for all new appointments and so please mention to the duty doctor if an evening or weekend appointment is more suitable for you.

Extra appointments will be provided between 6.30-8.00pm Mondays to Fridays and from 8-4pm on Saturdays and from 8-12pm on Sundays. This service will be located at Spring House Medical Centre, Ascots Lane AL7 4HL. It is likely that you will not see a GP or nurse from this practice at one of these appointments but the clinician will have full access to your Peartree Group Practice medical records.

Staff News

Our Nurse Practitioner, Eimear Daniel, left us as of the end of October. Eimear had been with the practice for many years, and we wish her very well as she begins her retirement!