Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home this winter recommends NHS Wiltshire CCG

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is advising local residents to be prepared this winter with their own well-stocked medicine cabinet, so they can treat themselves at the first signs of coughs, colds, sore throats or stomach bugs.

Dr Andy Hall from The Orchard Partnership in Fovant said:
“Most people can take care of their own health at home when they have minor ailments, such as sore throats and coughs by having a well-stocked medicine cabinet, drinking plenty of fluids and getting lots of rest.”

Looking after yourself when you’re feeling under the weather with a minor illness is easy if you already have a well-stocked medicine cabinet. Keeping the following items will mean you can stay at home and focus on getting back to full health.

What to keep in your medicine cabinet

Painkillers

Aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen are highly effective at relieving most minor aches, pains, coughs and cold

Oral rehydration salts

Can help restore your body’s natural balance of minerals and fluid lost through diarrhoea, fever, vomiting – if you can’t continue your normal diet

Anti-diarrhoea tablets

It’s a good idea to keep anti-diarrhoea medicine at home as diarrhoea can happen without warning. Causes include food poisoning and a stomach virus

Antihistamines

Useful for dealing with allergies, insect bites and hay fever

Indigestion treatment

If you have stomach ache, heartburn or trapped wind, a simple antacid will reduce stomach acidity and bring relief

Suncream

Sunburn can happen at any time of year, so keep some suncream of at least factor 15, with UVA protection. Exposure to the sun can cause sunburn and increase your risk of cancer

Dr Andy Hall added,
“Many people are affected by minor illnesses and ailments at this time of year with coughs, colds and sickness and having a well-stocked medicine cabinet means you can treat these symptoms yourself at home and prevent the need for a doctor’s appointment.  Your local pharmacist can also help with advice and over the counter medicine for many minor ailments and you don’t need an appointment to see your pharmacist.”

If you do need medical help and advice on where to go to access the right healthcare (and it’s not an emergency), then call NHS 111 anytime. It’s free and they operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Listen to your doctor and only take antibiotics when you need to, advises Wiltshire CCG

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting the national ‘Keep antibiotics working campaign’ to highlight the risk associated with taking antibiotics when you don’t need them and are encouraging patients to listen to the medical advice from their doctor.

Taking antibiotics encourages bacteria that live inside you to become resistant, meaning the antibiotics may not work when you really need them to and can put your family at risk of a more severe or longer illness.

Professor Michael Moore, GP and researcher at Three Chequers Surgery in Salisbury said:
“Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis. But they are also frequently being used to treat illnesses, such as coughs, colds and sore throats that can get better by themselves or by using over the counter medication that you can get from your pharmacy.”

Research has shown that GPs are experiencing enormous pressure from patients to prescribe them a course of antibiotics to show they are taking their health condition seriously.  In Wiltshire 294,365 antibiotics tablets, capsules and bottles were prescribed during 2016 costing the NHS £1,314,230.

Professor Moore added:
Without urgent action, common infections, minor injuries and routine operations will become far riskier.  Conditions like kidney infections and pneumonia have already started to become untreatable.”

It is estimated that at least 5,000 deaths are caused every year in England because antibiotics no longer work for some infections and this figure is set to rise with experts predicting that in just over 30 years antibiotic resistance will kill more people than cancer and diabetes combined.

Rachel Hobson, Formulary Pharmacist for Wiltshire CCG said:
“We are working closely with our GPs to help reduce inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics so that patients who need antibiotics are getting the right dose, at the right time, for the right condition.  We are asking for you to play your part by trusting your doctor, nurse or pharmacist’s advice as to when you need to take antibiotics.”

If you are prescribed antibiotics, you should take them as instructed, finish the course, never save them for later use or share them with others. For more information on keeping antibiotics working, visit the campaign page on our website: www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk

Don’t put off getting your flu jab – it’s free because you need it

Health leaders across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) are urging people not to delay getting their flu jab if they are eligible for a free vaccination this winter.

People who are eligible include those who are aged over 65 years, pregnant women, anyone who is the main carer for another person or who is in receipt of Carers’ Allowance, and those with a long-term condition such as diabetes or asthma.

Children between the ages of two and eight years old are also eligible for the free nasal vaccination, which is quick, harmless and the best way to protect against catching flu this winter.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a Wiltshire GP and the Clinical Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“If you or someone close to you falls into one of the ‘at risk’ categories, the flu vaccination is free because you, or they, really do need it.

“Flu is an unpredictable virus that can cause mild our unpleasant illness in most people, but it can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups. We strongly encourage you to take up the offer of a free flu vaccination so you are protected against flu this winter.’ 

This year, there is a particular emphasis in the BSW Sustainability and Transformation Partnership on carers taking up the offer of a free flu vaccination. A carer is someone of any age who looks after an elderly person or someone with a disability.

Rosie, a carer and former trustee of the Bath and North East Somerset carer Carers’ Centre. said:

“Caring is an incredibly serious role and carers provide an invaluable service to the community,’

“They care for family members and friends who may be elderly, disabled or have a serious long-term condition and it is vital that they look after their own health as well as the health of the person they care for,’

“One winter I fell really ill, which made me very anxious that I might not be able to fulfil my caring role. So I urge anyone in a caring capacity to protect yourself this winter and have the free flu vaccination without delay.’

Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications if you have a long-term health condition like bronchitis or liver disease. It can also cause serious complications for both mother and baby if pregnant women catch it. The flu jab is the safest way to protect yourself from illness this winter – however healthy you might otherwise feel.

If you are eligible or want to check whether you or someone close to you is, contact your GP, midwife or usual healthcare provider. Some pharmacies are also able to provide the flu vaccination to certain eligible groups. Visit www.nhs.uk/staywell/ for more information.

Castle Practice staff have their flu jab to protect themselves and others this winter

Staff at Castle Practice surgery in Ludgershall are preparing for winter by having the flu jab and helping to protect themselves and their patients against from catching the winter illness.

Dr Toby Davies, GP at Castle Practice said:
“We have a duty to safeguard our patients, and the best way we can do that during winter is to have the flu vaccination. That way we are protecting ourselves from catching flu and at the same time helping to protect our patients, friends and families.”

Flu, short for influenza, is a common infectious viral illness that is spread by coughs and sneezes. Many people who catch it will begin to feel better within a week, but for some it can be more serious.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chairman of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) added:
“Flu is not just a bad cold – it can be a really serious illness for some people and it doesn’t just affect older people.

The flu vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus, especially for those most at risk, including pregnant women, young children and those with long term conditions, such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints and diabetes. We urge those in high risk groups to have their flu vaccination now, it’s free and you can arrange to have it at your GP Surgery or see if your pharmacist is providing the flu vaccination service.”

Those in the high risk group are eligible for a free flu vaccination and include:

  • Children aged two and three
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults aged 65 years and older
  • Anyone with a long term condition
  • Those in long-stay residential care homes and carers

The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so if you had a jab last winter you will need another one this year to stay flu safe.

Dr Sandford-Hill added:
“Winter flu is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly. Having the vaccination is a quick and simple procedure with minimal or no side effects and provides you with effective protection against the flu virus.

If everyone has the flu vaccination, we collectively help to protect each other from the virus and reduce the spread between our families, friends and colleagues.”

Medvivo to provide integrated urgent care services across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire

Medvivo has been awarded a five year contract to provide integrated urgent care services across Bath and North East Somerset (BaNES), Swindon and Wiltshire, from 1 May 2018. The healthcare provider, which is rated as ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission will be the lead provider, working in collaboration with Vocare and BaNES Enhanced Medical Services (BEMS+).

Jo Cullen, Director of Primary and Urgent Care at Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“In line with the NHS GP Forward View requirements, we have been working hard to develop and deliver a functionally integrated 24/7 urgent care service.

It’s more than just bolting together the existing NHS111 and out-of-hours services and calling it by a new name, it’s the introduction of an innovative new service that dovetails with existing primary care services. It will provide patients with a clear, clinically-led and local urgent care service that ensures they receive the right care, at the right place at the right time.”

Medvivo will be responsible for running the NHS111 service across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire and will develop the service model to include a new locally managed ‘clinical hub.’

Dr Jamie Brosch, Medical Director for Medvivo, explains:

“The new clinical hub is a fantastic new element of the service. Callers to the 111 service will be listened to and advised about what action they should take next. Following their initial conversation with the 111 call handler, it may be necessary for them to receive further medical advice. In this situation, the caller will be able to talk to the clinical hub – a team of experienced health professionals who can collectively make clinical assessments, give advice and arrange urgent care if required. This will mean that no decision is made in isolation.

It’s local too as it is Wiltshire based, so the team know the area and local healthcare services that are available and with the support of a comprehensive directory of services, are able to confidently pass that information on to callers.

Medvivo’s responsibility for providing the GP out-of-hours service will extend to BaNES. Wiltshire and telecare monitoring and urgent care and response at home for Wiltshire Council will continue to be provided by Medvivo.

We’re really proud that Medvivo has been awarded the contract and we are committed to delivering an innovative new urgent care service for people in BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire.” 

Local patients and residents will receive information about the new integrated urgent care service and how to access it ahead of the launch on 1 May 2018.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“We are delighted that Medvivo has been awarded this contract and very much look forward to working with them in developing a high quality and responsive integrated urgent care service for people in BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire.”
Peter Lucas, Lay Member of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, added:
“This is an immense project which, importantly, has the opportunity to really transform the provision of urgent care across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire. I’m really looking forward to seeing this happen.”

The NHS111 service is currently provided by Care UK in BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire. The GP out-of-hours service in Wiltshire is currently provided by Medvivo and by Vocare in BaNES. Great Western Hospitals Foundation Trust will continue to provide the GP out-of-hours service in Swindon, as that particular service was not included as part of the procurement.

Joining up a number of urgent care services across the region will help to ensure everyone has access to the same high quality, personalised and responsive service.

Improving access to psychological therapies for those with long-term health conditions

Residents of Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) are benefiting from a ground-breaking programme that offers psychological therapies to people with common mental health problems as well as long-term physical conditions.  

Specialist mental health practitioners have based themselves in GP surgeries and community hubs in both counties, and will work closely with the three acute hospitals; Swindon’s Great Western Hospital, Bath’s Royal United Hospital and the Salisbury Foundation Trust.

This will ensure a more direct referral route is in place for patients with existing long-term physical conditions who are already receiving treatment from those hospitals.

Ted Wilson, Director of Community and Joint Commissioning at Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:

“This new way of delivering services is very accessible and makes it much easier for GP’s, nurses and other health professionals to refer or signpost to interventions that really make a difference to people’s lives and can reduce the need for onward healthcare.

Joining up the services and making them more integrated will allow patients to manage their conditions more confidently, which in turn will reduce their emotional strain, which poses a real risk of harm to their physical and mental wellbeing.”

The programme is being provided by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership and the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services in Wiltshire and B&NES. IAPT is part of a national NHS England programme to support its ‘Five Year Forward View’ – a vision of better health, better patient care and improved NHS efficiency.  

The new service in B&NES and Wiltshire will enable evidence-based psychological interventions to be offered under a ‘stepped-care’ approach. Individuals will be able to self-refer to the programme and will be offered the intensity of intervention that is most appropriate for their condition. The programme will link with primary care professionals, community teams and local hospitals. 

Dr Claire Williamson, Head of Psychological Therapies for AWP said:

“The new programme of local IAPT services has started.  Initially, services will offer support to people with diabetes as well as common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. This will be expanded to include those with other long-term health conditions. It’s a great opportunity to take a holistic approach to both physical and psychological wellbeing.” 

Dr Daisy Curling, clinical lead for mental health on the Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group Board said:
“We know that when mental and physical problems are treated alongside each other, people can often achieve better outcomes. This new programme offers a real chance to make those outcomes a reality.”