Stop the rot

Today, Monday 29 December 2014, Public Health England launches a powerful new campaign to highlight how smoking damages the body and causes a slow and steady decline in a process akin to rotting. The campaign launches as a new expert review commissioned by Public Health England highlights the multiple impacts that toxic ingredients in cigarettes can have on your body. Whilst many smokers know that smoking causes cancer and harms the lungs and heart, the new report highlights how it also damages:

  • Bones and muscles – Smoking causes progressive harm to the musculoskeletal system, and has a negative impact on bone mineral density. Harms include:
    • 25% increased risk of any fracture and a 40% increase in the risk of hip fractures among men
    • Slower healing after injury
    • Increased risk of back and neck pain, leading to a 79% increase in chronic back pain and a 114% increase in disabling lower back pain
    • Significant cause of rheumatoid arthritis and can reduce the impact of treatment
  • Brain – Current smokers are 53% more likely to develop cognitive impairment than non-smokers and 59% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease
  • Teeth – Smoking increases the likelihood of tooth loss and decay
  • Eyes – Smoking damages sight by increasing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 78%-358% and increasing the risk of age-related cataracts

To continue reading, click here.

On our website today we have published a list of those Wiltshire pharmacies that will be open over the Christmas and New Year period.

The full list, with opening times, can be found here.

Steve-Rowlands-2014_WEBDecember – The news themes they aren’t a changing

As it is now December the ‘Mo’ has gone leaving a pleasantly bald top lip. I had some interesting comments regarding the appendage while it was with me, some of which achieved the intended purpose of highlighting men’s health. Perhaps the most damaging was from a member of staff who, in the last week of November, stopped me, stared at me and said: “I bet you can’t wait for December!”

Interesting health issues coming out in the news.

The Secretary of State turning up at an A&E department with an unwell child on a Sunday afternoon, and somehow attempting to defend his corner, despite previously encouraging the public that doing just that was not the appropriate use of A&E facilities.

NICE telling us that we need to carry out more bariatric surgery, as we are all about to become diabetic because we are too fat.

Professor Roger Williams is telling us that we all need liver scans because we drink too much alcohol and we are too fat, and as mentioned in my last blog, the NHS is going to be bankrupt because we are too fat.

There seems to be a bit of a theme here… ‘We are too fat’.

Dieting alone cannot possibly work because if it did none of us would be overweight and there would only be one diet book in print instead of the thousands currently present in any bookshop you walk into. There is no doubt that people on strict diets lose weight but it is also clear that there is a rebound weight increase when they stop, and this type of ‘Yo-Yo’ weight management is detrimental to overall health. The other problem with dieting is that you are constantly thinking about food and, inevitably, constantly hungry, which makes success in sustaining your diet nigh on impossible.

Personally, I have the appetite of a horse and find I can only maintain a reasonable weight by following Michael Mosley’s 5:2 diet. I have been doing so since September 2012 and find it easy to maintain. Happily, I can report that my weight is now stable after an initial loss of over a stone.

However the real solution to any weight problem is lifestyle: eating smaller portions, not grazing between meals and taking appropriate exercise.

To me, as a GP, it’s very clear. If you are too fat you need to lose weight; the state does not need to lose weight for you.

Another item in the news this week: It is safer for healthy women to have babies in a midwife led unit or at home according to a NICE report.

Low risk Mums to be ie those with straightforward pregnancies, and (interestingly) those who have a BMI of less than 30, are better off in maternity led units.

Another good reason to keep that weight down.

 

Survey on End of Life experiences

Wiltshire CCG would like to hear about your experience of end of life care in Wiltshire.  The survey is being run by the Patients Association and is completely anonymous.

If you would like to take part please click here.

What are we consulting on?

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Wiltshire Council are consulting on the future permanent location of specialist dementia hospital care in Wiltshire.

As the providers, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) are supporting the consultation.

At times of crises, a small number of people with severe dementia (usually no more than 120 people over a year in Wiltshire) require admission to a specialist dementia hospital during a severe phase of their illness. Specialist dementia hospital care forms part of the advanced dementia care pathway.  It refers to those specialist services that may be needed by a small number of people who have severe dementia and require high levels of specialist care.

This period of assessment, treatment and stabilisation, for up to 84 days (on average), is provided by healthcare professionals with specialist knowledge of dementia and the impact it can have on people’s lives.

Where is specialist dementia hospital care being provided?

Since February 2013, all specialist dementia hospital care (20 specialist dementia beds) in Wiltshire has been provided on a temporary basis at Amblescroft South, Fountain Way, Salisbury. Before that there were 24 specialist dementia beds in Charterhouse, Trowbridge and 10 in Amblescroft, Salisbury.

The options

Wiltshire CCG, Wiltshire Council and AWP have identified three potential locations in Wiltshire for the specialist dementia hospital services to be located:

1. Charter House in Trowbridge
2. Avebury Ward, Green Lane Hospital in Devizes
3. Amblescroft South, Fountain Way in Salisbury

To download a PDF of these pages, click here
For an easy-read version, click here

PRESS RELEASE: Thursday 4 December 2014

KEEP A&E AND 999 FOR MEDICAL EMERGENCIES, NHS REMINDS PATIENTS IN WILTSHIRE

GPs from NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) re urging people to make sure they choose the most appropriate care for their ailments this winter.

Forecast colder weather this week indicates that winter has arrived, bringing with it increased demand on NHS services particularly from elderly and vulnerable patients.

Dr Peter Jenkins, GP Medical Adviser for Wiltshire CCG, said: “Even without severe weather – such as snow or prolonged sub-zero temperatures – the arrival of winter invariably means the NHS as a whole faces considerable challenges in dealing with greater numbers of patients.

“The NHS nationally and locally plans thoroughly for that increased demand, but we also need help from people in finding the most appropriate way to treat their ailments.”

Colder weather and viruses lead to an increase in the number of people – particularly those with a respiratory condition – being admitted to hospital as an emergency.

The CCG has therefore produced the following list of top tips to help people plan and ensure they are able to receive the most appropriate and timely treatment during winter:

  • Ensure you have sufficient over-the-counter medicines to treat minor ailments such as coughs, colds, cuts and scratches. The NHS Choices website has further information about sensible items to keep in your medicine cabinet at home.
  • If you feel unwell, particularly if you are elderly, seeking early advice from your GP or pharmacist could prevent a minor ailment becoming more serious. The NHS Feeling Under the Weather? campaign is aimed at people over 60 – or anyone aged over 45 looking after elderly relatives or neighbours – encouraging them to get early health advice.
  • If you have an ongoing medical condition requiring repeat prescriptions, ensure you have sufficient supplies to avoid running out when you GP surgeries is closed or over the Christmas holiday period.
  • Your local pharmacist is a good source of information, advice and treatment for a wide range of minor ailments.
  • For urgent medical needs that are not emergencies, NHS 111 is a free national phone number able to provide advice at any time on where and how to receive the most appropriate treatment.
  • This year’s NHS Flu campaign is encouraging all those who are eligible for the free flu vaccination to take up the offer. It is targeted at those with long-term health conditions, pregnant women and parents of children aged 2-4. Wiltshire CCG is supporting the campaign by providing background advice and guidance on who is eligible for a free flu jab and the important of getting one.
  • Keep a look-out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours to ensure they are staying safe and well.
  • If you have any symptoms of vomiting or diarrhoea, stay away from hospitals – including visiting friends or relatives. Norovirus, often called the winter vomiting bug, is highly contagious and can spread quickly in hospitals.
  • Don’t go to a hospital A&E department or dial 999 for an ambulance unless it is for a serious or life-threatening emergency.

“Clearly there are times when attending A&E or dialling 999 is the right course of action. However, using these services for less serious conditions does not mean a patient will receive quicker treatment, and may result in a delay for someone else whose condition is serious or even life-threatening,” said Dr Jenkins.

“Taking a few easy and sensible precautions now, along with using the best way to receive treatment if needed, can help ensure the NHS continues to provide high-quality, appropriate care for everyone needing it this winter.”

 

Ends