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FAQ - Half Day Closures for GP Surgery Staff Training - Thanet Wide

Why does the practice close, is this really necessary?

The surgery closes for one afternoon on 10 months of the year (please see our home page for the list of dates). This enables the clinical and admin team to attend vital training and updates. This happens across all practices in Thanet (and most of Kent and Medway). Without this protected time to learn, clinical staff would not have the opportunity to attend vital training. As an example, March 2017 training for clinical staff (GPs and senior nursing staff) covered acute and urgent care challenges in Thanet and a review of clinical best practices. Practice nursing and health care assistant staff attended a session on tissue viability and diabetic foot care.

Do all practices do this?

Yes, all Thanet practices close on the same day. The clinical teams meet at a central location to receive training by specialist speakers such hospital consultants and clinical leads.

What do staff learn about?

Throughout the year the topics cover many key clinical subjects relevant to the health care needs of Thanet. These include cancer, dementia, mental health, respiratory disease, dermatology, musculoskeletal conditions end of life care, cardiology etc. Nursing staff sometimes join the GPs or have their own specialist training on subjects such as long term conditions management, wound care, infection control and vaccinations and immunisations updates. Office and reception staff sometimes attend centrally run training courses too, or they remain in the practice and have training with the practice manager and their departmental team leaders or with specialist trainers the surgery brings in.

Can the training be carried out during surgery time?

Training is organised centrally so that it includes all surgeries across Thanet at the same time. Surgeries ensure that when planning routine appointments the half day protected training is taken into consideration. The disruption to patient visits is minimal. Closing the surgery ensures that all staff can attend these sessions.

What GP cover is in place for these days, what if I need a doctor?

GP cover for any matters that cannot wait until the next day when the surgery is open is provided by the 111. Out of hours doctors from outside the area are on call via the 111 service. Any life threatening incidents should be dealt with through 999, as patients would normally. Patients are reminded that the GP surgery is not an emergency service.

Is this new?

No, the half day closures have been happening for many years, at least since 1999/2000.


2016 PPG Raffle

The BMC PPG (Birchington Medical Centre Patient Participation Group) would like to thank all patients who supported us by buying raffle tickets and making donations over October and November 2016 and the local businesses who provided us with generous prizes: The Smugglers' Restaurant, Strawberry Fields, Hair Studio, Co-op and Best-One.

Together we raised £899.87 and the money has been used to buy a new children's toy for the surgery reception area. We hope it will be enjoyed by many children visiting the surgery over the coming years!

In addition, £316.32 will be donated to Pilgrims' Hospice.



All prizes have now been claimed for. The prizes and winning numbers were :


1st prize - winning ticket# 978 (AB 423028)  - Hamper containing £20 worth of food donated by the Co-op, a bottle of bubbly donated by a PPG member, a bottle of wine donate by Best-One and a £25 Co-op voucher donated by PPG members.

2nd prize - winning ticket # 187 (AB 334902) - Three course Lunch for two people at the Smugglers' Restaurant

3rd prize - winning ticket# 100 (AB 325122) - £15 voucher donated by Strawberry Fields

4th prize - winning ticket# 131 (AB 415118) - Voucher for a blow dry or Shampoo and set donated by Hair Studio


The original tickets are displayed on the BMC PPG board in the main reception area.


If you would like to get involved with the BMC PPG please email us:


New Friends and Family Test

There is a new way of giving feedback for the surgery, anonymously, with the Friends and Family Test. You will be asked to give your response following an appointment with the doctor.

If you are happy with the services you receive from Birchington Medical Centre or would like to comment on the changes taking place, then please visit the NHS Choices website at leave a review and tell everyone else. If you are unhappy, then please tell us; we can often put things right or explain what happened.

CQC Inspection

We were subject to a CQC inspection on 20th January 2015. We have received the report from this inspection with a 'good' rating. The full report is available from the bottom of our home page.

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