The Wapping Group practice moved to Wapping into purpose-built premises in 1985 from a converted council flat in Stepney. For many years it had been a single-handed practice but continued to expand steadily. To date we have 8,900 patients. We have 6 partners and a salaried GP and a GP registrar (ST3 doctor). For an introduction to the practice team please go the the ‘Who we are’ page.
Wapping is an interesting place with a lot of historic buildings. The name ‘Wapping’ is Old English for the mud flats which extend south from Shadwell to the north bank of the Thames immediately downstream from the Tower of London. It is bounded on three sides by water and on the fourth by a major road from the City of London (The Highway). Before the closure of the docks, Wapping was like an island since it could only be reached via bridges which went up to let boats in and out. It retains to this day something of the atmosphere of an enclave. However, enormous social and physical changes have taken place since the demise of the docking industry and the redevelopment of the area in the 1980s such that the docking community has largely been replaced with a very cosmopolitan mix of nationalities and social classes.
Our Practice area now only goes as far as the South end of the Highway so that most of the practice population lives within walking distance of the Health Centre but some patients who have been registered for a long time with the practice live in Stepney and Shadwell.
The oldest and longest standing residents are mostly indigenous white East Enders. After the closure of the docks these people often the sought employment as messengers in the City or as cab drivers. Now, as elderly people, they often live alone in council housing, their children having moved away, typically to Essex or Kent because of the shortage of council housing.
The proportion of elderly people on our list is small relative to the number of children and young people. There is a high birth rate amongst our practice population, particularly amongst the Bengali patients, (roughly 15 percent of the list). Young professional couples also settle in Wapping for a year or two, have their first baby and then often move further afield.
The Bangladeshi patients all come originally from the remote province of Syhlet in rural North East Bangladesh. The first generation have large families of eight or more children whilst the next generation, born and bred in the East End, usually have smaller families. There is frequently serious overcrowding due to the continuing shortage of council housing. The men work in clothes factories or restaurants while the first generation women often remain socially isolated at home, especially if they do not speak English. This leads to a high level of psychosomatic illness on top of a high rate of diabetes and other serious conditions in that population.
In addition to the young professionals who come from all over the world to work in the City of London for a year or two, we are registering increasing numbers of wealthy older people who are retiring to luxury converted warehouses with a river view. The variety in social class, culture and expectations of our patients is tremendous, presenting us with continuous challenges and stimulation in our work. The practice population is extremely mobile ( a turnover of up to 40% of the population per year) which creates a high work-load for all and presents challenges in attaining targets in line with the GP contract. However we attained nearly 100% in 2008-9 in the Quality and Outcomes framework.
We hold routine booked appointment surgeries everyday and operate a doctor-run telephone consultation system to triage patients who request same-day appointments.
We achieve 48 hour access.
The surgery is open from 9-6.30 pm Monday Tuesday and Friday and from 9am-7.30pm on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday.
- Child Health
- Antenatal: The majority of uncomplicated pregnancies are booked by the GPs and midwife enabling women to have their antenatal care entirely at the surgery. Women have the option to have a home delivery.
- Minor surgery: weekly and cryosurgery monthly (Dr Thaya).
- Diabetes specialist nurse
- Warfarin Clinic (Dr Thaya)
- Chronic diseases (Hypertension, Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma and thyroid) are monitored on a call-and- recall basis.
- Doctors have wide range of clinical expertise which enables us to offer other services such as coil insertion, implanon insertion, joint & soft tissue injections and psychosexual counselling.
We have been a training practice since 1997 for ST3 doctors. We have hosted placements for medical students from Barts and Queen Mary Medical School for many years. From 2009 we will be expanding our medical student training by becoming a hub medical student training practice.
We have high achievements in the Quality and Outcomes Framework and continue to take on new enhanced services. This year we have further extended our range of clinical services to sexual health, gold standards palliative care, the Diabetes Year of Care, and Warfarin monitoring.
We use the EMIS system. We are virtually paperless. All letters are scanned into the computer record, and all current clinical information is documented in the computer record via laboratory links.
Out of Hours
The practice opted out of Out Of Hours Care in April 2004. However, as training practice the Clinical Supervisor (GP trainer) does monthly Out of Hours session with the ST3 doctor.
We are keen to involve our patients to help us to provide a high standard of care. We produce a Practice Newsletter about 3 times a year and also run a Patient Participation Group every 3 months.
The Practice runs several patient education groups from time to time on subjects such as Diabetes education and Giving up Smoking.
Research and publications
The Practice participates regularly in local research projects. 2008 saw the publication of Dr Leigh’s book ‘Couldn’t afford the eels’, Memories of Wapping 1900-1960. It is based on interviews with people who had lived up in Wapping during that period.