Patient Update

Appointment Reminders update 27/10/23

We have been able to update our appointment reminder system and this should now be working.  We apologise for any inconvenience that has been caused. 

Shingles Vaccinations

The Shingles Vaccination Programme has changed this year and the programme is split by age:

Patients who turn 65 on or after 1 September 2023

From 1 September 2023, you're eligible for the shingles vaccine when you turn 65.

You'll be offered 2 doses of the vaccine. These are given between 6 and 12 months apart.

Your GP should contact you to make an appointment to have your shingles vaccine. Contact your GP surgery if you think you're eligible for the shingles vaccine and you've not been contacted about it.

You'll remain eligible until your 80th birthday.


If you turned 65 before 1 September 2023, you'll be eligible for the shingles vaccine when you turn 70.

Patients aged 70 to 79

Everyone aged 70 to 79 is eligible for the shingles vaccine.

Depending on the type of vaccine you have, you'll have either 1 dose or 2 doses (given between 6 and 12 months apart).

Contact your GP surgery if you missed your vaccine. You're eligible up until your 80th birthday.


Patients aged 50 and over with a severely weakened immune system

You're eligible for the shingles vaccine if you're aged 50 or over and you're at higher risk from shingles because you have a severely weakened immune system.

This includes:

  • some people with blood cancer (such as leukaemia or lymphoma)
  • some people with HIV or AIDS
  • some people who've recently had a stem cell transplant, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or an organ transplant
  • people taking certain medicines that severely weaken the immune system

You'll be given 2 doses of the shingles vaccine. These are given between 8 weeks and 6 months apart.

Ask your GP or care team if you're not sure if you're eligible for the shingles vaccine.


There is no scope for the practice to vary these rules and full details are at:

Shingles vaccine - NHS (


Flu Vaccines

Flu appointments are now available to book online or by telephoning the surgery.  Those entitled to the flu vaccine are:

  • chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • chronic kidney disease at stage three, four or five
  • chronic liver disease
  • chronic neurological disease, e.g. Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
  • learning disability
  • diabetes
  • splenic dysfunction or asplenia
  • weakened immune system due to disease (HIV/AIDS) or treatment (cancer treatment)
  • morbidly obese (BMI of 40 and above)
  • all pregnant women (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season)
  • household contacts of those on the NHS Shielded Patient List, or of immunocompromised individuals, specifically individuals who expect to share living accommodation with a shielded patient on most days over the winter and therefore for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable
  • anyone aged 65 years or over (including those becoming age 65 years by 31 March 2024)
  • People living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality. This does not include, for instance, prisons, young offender institutions, university halls of residence, or boarding schools 
  • people who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill
  • health and social care staff, employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza.
  • Health and care staff, employed by a voluntary managed hospice provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza.

Health and social care workers employed through Direct Payments (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants, to deliver domiciliary care to patients and service users

Changes at Beacon Surgery

Dr Nicola Betts

We regret to announce that Dr Betts will be leaving us at the end of September in order to pursue a new challenge nearer to home.  Dr Betts has been with Beacon since 2015 and we will be very sorry to see her leave.  We wish her every success for the future.

Dr Jane Roome

Dr Roome, who joined the practice in 2019, is also leaving at the end of September to pursue a training and educational role in Kent. We wish her all the best for the future.


It is always sad when staff leave and we would like to thank them for all they have done for the practice and our patients over the many years they have been at Beacon Surgery.


Dr Alice Quintana

Dr Quintana who joined earlier this year will become much more involved in the practice and will become a partner on 1st October and will increase her number of clinical sessions at the practice. Dr Quintana will also take over Dr Betts list of patients.


We are planning to have other new clinical staff joining us later this year to increase appointment availability and will publish more details in due course.


Physiotherapy Self Referral

Patients can now self refer for Physiotherapy see the link on our On Line Forms page or follow below:


Examinations and sickness certificates for schoolchildren

It should be noted that GPs are not required to provide sick notes for schoolchildren. When children are absent from school owing to illness, schools may request a letter from a parent or guardian, and this is no different during an exam period. However, children who have missed exams due to illness are frequently told by schools that a note from a doctor is required; but there is no requirement for this to be provided by a GP.

Aside from the fact that parents/guardians are responsible for excusing their children from school, GPs cannot provide retrospective sickness certification. When a child suffers from a long-term condition, any certification will be provided by the responsible specialist.

The GPC has sought and received confirmation from the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator that Awarding Organisations make no requirement for pupils to obtain a medical certificate in support of their application for special consideration. Students are asked for information in support of their application, but this may take the form of a statement by the school.

The Joint Council for Qualifications has confirmed that as far as they are concerned, if a student was absent from an examination as a result of illness and has the support of the school or centre to be absent, special consideration will be granted on that basis. Awarding organisations do not insist that medical proof is provided.

Please see the link below for copies of the appropriate letters which can be given to the school.


Secondary Care Contacts

For all queries regarding outpatient appointments, results, follow up and appointment delays at hospitals please contact the appropriate hospital direct.


If you are unable to contact the relevant department each hospital has a Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) specifically to assist patients and their relatives.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospital Trust (MTW)

Patients and relatives are welcome to contact us by telephone on: 01892 632953 or 01622 224960.  If there is no-one available to answer your call, please leave a message on our voicemail facility and we will contact you as soon as possible.  Alternatively you can email us on


East Sussex Hospital Trust (ESHT)

Patient advice and liaison service (PALS)
Eastbourne DGH
Level 2 main entrance (turn immediate left on entry, the office is first on the left)

0300 131 4784 or 0300 131 5309

Open to in-person visits:
9am to 3pm – Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays)


University Hospital; Brighton (BSUH)


Royal Sussex County Hospital, Sussex Eye Hospital and Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital

01273 664511

01273 664973

Monday to Friday 10:00am to 3:00 pm


Princess Royal Hospital

You can call us or ask at the main reception for directions to the office.

01444 448678

Monday to Friday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm