July 2018 Surgery News from the Patients’ Participation Group

The Village Surgery Newsletter

A lot has happened in Southwater since the last Patient Participation Group (PPG) Newsletter in April 2015. You may have noticed the village is growing! New housing, new roads, more residents all add to the excitement of living in this vibrant area of West Sussex. The number of patients registered with the practice has increased by about 10% in the last couple of years with families moving into the area to live and work. Our Practice Team was inspected back in August 2016 by the Care Quality Commission and was assessed as GOOD in all respects. It is reassuring to know that our Practice is rated as providing Safe, Effective Services, is seen as Caring and Responsive to people’s needs as well as being Well Led. The Practice is in a great position to look after its growing population.

Making Appointments.
Every month GP surgeries all over the country find that Patients miss appointments. Southwater is no different. The Practice Team tries hard to be available for patients. A young child becomes unwell suddenly and needs to be seen urgently but may recover just as quickly, whereas an adult with long term health problems may want to book an appointment in the future for a review. Both appointments can be forgotten. There are more acute illnesses in the winter months than summer. Trying to keep everyone happy can be challenging so the Practice Team offers a flexible approach with more urgent appointments available at times of high demand. If you book an appointment and then find that you don’t need to see the Doctor after all try and remember to cancel the appointment, allowing someone else to have that appointment. You can book or cancel an appointment online, by phone or face to face in the surgery.  Let the Practice Team know if you have problems booking an appointment.

Practice Team training future GPs
The Practice is involved in training young Doctors who want to become future GPs and later in 2018 we will be welcoming two new GP trainees. More details will be available in due course.

Registered Carer
If you are unfortunate enough to have a long term health problem and need help from a carer, the Practice is keen to know about it. Knowing who your carer is will help the Practice manage your care needs if you suddenly fall ill. Let the Practice team know if you have a carer even if they are not registered with this Practice. It might help keep you out of hospital.

Well Patient Checks
If you're aged 40-74 and you haven't had a stroke, or you don't already have heart disease, hypertension, diabetes or kidney disease, you should have an NHS Health Check every five years. We all like to think we will keep fit and well as we get older but serious disease can begin slowly without any symptoms and we just learn to live with it thinking “I’m just getting older. What can I expect?”

The latest research suggests that:
    •    for every 27 people having an NHS Health Check, one person is diagnosed with high blood pressure
    •    for every 110 people having a Health Check, one person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
    •    for every 265 people having a Health Check, one person is diagnosed with kidney disease

Meningitis vaccination before University
If you are off to University in October and haven’t had a vaccination for Meningitis this is important. Teenagers and "fresher" students going to university for the first time should have a vaccination to prevent meningitis and septicaemia, which can be deadly. Older teenagers and new university students are at higher risk of infection because many of them mix closely with lots of new people, some of whom may unknowingly carry the meningococcal bacteria at the back of their noses and throats.The MenACWY vaccine is given by a single injection into the upper arm and protects against four different strains of the meningococcal bacteria that cause meningitis and blood poisoning. Ask your Practice Team for advice.

Flu vaccination
Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications. Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own within a week.
However, flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:
    •    anyone aged 65 and over
    •    pregnant women
    •    children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease)
    •    children and adults with weakened immune systems
Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious  complications such as pneumonia, so it's recommended that you have a flu vaccine every year to protect you.
The injected flu vaccine is free on the NHS annually to
    •    adults over the age of 18 at risk of flu (including everyone aged 65 and over)
    •    pregnant women
    •    children aged 6 months to 2 years at risk of flu

Your Practice Team starts the annual flu jab service in September so ask the receptionist for details.

Keeping Well at home
Be prepared for common ailments by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home.
This list, recommended by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, will help you deal with most minor ailments.
    Pain relief
Painkillers like  aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen are helpful at relieving aches and pains, such as headaches and period pain. They also help reduce high temperatures
Bear in mind:
    •    aspirin mustn't be given to children under 16
    •    ibuprofen must be taken with caution if you have certain conditions, such as asthma – check with your pharmacist if in doubt 
    •    pregnant women shouldn't take ibuprofen
These are useful for dealing with hay fever, allergies, itching and insect bites. Some antihistamines may cause drowsiness but modern ones don’t and are quite cheap to buy.    
    Oral rehydration salts
Fever, diarrhoea and vomiting make us lose water and essential minerals, and can lead to dehydration.
Oral rehydration salts, available at pharmacies, are an easy way to help restore your body's natural balance of minerals and fluid, and help your recovery.
    Anti-diarrhoea tablets
Diarrhoea is caused by a range of things, such as food poisoning or a stomach virus, and can happen without warning. It's a good idea to keep an anti-diarrhoea medicine at home. Anti-diarrhoea remedies can quickly control the symptoms of diarrhoea, although they don't deal with the underlying cause. The most common antidiarrhoeal is loperamide, sold under the names Imodium, Arret and Diasorb, among others. It works by slowing down the action of your gut. Don't give anti-diarrhoea medicines to children under 12 as they may have undesirable side effects. Speak to your Pharmacist for advice about a child with these symptoms.
    Indigestion treatment
If you have stomach ache or heartburn a simple antacid will reduce stomach acidity and bring relief. Antacids come as chewable tablets, tablets that dissolve in water, or in liquid form.
Keep a sun lotion of at least factor 15. Even fairly brief exposure to the sun can cause sunburn and increase your risk of skin cancer. Too much sun makes your skin age prematurely and brings on wrinkles.  Ensure your sunscreen provides UVA and UVB protection. A stylish sun hat can help keep you keep cool and look cool. Sun glasses reduce glare and the chance of getting cataracts later in life.
    Your first aid kit
A well-prepared first aid kit can help treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises, and reduce the risk of cuts becoming infected.
It should contain the following items:
    •    bandages – these can support injured limbs, such as a sprained wrist, and also apply direct pressure to larger cuts before being treated in hospital
    •    plasters – a range of sizes, waterproof if possible
    •    thermometer – digital thermometers that you put in your mouth produce very accurate readings; an under-arm thermometer or an ear thermometer are good ways to read a baby or young child's temperature
    •    antiseptic – this can be used to clean cuts before they're bandaged, and most can treat a range of conditions, including insect stings, ulcers and pimples; alcohol-free antiseptic wipes are useful to clean cuts
    •    eyewash solution – this will help wash out grit or dirt in the eyes
    •    sterile dressings – larger injuries should be covered with a sterile dressing to prevent infection until treatment can be given by a health professional
    •    medical tape – this is used to stick dressings on the skin and can also be used to tape an injured finger to an uninjured one, creating a makeshift splint
    •    tweezers – for taking out splinters; if splinters are left in, they can cause discomfort and become infected.
If you want to protect yourself and your family ask your pharmacist for help in assembling a family medicine chest.

Think about supporting your Practice Team by contributing to the Practice Participation Group! We need opinions from all our patients, young old and anywhere in-between. If you have a problem you can contact us through the Practice Receptionist and we may be able to help.