What an exceptional year 2017 has been. I can’t deny we’ve had our ups and downs and some very frustrating moments, however, one thing that has truly shone through this year is what a fantastic team we have.

From our admin staff, receptionists and operational managers to our clinicians and board members - everyone has shown remarkable commitment and dedication to delivering excellent services to patients in west Essex.

And that always has - and always will be - our priority!

We have really augmented the delivery of the Evening and Weekend GP service over recent months. It has become a slick and well-oiled operation, which is clearly very much valued by practices and patients across the area. This is evident in our continued exceptional satisfaction scores and friends and family test.

With the service now fully-embedded into our general practice system, we have been asked to show case our work at a number of events including NHSE Champions events. I have also agreed to be a mentor to help other new schemes launch and learn from our service.

A recent audit by NHSE has given us a glowing references with specific mention on the relationship between Stellar and GP practices; positioning us as a benchmark for other schemes to follow. We will share the published report with you once we have received it but really appreciate the input provided by all of you who were asked to contribute. It really makes me proud to see what progress we have made from where we started and how valuable our service is.

We will be supporting the system over the winter and Christmas period and have 3,200 additional appointments available across west Essex during this time

In other areas, our CRS service continues to develop and deliver services to west Essex patients. We have also recently launched the Rheumatology and Pain Triage Service and we look forward to receiving your feedback on it, with the aim to substantiate the need for an ongoing persistent pain community service.  Our DVT service  is also doing really well and showing reduced admissions in hospital too.

Our training and education programme is incredibly popular and we hope the online booking system is useful and helpful - please keep supporting our sessions as we want to ensure we meet your training needs as thoroughly as possible.

Finally,  our apprenticeship ended successfully and we will have a new one starting soon

So, in a nutshell, while some decisions have brought great disappointment, I have faith that we will continue to push forward and focus on the positive feedback we get from patients and our practices.

So I say it again - what an exceptional year!