We will be closed on Friday 7th April and Monday 10th April for the Bank Holidays. Please make sure you have enough repeat medication to cover the long weekend.
If during this time you require medical advice or treatment you can:
Visit your pharmacy. Your local pharmacy can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints. Opening times for local Pharmacies can be downloaded or you can visit NHS Choices.
Access NHS 111. To access the service online simply visit https://111.nhs.uk/ and enter your age, sex, postcode and main symptom, and then you will be guided through a series of questions about your health problems.
To access the service via phone, simply dial 111 from any mobile or landline free of charge and you will be put through to an operator who will run through a few questions regarding your health problem in order to get you the right care.
A&E or 999. For a genuine medical emergency including; loss of consciousness, acute confused state and fits that are not stopping, persistent and or/severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding that cannot be stopped call 999 or go to your nearest A&E.
Obesity is a term that refers to being significantly overweight and carries certain health risks. Most of us are aware of these risks, which include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases such as angina, heart attacks and strokes, and mobility and joint problems such as osteoarthritis, and several cancers. Fewer of us are aware of the damage that fat does to the liver. Central adiposity, indicated by a large waistline, is associated with fat deposition on internal organs, and particularly damages the liver and pancreas. This causes type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD) or ‘fatty liver’. The latter only refers to people who drink either insignificant amounts of alcohol (within safe limits) or not at all and is different from when liver disease is caused by alcohol. A fatty liver can progress to inflammation and damage, and repeated attempts to heal, leading to liver cirrhosis, and sometimes liver failure and liver cancer. These changes usually occur silently, and so sadly are often diagnosed at a late stage when they may be untreatable. Unfortunately, because obesity and type 2 diabetes are so common these days, NAFLD is common and is estimated to affect 25% of the general population. A fifth of these people may develop liver inflammation, some of whom will develop liver cirrhosis, and a smaller number liver cancer. There are no drugs licensed for treating NAFLD and the treatment remains weight loss and physical activity. Information on weight loss is available at https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/lose-weight/ where you can download the free NHS Weight Loss Plan app and learn about referral to the NHS Digital Weight Management Programme. You can also make an appointment with one of our Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) for advice about weight loss if you do not have internet access.
We are pleased to report on a new physiotherapy service which is being offered to East Staffordshire patients – First Contact Physiotherapy. The service has been running for several months and aims to provide an assessment service for uncomplicated musculoskeletal problems, i.e., joint, muscle and tendon problems. These physiotherapists are specially trained to assess and diagnose musculoskeletal problems and advise on the right sort of treatment for the problem. You may well be offered an appointment with a First Contact Physiotherapist if you ring for an appointment and have a suitable problem. Importantly, this does not replace the current physiotherapy service to which patients can be referred after being assessed by a GP but is an alternative to a GP appointment.
Best wishes from the team at Barton.
Most of us are aware of the health benefits of physical exercise, a healthy diet and losing weight, but do you know the damaging effects of spending too much time sitting? Sedentary time is the time we spend sitting down and not moving. It is increasingly recognised that sedentary behaviour increases our risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and premature death, and minimising sedentary behaviour reduces these risks. Even if we exercise regularly, spending a lot of time sitting down can be bad for us. The latest physical activity guidelines recommend limiting sedentary time by replacing sitting with periods of physical activity across the waking day. Many workplaces have made changes, such as height adjustable desks, relocating printers and wastepaper bins to encourage staff to move more, but we also need to move more when we are not at work. You can find useful suggestions to keep moving online at the British Heart Foundation website – 5 ways to spend less time sitting down, and the NHS website – Why we should sit less – NHS. We need to sit less and move more.
A note on a new physiotherapy service being offered to East Staffordshire patients – First Contact Physiotherapy. The service has been running for several months and aims to provide an assessment service for uncomplicated musculoskeletal problems, i.e., joint, muscle and tendon problems. These physiotherapists are specially trained to assess and diagnose musculoskeletal problems and advise on the right sort of treatment for the problem. You may well be offered an appointment with a First Contact Physiotherapist if you ring for an appointment and have a suitable problem. Importantly, this does not replace the current physiotherapy service to which patients can be referred after being assessed by a GP.
We are pleased to welcome a new member of staff, Jenny, our Pharmacy Technician. She joins Ruth, our Clinical Pharmacist, and will support her in providing advice to patients about their prescriptions, looking after requests for repeat prescriptions, updating discharge medications and improving the safety of prescribing in the practice. We are lucky to have her on the Team.
Some of you might have met Ed Wiley, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner (or ANP), who has started doing sessions at the Practice. An ANP is a senior nurse who has been specially trained to diagnose and treat a range of conditions, such as respiratory and urinary tract infections and joint and muscular problems, to mention but a few. They do not treat mental health problems, pregnant women or small children and babies. ANPs are becoming an increasingly important part of the practice team. Our Nurse Practitioner, Claire Stamp, is currently training to become an Advanced Practitioner.
Best wishes, as ever, from the team at Barton Family Practice.
A lot has happened in the 2 months since our last newsletter. Regarding the health sector, we are now in the grip of a full-scale NHS crisis. Without wishing to be alarmist, I would like to point out the obvious, that we are part of the NHS and therefore also in crisis. Demand for GP appointments is at an all-time high, and we have been unable to replace the GPs we have lost. It is proving difficult to recruit new GPs and even securing a locum is challenging. Making matters worse, Dr Atijosan is leaving in January for new pastures. Please bear with us as we struggle to try to provide enough GP appointments.
The Nursing team are appealing for all eligible women to attend for their cervical smears when they become due. They are concerned that some women have failed to attend their appointments. Cervical screening is an effective way of reducing the risk of cervical cancer and we would encourage all women to attend.
And now an appeal from Reception. Please stand back until invited to approach the reception counter. The receptionists use headsets, and report that patients sometimes think they are idle, whereas they are in fact listening or speaking to someone on the phone. They are working hard and will be with you as soon as they can.
We are all too aware of the difficulties with the local chemist and understand that they have stopped ordering repeat prescriptions on patients’ behalf. One solution could be to register for online prescription ordering at reception. You will need a form of photo ID so that you can be issued a PIN number. Please enquire at reception.
Continuing with our series on the Practice team, it is the turn of the Healthcare Assistant. We have two healthcare assistants whose role includes health promotion, such as lifestyle advice to manage obesity, hypertension, and pre-diabetes, checking blood pressures, analysing urine samples, and applying simple dressings. They also assist in running chronic disease clinics, for example, by conducting diabetes foot checks and taking blood samples. In addition, they order and maintain clinical stock items. They are busy people but are never too busy to smile.
We are saying goodbye to Dr Atijosan, whom some of you will know as Dr Goke, this January. He has been an immense help at the Practice, working hard, efficiently, and always professionally. We wish him the best of luck for the future.
Best wishes from the Barton team.
Dry January is the UKs one month challenge. It isn’t about giving anything up. It’s about getting something back. Get your fun back. Get your energy back. Get your calm back. Get you back!
Both men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week but cutting back can be a really effective way to improve your health.
You can download the Drink Free Days app to keep track of your alcohol intake https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/drink-less/
Firstly, an update about patients’ access to their GP records via the NHS app. The plan is that entries, including those made by free text, and correspondence sent into general practice, will be visible to all patients in the future, and was to have gone live on the 1st of November. This has now been postponed, with a new launch date to be announced. We shall keep you informed of developments.
Many thanks to everyone for the positive feedback we receive. This makes such a difference to the staff and clinicians at the surgery, who often feel undervalued and sometimes demoralised. It really is appreciated. That is not to say that negative feedback is not useful, particularly when it is constructive, as it can help improve the service we provide. Gratuitous abuse, however, serves no useful purpose.
Have you ever wondered what a receptionist does beyond answering the phone and booking appointments? A receptionist’s job is surprisingly complicated, busy, fast-paced, and stressful, and requires excellent communication and organisational skills. Receptionists work a shift pattern to enable adequate cover for busy times of the day. On any given day, the roles involved include arriving early to open the Surgery for 8 am, answering the phone and getting details from patients wanting an appointment or with other queries, receiving deliveries and passing on samples and letters to the hospital courier, generating repeat prescriptions for signature, scanning documents to patient records, dealing with patient and document tasks, and sending, and receiving emails. Booking an appointment for the nursing team is complicated because there are many different appointment lengths for each different problem, and all the nurses have separate roles. They must have enough training to recognise potentially serious symptoms when speaking to patients, or identify ill patients in the waiting room, and alert clinicians when needed. They need to understand the NHS and available local services. Finally, and at the end of the day, they make a check of the premises, shut down their computers and lock up the surgery at 6 pm (or later, if there are still patients in the building). And all this needs to be done with a smile. Challenging does not come close to describing it! So, if you are bored with your current job and feel you have the necessary skills and aptitude for reception work, please contact the Practice Manager, Louise Smith.
We would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Stay healthy and safe in 2022.
Know your numbers is an annual campaign raising awareness of high blood pressure, encouraging all UK adults to get a blood pressure check. To find out more information and to find out how you can lower your blood pressure, visit https://www.bloodpressureuk.org/
Staffordshire Emotional Health and Wellbeing Service is here to support children and young people from 5 to 18, with their mental health. Find out more on the action for children website.
Action for children also run the Blues Programme, which gives young people, aged 13 – 19, the tools to look after their emotional wellbeing. Over 6 weeks it teaches emotional resilience, and reduces low mood and anxious thoughts. Find out more about ‘The Blues Programme’.