Newsletter April 2024


Staff at the Surgery

As you will no doubt have noticed, there have been a number of changes to staff at the surgery. Dr Jens Richter left the surgery in May 2023, along with Reg Thomkins, the Practice Manager.

We now have 5 partners: Dr Sarah Smith, Dr Helen O’Sullivan,  Dr Joanna Dunajska, Dr Sarah Allum and Dr Rebecca Farndale.

We also have 3 salaried GP’s: Dr Anna Tucker, Dr Caroline Rodgers and Dr Emily Gomersall. Dr Emily Gomersall is currently on maternity leave, and we have welcomed Dr Abu Belal who will provide maternity cover. 

We are lucky to also be a training practice, and currently have 2 registrars with us too, Dr Adrian Hucks, and Dr Lorraine Peck.

We also have a new Practice Manager , Katrina Skarsten who joined in July 2023.


Pressure In Primary Care

I am sure that you, as patients, are very aware of the pressures that primary care now find themselves in, due to the underfunding of the NHS. Orchard Surgery is no exception in this and we find ourselves under considerably more pressure than ever before. For more details on this, please read our news article



We are extremely thankful for your patience with regard to our Dispensary opening times. We have been very short staffed for some time, but we are extremely happy to inform you, that we are now fully staffed and are therefore able to open the dispensary for longer again.

Our opening hours are:
Monday to Friday: 9:00am to 12:45pm  and  3:00pm to 5:45pm

You can contact the Dispensary on the phone between 9:00am to 10:00am and 3:00pm to 4:00pm 


Blood Tests

We have recently had to make the difficult decision to no longer accept blood test requests made by consultants or private practices. This has been as a result in cuts in funding. For blood tests not requested by our own GP’s, please go to the park and ride  at New Market Road Cambridge or you can have your test done at the Hospital. If you already have the blood form, we can do bloods through our extended hours service on a Tuesday evening.


Patient Participation Group

We are very keen at Orchard Surgery to keep in touch with our patients, to find out where we can make improvements to our services, and how we can support our patients better.

In order to facilitate this, the Practice Manager is setting up a Patient Participation Group (PPG), the first meeting will take place on the 16th April at the Melbourn Hub.

The PPG is set up to hear your views in general, it will not be used as a forum to discuss individual needs, but more to look at how we can support and improve Melbourn and the surrounding areas with our services.

If you are interested in joining the PPG, please contact the surgery using our secure online form


Telephone System

We are acutely aware of the difficulty in getting through on the telephone, particularly at 8:30am in the morning. 

As a result, we are currently investigating an upgrade to our system, but please bear with us, as this may take some time to source and implement.

In the meantime, if your call is not urgent, please try to ring later in the morning. Similarly, if your call is about medication, please try to ring later in the morning or afternoon. Please be aware though, we do not take requests for medication over the phone.

Whilst we do understand your frustration, please remain courteous to our receptionists, they are here to help and are doing their very best to accommodate your requests.


Melbourn Hub

We are very pleased to be able to work together with the Melbourn Hub, and are looking at increasing our outreach services there. At present, we are able to provide Smears, Asthma checks and some bloods at the Hub, along with Physiotherapy. We will always make it clear if your appointment is at the Hub, and keep an eye out for further development in our offerings there.

Published: Apr 4, 2024