March 2018


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Welcome to March’s edition of ‘in touch’.

In this issue, we tell you about Carer Support Wiltshire’s new contact which starts on 1 April 2018 where they will provide support to carers of all ages in Wiltshire.  We are delighted to continue working with Carer Support Wiltshire; they play an invaluable role in supporting carers meaning that many of the people who they care for are able to remain in their own homes and out of hospital or care homes.

The Easter bank holiday break will be here soon and with this comes additional pressures on health services, especially A&E.  We are reminding people who are not seriously ill about the alternative health care services available over the bank holiday and to help you make the right decision about where to go download our ‘Around the clock healthcare leaflet’.

To help enable us to provide safe environments that reduce harm from exposure to second-hand smoke, all NHS sites in Wiltshire have pledged to become completely smoke free from 1 January 2019. We are already a smoke free NHS site here at Southgate House, but some NHS sites in Wiltshire still have designated areas for smoking.  This means in nine months’ time smoking will not be permitted on any NHS sites in Wiltshire including all buildings, grounds and vehicles.  It also means that designated smoking areas will be removed.  There is plenty of help available if you want to quit smoking on

Be sure to set your clocks forward this weekend and let’s start to enjoy the longer and warmer days to come!


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In the news!

Find the right health advice and treatment over the Easter bank holiday

The four day break over Easter can sometimes catch people off guard when it comes to planning for their healthcare needs.  With GP surgeries in Wiltshire closed on Friday 30 March and Monday 2 April, we are asking people to plan ahead and consider the range of healthcare services available if they need medical advice, or treatment over the bank holiday.

It’s important that people understand where to go for health advice so that people avoid going to A&E for less serious illnesses and injury and to help with this, we have produced an easy to use ‘Around the clock healthcare in Wiltshire leaflet’. 

By making the right choices, people get the help they need, when they need it and it also helps reduce the impact on the health system over what is an extremely busy period for A&E departments in Wiltshire.

For a minor health problem it may be possible to seek health and advice from your local pharmacy, many of which will be open over the bank holiday.  Pharmacists are experts on medicine and how they work.  They can also offer advice on common complaints such as coughs, colds, aches and pains and other health issues and help to decide whether it’s necessary for you to see a doctor.

We also strongly recommend that people think ahead and check that they have enough of their routine medication to see them through the four day weekend.  If you need to order more, it is advisable to request it well in advance of the bank holiday to ensure that you receive it in time.

NHS 111 is also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from landlines and mobiles.  It is staffed by a team of fully trained advisers, supported by experienced clinicians.  Healthcare advice can be given over the telephone or you may be directed to a local service if appropriate.

For life threatening situations, serious injuries, loss of consciousness, chest pain or suspected stroke you should always call 999.

The views of over 200 individuals from across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have helped shape a modern service for children and young people with emotional wellbeing and mental health problems.

New contact for Carer Support Wiltshire to support carers of all ages

Carer Support Wiltshire starts their new contract to support carers of all ages on 1 April 2018.  The contact was awarded by Wiltshire Council, with funding support from NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and builds on the existing work the organisation been doing with both organisation for a number of years to support adult carers. 

 The new contract will involve the organisation providing services and support for all carers in Wiltshire, including young carers, parent carers, those juggling work with caring and an aging population living longer and looking after loved ones.

One of their focuses will be going out into the community to improve information and accessibility for all and this will be done by introducing Community Connectors, who will work across Wiltshire to raise awareness, and support and identify carers and they will be in the following areas:

  • Malmesbury, Royal Wootton Bassett and Calne
  • Chippenham, Corsham and Bradford-on-Avon
  • Devizes, Marlborough and Pewsey
  • Melksham, Trowbridge and Westbury
  • Tidworth, South Wilts and Salisbury
  • Warminster, Mere and South West Wiltshire

Their young carer service will also begin from 1 April 2018 to ensure that all young carers are identified and properly supported.  They will work with schools, colleges, community groups and delivery partners, such as Youth Action Wiltshire to provide young carers with breaks, activities and opportunities to learn, aspire and grow.

Carers play an invaluable role within our communities and this new contract will help strengthen the support that is provided to them and will also help raise awareness of what is available to help support carers in their caring role.  Find out more by visiting the Carer Support Wiltshire website.

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Focus on ‘Smoke Free NHS’

‘Stub it out’

That’s the message to smokers as all NHS sites in Wiltshire begin their nine month countdown to becoming completely smoke free.

In order to help reduce the number of people who smoke and the serious illnesses associated with smoking, the pledge is for all of NHS sites in Wiltshire to smoke free by Tuesday 1 January 2019. 

In nine months’ time staff, patients and visitors (including contractors and suppliers) will no longer be able to smoke anywhere on NHS sites, including grounds and gardens or in vehicles and car parks.

NHS buildings in Wiltshire have been smoke free for several years, but the introduction of this new policy means smoking and tobacco use will not be allowed anywhere on site.  Home of the Clinical Commissioning Group, Southgate House in Devizes is already a non-smoking site but some of our NHS sites in Wiltshire still have designated areas for smoking, which are used by staff, patients and visitors.  From Tuesday 1 January 2019, this will no longer be the case. 

By NHS sites going smoke free, it will mean a much safer and fresher environment for our patients, our visitors and our staff and will bring significant benefits for the health and wellbeing of everyone in our using NHS services.

We know, for example, that patients recover quicker from periods of illness or injury, have shorter lengths of stay in hospital, require less medication and generally have fewer complications, when they do not smoke.

Over the next nine months we will be engaging with our staff, patients and visitors to identify the most effective ways to support them, and the announcement is being made nine months ahead of implementation of a smoke free NHS in Wiltshire to provide time for those who do smoke to be prepared for the change, and to give them the opportunity to quit smoking.

If you would like support to quit smoking, please visit : for expert advice and support or call the Smokefree National Helpline to speak to a trained adviser on 0300 123 1044.

We understand that some people may not wish to stop smoking during their stay in hospitals, or whilst at work and support will be provided to assist them in abstaining whilst they are on an NHS site through Nicotine Replacement Therapy and support from stop smoking advisors.

There are many benefits in not smoking both to the smoker, their family and loved ones and the wider community. 

Some of the benefits of not smoking can affect the body very quickly:
  • After 20 minutes blood pressure and heart rate can return to normal
  • After 8 hours nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood half and oxygen levels return to normal
  • After 1 day lungs start to clear and carbon monoxide levels return to normal
  • After 2 days ability to smell and taste are improved
  • After 3 days breathing becomes easier and energy levels improve
  • After 3 – 9 months 
  • lung function improves by 10% and there is improvement with coughing, breathing and wheezing
  • After 5 years risk of stroke returns to that of a non-smoker
  • After 10 years risk of lung cancer returns to that of a non-smoker

There is no given right to smoke and no obligation to permit people to smoke.  It is part of our duty to improve and protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, patients and wider communities and this includes ensuring we uphold their right to be protected from second hand smoke.

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Have your say!

Make a difference: Join your Patient Participation Group

A patient participation group (PPG) is made up of volunteers from patients and carers of patients registered at a GP practice.  PPGs meet regularly and work in partnership with the practice staff and doctors to ensure the practice deliver high quality and responsive care. 

PPGs can also offer a way for patients and practice staff to talk to each other, to share experiences and ideas, and to work together to improve patient experience.

The main purpose of most PPGs is to represent patients’ views and work with the practice to make changes. Some PPGs also volunteer to carry out other activities such as health promotion events, acting as advocates to encourage other patients to take responsibility for their own health, setting up support groups, promoting practice services and sharing information.

If you want to join your patient participation group speak to the staff at your practice who will advise you on how to join and become an active member of their PPG.


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Your pharmacy can help!

Your pharmacy team can help you with minor health concerns. To find out where your nearest pharmacy is, visit our website.

Community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are qualified healthcare professionals who can offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines to effectively and safely manage a range of minor health concerns, including:



  • Sore throats
  • Coughs
  • Colds
  • Tummy troubles
  • Teething

Every pharmacist is trained in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice, so they are the right person to see for minor health concerns.

With over 12,000 pharmacies open every day of the week in England, and many offering extended opening hours in the evenings and weekends, it is easy to find a pharmacy close to you.

Pharmacists are healthcare experts who can give you clinical advice, right there and then, and if your symptoms are more serious, they can ensure you get the help you need.
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Promoting Cancer 

In last month’s newsletter we gave a focus on cancer, and how one in three people in England will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime.  Recognising the signs and symptoms of cancer early could save your life and this month we are focusing on Prostate cancer and Cervical cancer.  If you do recognise any of the symptoms, tell your doctor.  If it’s detected early, it is more treatable.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year.

Prostate cancer develops slowly, so there may be no signs you have it for many year.  Symptoms often only become apparent when your prostate is large enough to affect the urethra and when this happens, you may notice things like an increased need to urinate, straining while urinating and a feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied.

These symptoms shouldn’t be ignored, but they do not mean you definitely have prostate cancer.

For many men with prostate cancer, treatment is not immediately necessary.  If the cancer is at an early stage and not causing symptoms, a policy of “watchful waiting” or “active surveillance” may be adopted.  This involves carefully monitoring your condition.

Some cases of prostate cancer can be cured if treated in the early stages and treatment includes surgically removing the prostate, radiotherapy and hormone therapy.

Some cases are only diagnosed at a later stage when the cancer has spread.  If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, typically the bones, it cannot be cured and treatment is focused on prolonging life and relieving symptoms.

As prostate cancer usually progresses very slowly, you can live for decades without symptoms or needing treatment.

Learn more about prostate cancer on NHS Choices.

Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in a women’s cervix (the entrance to the womb) and has no symptoms in its early stages.  If you do have symptoms, the most common is unusual vaginal bleeding, which can occur after sex, in between periods or after the menopause.

Abnormal bleeding doesn’t mean that you definitely have cervical cancer, but it should be investigated by your GP as soon as possible.  If your GP thinks you might have cervical cancer, you should be referred to see a specialist within two weeks.

The NHS offers a cervical screening programme to all women from the age of 25.  During cervical screening, a small sample of cells is taken from the cervix and checked under a microscope for abnormalities.  You will receive a letter from your GP offering you a screening appointment and we urge to you attend.

An abnormal cervical screening test doesn’t mean you definitely have cancer.  Most abnormal results are caused by an infection or the presence of treatable precancerous cells, rather than cancer itself.

If cervical cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, it’s usually possible to treat it using surgery.  In some cases, it’s possible to leave the womb in place, but it may need to be removed.  The surgical procedure used to remove the womb is called a hysterectomy.  Radiotherapy is an alternative to surgery for some women with early stage cervical cancer and in some cases it’s used alongside surgery.

The stage at which cervical cancer is diagnosed is an important factor in determining a women’s outlook, and this is dependent on how far the cancer has spread.

The chances of living for at least five years after being diagnosed with cervical cancer are:

Stage 1: 80 – 99%
Stage 2: 60 – 90%
Stage 3: 30 – 50%
Stage 4: 20%

In the UK, just under 1,000 women die from cervical cancer every year.  You can find out more information on cervical  cancer on NHS Choices.

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Stub it out’. That’s the message to smokers as all NHS sites across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire begin their nine month countdown to become completely smoke free

From Tuesday 1 January 2019 all NHS sites and services across Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire will be smoke free.

In nine months’ time staff, patients and visitors (including contractors and suppliers) will no longer be able to smoke anywhere on NHS sites, including the grounds and gardens or in vehicles and car parks. Some NHS providers may become smoke free before Tuesday 1 January 2019.

The decision to become completely smoke free is in line with The Health Act (2006) and The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE 2013) guidelines which state that all hospital sites, including mental health hospitals, and sites where NHS services are provided, should be 100% smoke free.

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England, has written to the Chief Executives of every NHS Trust in England calling for their personal commitment to becoming a smoke free NHS.

Across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire all NHS providers are committed to no tobacco use on site and providing support to staff and patients to either stop smoking or manage their nicotine dependency while at work or during their stay in hospital.

Dr Ian Orpen and Dr Christine Blanshard, co-chairs for the BSW STP Clinical Board, said:
“Currently many of our NHS sites and providers have designated areas for smoking, which are used by staff, patients and visitors. From Tuesday 1 January 2019, this will no longer be the case. “The buildings have been smoke free for several years, but the introduction of this new policy across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire, means smoking and tobacco use will not be allowed anywhere on site, even in car parks.

“We want to send out a clear message that smoking severely damages your health and can slow down your recovery time after an operation or procedure. We will be providing support for our staff and patients to help them become smoke free, should they wish to.

“We understand that some people may not wish to stop smoking and we will be providing them with assistance to ensure that during their stay in hospital or whilst at work they can abstain by using Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and support from our stop smoking advisors. “E-cigarettes are currently the most popular method for quitting amongst smokers so we will be looking at how we can support smokers who wish to use these devices.”

The announcement is being made nine months ahead of the implementation of smoke free NHS sites to ensure widespread awareness and provide time for those who do smoke to prepare for the change.

Some of the measures that will be used to ensure staff, patients and visitors are aware of the policy change include:

  • New on-site signage
  • Messages in patient letters
  • Training for all frontline staff to help patients stop or abstain from smoking
  • Events to promote the new policy

For staff, patients and visitors who want to stop smoking before Tuesday 1 January 2019:

  • A range of information and support on how to stop smoking is available at
  • Face to face advice on Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and or E-cigarettes is available from your local pharmacy, your GP surgery and local stop smoking services.

One in three women diagnosed with breast cancer each year are aged 70 or over

NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is supporting the national Be Clear on Cancer campaign and are urging women aged 70 or over to be aware of breast cancer symptoms.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in England with around 44,600 women diagnosed every year. National figures show that around 9,500 women die from breast cancer each year and over half of these women are aged 70 and over (5,400). This equates to around 15 women aged 70 and over dying from breast cancer in England every day.

Dr Andy Hall, GP at Orchard Partnership said,
“Despite older women being at an increased risk of breast cancer, they are also more likely to delay in going to their GP with breast cancer symptoms. We are not just talking about a lump, if you notice any unusual or persistent changes to your breasts such as a change to a nipple, or to the skin or the shape of a breast, book an appointment with your doctor and have it investigated.”

It’s important for all women over 70 to not assume they are past it. Early diagnosis of breast cancer is crucial and means treatment is more likely to be successful.  If breast cancer is diagnosed at the earliest stage, it will increase their chances of survival.

Dr Hall continued,
“It’s important to carry on checking your breasts as you get older because the chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer increases with age. The earlier it’s caught the better, so know the symptoms, and don’t be afraid to visit your doctor if you are concerned about any potential signs.”

Possible signs of breast cancer include:

  • A lump or thickening in your breast or armpit
  • Change to the skin of your breast
  • Changes in the shape or size of your breast
  • Nipple changes
  • Nipple discharge
  • Pain in your breast or armpit
  • Any other unusual or persistent changes to your breasts

If you have any of these symptoms, your doctor will want to see you.

For more information on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, please visit our campaign page

February 2018


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Welcome to February’s edition of ‘in touch’.

In this issue we’re excited to tell you about a new Children and Adolescent Mental Health service that starts on 1 April. Over 200 people across Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset and Swindon helped to shape the service which will support young people aged 0-18 years.

NHS England is working with NHS Clinical Commissioners on a public consultation to reduce prescribing of over the counter medicines for minor, short-term health concerns. Drugs like paracetamol can cost the NHS up to three times more on prescription than if patients bought them directly from a supermarket. The results from the consultation will inform national guidance on how such drugs are available in the future. What are your thoughts on buying some medication over the counter? Share your views by completing the survey.

Over the coming months we’ll be focusing on cancer types and the common signs to look out for. 

It’s very easy to ignore symptoms and put off going to see your doctor, but if you are worried you should book an appointment with your doctor straight away.

It may not be anything serious, but if it is cancer it’s important to find it early. See below for the campaigns we’re highlighting in this edition.

While Winter hasn’t quite left us yet the days are gradually getting longer and the sun is starting to brighten up our skies – Spring is nearly here!


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In the news!

New service to support children and young people with their emotional wellbeing

The views of over 200 individuals from across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire have helped shape a modern service for children and young people with emotional wellbeing and mental health problems.

The new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) service starts on 1 April 2018 and will be delivered by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. The service be providing targeted and specialist mental health and wellbeing support to children and young people aged 0-18 years, which includes having timely access to an integrated system of co-ordinated and effective promotion, prevention, early intervention and community support and treatment.

Ted Wilson, Director of Community Services and Joint Commissioning for Wiltshire CCG said: “With valuable input from young people across Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset and Swindon we have commissioned a mental health service that will better suit their needs, be easier for them to access and will provide improved advice and support.”

National Survey shows improvements in women’s experiences of maternity care

Most women are having a positive experience of maternity care and treatment with the NHS, according to a survey of more than 18,000 people in England.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) survey results reveal responses from women who had given birth in February 2017 in services run by 130 NHS trusts across the country.

Women were asked questions about all aspects of their maternity care from the first time they saw a clinician or midwife, during labour and birth, through to the care provided at home in the weeks following the arrival of their baby. The results highlighted improvements in areas such as choice on where to give birth, quality of information and access to help and support after giving birth.

The full results for England as well as individual results for each trust are available on the CQC’s website.

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Focus on cancer!

More than one in three people in England will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime.

Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally cells grow and divide to form new cells when the body needs them. When cancer develops, old or damaged cells survive when they should die, and new cells form when they are not needed. These extra cells can divide without stopping and may form growths called tumours. These cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs.

There are more than 200 different types of cancer, and each one is diagnosed and treated in a particular way. The four most common types of cancer diagnosed in England are:

Spotting the signs

It is important to be aware of any unexplained changes to your body. If you notice any changes to your body’s normal processes or unusual, unexplained symptoms – such as the sudden appearance of a lump, blood in your urine, or a change to your usual bowel habits, it’s important to see your doctor so they can investigate. The chances are it is nothing serious, but it might be something that needs attention and if diagnosed earlier, treatment can be a lot more successful.

Click here for more information on cancer and spotting the signs and symptoms.

We’re helping to raise awareness of cancer, so keep an eye out for information on the following campaigns in the next few issues of ‘in touch’:

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
In the UK, about one in eight men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives.

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Ovarian cancer is the biggest gynaecological killer of UK women, as most women are diagnosed once the cancer has spread which makes treatment more challenging.

Be clear on cancer – breast cancer in women over 70 
In England, one in three women who get breast cancer are aged 70 or over.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in England with around 44,300 women diagnosed each year, of which around 13,500 (a third) are aged 70 and over. The older you are – the more likely you are to get it.

This campaign aims to get more women with breast cancer diagnosed at an early stage by raising awareness of the symptoms so it’s important to get to know how your breasts look and feel normally, so that you will find it easier to spot something unusual.

A lump isn’t the only sign of breast cancer. If you do notice any changes to your breast you should make an appointment to see your doctor straight away. It might not be anything serious, but if it is, getting a diagnosis early can make a real difference.

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Have your say!

Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care

NHS England has launched a public consultation on reducing prescribing of over-the-counter medicines for 33 minor, short-term health concerns.

From June 2016 until June 2017 the NHS spent approximately £569 million on prescriptions for medicines which could have been purchased over the counter from a pharmacy, or other outlets such as a supermarket.

These prescriptions include items for a condition:

  • That is considered to be self-limiting and so does not need treatment as it will heal of its own accord;
  • Which lends itself to self-care, i.e. that the person suffering does not normally need to seek medical care but may decide to seek help with symptom relief from a local pharmacy and use an over the counter medicine

NHS England has partnered with NHS Clinical Commissioners to carry out the consultation, which is intended to help produce a national framework for CCGs to use.

The consultation is seeking your views on the proposals and is open until 14 March 2018.

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Know the signs of a stroke and act F.A.S.T.

We are encouraging you to learn the F.A.S.T. test to help you identify the early signs of a stroke and save more lives.




The F.A.S.T. test identifies the three most common symptoms of a stroke and the right action to take:

Face: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?

Arms: Can the person raise both arms?

Speech: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you are saying?

Time: call 999

If you recognise any single one of these symptoms of stroke, in yourself or others – CALL 999 straightaway. The sooner somebody who is having a stroke gets urgent medical attention, the better their chances of a good recovery.

Your pharmacy can help!

Your pharmacy team can help you with minor health concerns. Visit our website to find out where your nearest pharmacy is:

Community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are qualified healthcare professionals who can offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines to effectively and safely manage a range of minor health concerns.



  • Sore throats
  • Coughs
  • Colds
  • Tummy troubles
  • Teething

Every pharmacist is trained in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice, so they are the right person to see for minor health concerns.

With over 12,000 pharmacies open every day of the week in England, and many offering extended opening hours in the evenings and weekends, it is easy to find a pharmacy close to you.

Pharmacists are healthcare experts who can give you clinical advice, right there and then, and if your symptoms are more serious, they can ensure you get the help you need...

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You can find Wiltshire CCG on social media – follow us and keep up to date with our latest news.
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New group lets cancer patients have their say

People whose lives have been touched by cancer can now come together as part of a new group and have their collective voices listened to by experts from the Great Western Hospital.

The Swindon Cancer Partnership Group, which officially launches next month, will give cancer patients and/or their carers the opportunity to be involved in the development of local cancer services.

By meeting regularly, it’s hoped members of the group will not only be able to talk about their own cancer journey, but work with experts to influence how care is given in the future.

Lyndel Moore, Cancer Nurse Consultant, said:
This new group will provide local people with a forum in which they can have their voices at the very heart of the services we provide.

By listening to, and acting upon, the views of people affected by cancer, we are able to continually make the changes and improvements that will ensure our care is always of the highest standard.   

Our overall aim is for local people, who have lived the cancer journey, to have a hand in influencing the quality of the care and treatment given to others like them.  Whether it’s feeding back directly, taking part in focus groups or just filling out questionnaires, those people coming along can be involved in as much or as little as they like.

The Swindon Cancer Partnership Group will meet four times a year, with attendance open to any person who feels their experience can help make a difference to others.

Last year, a survey of more than 72,000 cancer patients highlighted the positive care happening at GWH.

Of the 438 Swindon patients who took part, the majority gave a favourable account of their experience, with GWH’s cancer care receiving an average score of 8.6 out of a possible ten.

 A special event to launch the group is being held on Wednesday 21 February 2018 in the Cherwell Education Room at Great Western Hospital between 3.15pm and 4.45pm. Please contact the GWH Cancer Team on 01793 646152 or at to register your interest.

January 2018


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Happy New Year!

The cold weather is still biting at our heels and as you will have seen in recent press coverage, the NHS is under massive strain due to winter pressures, particularly due to the high instances of flu and norovirus. In this issue of ‘in touch’ we’re focusing on how you can help to look after yourselves and your families and treat common health complaints early. 

Many winter ailments can take up to two weeks or more to shake off. You shouldn’t need to see your GP unless symptoms become particularly severe and if you make an appointment, there are other healthcare staff that can help you, meaning GPs are freed up to see those who really need them – take a look at our primary care leaflet to find out more.

There are a number of things you can do to help yourself before needing to see a GP and help ease the pressures on our local health system at the same time. Ensuring you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home will help you to treat simple coughs and colds early; seeking advice from a pharmacist at the first-sign of illness may mean you don’t need a GP appointment as well and contacting NHS 111 for advice will help direct you to the right healthcare service.

Flu symptoms are still doing the rounds; it’s very infectious and easily spread by coughs and sneezes. The NHS Catch it. Kill it. Bin it. campaign gives you some great guidance on how to reduce the spread of the flu virus, read the article on page 3 to find out more.

Spring is just around the corner, but until it arrives let’s help keep those winter bugs at bay!


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In the news!

Winter pressures means deferral of non-urgent inpatient operations

NHS England has issued guidance in line with new Winter Pressures Protocol to hospitals as they had been under sustained pressure over the Winter period.

To help hospitals handle the sustained pressure, one of the steps has been to defer all non-urgent inpatient elective care operations until 31 January 31.  Cancer operations and time-critical procedures will go ahead as planned.

These steps will ensure patients in hospitals receive the best possible care over this challenging period.

We are asking the public to call NHS 111 if they need to obtain clinical advice when they start to feel ill and it’s not urgent, which will allow staff in A&E to focus on the sickest patients.

Read the official letter from Pauline Philip, National Director, Urgent and Emergency Care, NHS England and NHS Improvements to systems and press statement here.

Meet the team

We have developed a ’Your primary healthcare team’ leaflet to help you get the right appointment for your needs.

You may not always need to see your doctor.  Many surgeries employ other healthcare staff such as nurses, pharmacists and emergency care practitioners who can help you. Speak to your Practice receptionist, or visit the Practice’s website to find out who could help you.

Each GP practice also has a range of staff including receptionists,, administration support staff and practice managers who work to ensure you have a great patient experience.

Struck down by Norovirus? Stay at home!

When it comes to sickness and diarrhoea, looking after yourself at home is often be the best option.

Norovius is particularly widespread at this time of year, and diarrhoea and vomiting are often among its symptoms.  It’s also very easily spread through contaminated surfaces and close contact with other people.

There is not cure for norovirus but it usually clears up by itself within a few days, and the best way to recover is through self-care at home – get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and wash your hands regularly with soap and water.  If you need guidance on what you can do to help yourself get better, speak to your local pharmacist – they can provide quick advice without you having to wait for an appointment or sit in a waiting room sharing your misfortune with others!

If you are worried your stomach complaint is something more than a simple bug, the pharmacist will be able to let you know if you need to see a doctor. You can also call NHS 111 and a trained call handler will talk you through the best course of action.

For more information on norovirus visit:

Read more news articles here.

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Have your say!

Help NHS England improve services for patients and take part in their survey

Equality Delivery System Grading

The Equality Delivery System (EDS2) is a tool which helps NHS organisations make sure services are fair for all patients and communities and supports NHS organisations to make sure that the people who work for them are treated fairly and can apply for a lot of different jobs at all levels.

Help them know how well they are doing for people from all backgrounds by taking part in their survey – closes on 18 February 2018.

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Catch it. Bin it. Kill it.

Cold weather can be seriously bad for your health.  That’s why it’s important to look after yourself, especially during the winter.  If you do start to feel unwell, even if it’s a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious – seek advice from your pharmacist.

If your cold develops into flu, which is very infectious and is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes – it can live on hands or surfaces for 24 hours.

To help reduce the risk of spreading germs – CATCH IT. BIN IT. KILL IT.

Use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze

Germs can live for several hours on tissues – bin used tissue as quickly as possible

Hands can transfer germs to any surface you touch – wash your hands often with warm water and soap

Most of us will catch a cold at some point during the winter months, leaving us with a runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and a cough.  No one enjoys having a cold and by following these simple steps you could avoid passing the virus to someone else.


Change4Life – Nutrition

These days kids are eating too much sugar, saturated fat and salt and in England children are eating nearly three times the recommended amount of sugar. Surprisingly, half the sugar they consume comes from snacks and sugary drinks.

Eating too much sugar can lead to harmful fat building up inside and serious health problems, including painful tooth decay.

To help reduce the amount of sugar children are consuming Change4Life is encouraging parents to choose healthier snacks choices for them by introducing a new simple tip – ‘Look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day max.’

You can also sign up to join Change4Life to receive money-off vouchers for healthier snacks and helpful tips and ideas.

Visit the Change4Life website for more details.


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Work being carried out at Southgate House

Wiltshire CCG would like to announce that NSH Property Services will be working in Southgate House, Pans Lane after normal working hours for one week beginning on Monday 22 January 2018.

Contractors are likely to be on site until 2.30am daily and whilst this work is being carried out noise will be kept to a minimum.

Accessing healthcare in Wiltshire over the Christmas bank holiday

With some health services closing for a few days over the bank holiday, it’s vital that people who need help from NHS services get the advice they need from the right person, in the right place, at the right time.

Ask your pharmacist
Pharmacists are experts in many areas of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets. You don’t need an appointment to see a pharmacist and many have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call if you’re feeling unwell. Your pharmacist will tell you if you need further medical attention.
Call 111
If your GP surgery is closed and you’re not sure where to go then you should make a free phone call to NHS 111, which is available 24/7. An adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms and then give you the advice you need, or direct you to the best service for you in your area.
A&E and 999 are for life threatening emergencies
A&E departments and the ambulance service are for life threatening emergencies such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attacks, breathing difficulties or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. A&E is likely to be extremely busy over the holidays with long waiting times, so please call NHS 111 for advice first if you are not sure where to go.

Your local services

Opening times for your local GP and pharmacy services are available below. Please note that these times are subject to change.


Bradford on Avon/Devizes/Melksham/Trowbridge/Warminster/Westbury
Corsham/Calne/Chippenham/Malmesbury/Cricklade/Marlborough/Pewsey/Purton/Royal Wootton Bassett

GP Surgeries

GP Surgeries opening times

NHS Wiltshire asks patients to plan ahead and order their repeat prescriptions before Christmas

Many GP practices and pharmacies will have limited opening hours between Christmas and New Year, so Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is reminding patients to plan ahead to ensure they have enough medication to last over the festive break.

Alex Goddard, Deputy Head of Medicines Management at Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said,
“As you get ready for Christmas, the last thing on your mind might be to check that you have enough medicine.  However being prepared is important to ensure that you have enough of the medication you need. “Because of the bank holidays and the amount of winter illnesses circulating at this time of year, your GP practice and pharmacy may be busier than normal. Ordering your prescription early means you can save yourself some time and help to ease the pressure on the NHS.”

Ordering and collecting new prescriptions can take several days, which is why patients are being urged to plan ahead. Prescriptions can be ordered by patients visiting, or phoning their pharmacy or GP practice, with some practices offering a quick and easy online ordering system.

Seven Wiltshire practices also use the Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) service, which allows patients to order their repeat prescriptions over the phone then collect them from a pharmacy.

These are:

  • Lovemead Group Practice
  • Giffords Surgery
  • Castle Practice
  • White Horse Health Centre
  • Avenue Surgery
  • Tinkers Lane Surgery
  • New Court Surgery
Alex continued,
“The last thing we want for our patients is having their bank holiday spoilt by not being able to take regular medication. Check now that you have enough daily medication to see you through the break.  If you don’t, call into your pharmacist, local GP or ring the POD so that you get your repeat prescription in good time.”

Visit the Prescription Ordering Direct page for more information.

Joy as Wiltshire charity named UK’s Best dementia Care team

A Wiltshire charity is celebrating after being told it has the best dementia care team in the UK.

The Support at Home team at Alzheimer’s Support won the Best Team category at the prestigious Dementia Care Awards 2017.

The team, which provides highly personalised, one-to-one companionship and support to people living with dementia across Wiltshire, comprises 65 support workers and eight care coordinators. They visit people in their own homes and take them on outings, building up a strong rapport with clients and helping them stay active in their communities for as long as possible.

Registered Services Manager Sally Haddrell-Jenks, who accepted the award on behalf of the team, said:
“I am absolutely thrilled to be receiving this on behalf of our wonderful colleagues who do so much to support people living with dementia in Wiltshire. The important work we do is very much ‘behind the scenes’ so it is wonderful for the team to get this recognition.”
CEO Babs Harris said:
“I am bursting with pride. Our small Wiltshire outfit stood out amongst all the large, national, and well-funded organisations and what came through was the dedication, understanding and love that our colleagues show every day in their work.”
Joanne Armstrong, from Devizes, who cares for her husband Robin said: 
 “This is so well deserved. The service from Alzheimer’s Support has been wonderful. I cannot speak highly enough of the support worker who comes to us at home. He understands our needs.”

The award was handed over by former Emmerdale actor John Middleton at a ceremony in Doncaster as part of the National Dementia Congress.

The judges’ citation said:
“Support at Home was chosen because the team is making a tangible difference every day to people in their own homes. Even though the support workers work with clients individually, there is an immense feeling of belonging and team identity. There’s been huge investment in team development and support which has been acknowledged and spread across Wiltshire.”
Ted Wilson, Community and Joint Commissioning Director said:
‘We are really proud of Alzheimer’s Support.  They have considerable engagement and commitment and allow people with dementia to take an active part in the community and participate in meaningful activities.  We highly commend the level of support they give to people, and are absolutely dedicated to ensuring that the people they support lead full and happy lives.”


December 2017


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As winter takes hold, we’ve focused this edition of ‘in touch’ on articles offering you advice on how you can help you and your loved ones to stay well during the colder weather.

Winter can be challenging, with the cold and damp weather making us more vulnerable to illness, particularly flu, so it’s really important to take care of your health. If you’re eligible for a free flu jab and haven’t had it yet, pop along to your local pharmacist, or make an appointment with your GP to have it. 

We also know how worrying it can be when your child falls ill, even more so when your local surgery is closed. We’ve launched a new out of hours GP service for children under 10 years in South Wiltshire. It’s at Salisbury Walk in Centre and parents can book a same day appointment for their child by calling NHS 111.

We also support a free mobile app called HANDi app which provides expert advice to parents and carers on common childhood illnesses – download it free from the ITunes App Store and Google Play Store.

Since our last newsletter we have been out and about in Wiltshire talking to you about diabetes. Your feedback will help us to design and provide a diabetes toolkit for helping you to manage your diabetics at home.

Keep well this winter and enjoy the festive season!


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In the news!

Out of hours service for children in South Wiltshire

An out of hours GP service for children aged 0 – 10 years in Salisbury and South Wiltshire means parents can now book a same day appointment to see a GP at the Salisbury Walk in health centre.

The extended service will provide out of hours GP health advice and treatment for minor illnesses and injuries from Monday to Friday between 6.30pm – 10pm, and will provide parents with a local alternative to A&E when their child is ill.

Parents should ring 111 to access the service. 

Virgin Care’s Wiltshire Children’s Community Services complete moves to hubs


Wiltshire Children’s Community Services, run by Virgin Care, has completed its move to four new, purpose designed spaces dedicated for both colleagues and children and families in Wiltshire, which delivers a milestone on the organisations plans in implementing its five year roadmap to deliver improvements in patient care. 

These sites will be where patient-centred care is organised and coordinated, while service delivery will be either in universal settings such as schools, children’s centres, families own homes or Virgin Care’s dedicated clinical space.

Ted Wilson, Community and Joint Commissioning Director of Wiltshire CCG, said: “We are pleased the move to the four community hubs in Wiltshire will enable children’s community health staff to provide coordinated, person-centred care, designed around the individual needs of the children and to support them when they need help.”


Patients have a responsibility to be ‘fit, willing and able’

Wiltshire patients are being encouraged to be ‘fit, willing and able’ this winter to ensure planned outpatient clinics and operations run as smoothly as possible over the winter period. 

We are working with GPs and hospital clinicians across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire to help guide patients through their treatment pathways and in turn reduce the number of instances where patients do not turn up for their appointments, or decline required appointments, or dates for planned operations. 

The campaign focuses on ensuring patients are:

Fit – aware of their planned treatment and are in their best health to get the maximum benefit from it.  This can include maintaining a healthy weight and stopping smoking.

Willing – clear about what their treatment entails and are willing to sign up to it at the outset

Able – committed to attending future appointments and understand that this may require flexibility on their part.

Read more news articles here.

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Have your say!

Make a difference: join your Patient Participation Group

Would you like to get involved and make a difference to the care patients receive?

Your GP surgery has its own team of people who provide a voice for all patients on the practice’s list and work with the doctors and practice staff to improve the way things are run.  

That team is called a PPG – a Patient Participation Group.

Just ask at reception at your GP surgery to find out how you could join your PPG.

Have your say on the organ donor ‘opt out’ consultation

People who donate their organs and tissue after they die help save thousands of lives in England each year. However, 3 people die a day due to lack of suitable organs. Under current rules, a person who has died can only be an organ donor if they have agreed to it when they were alive.

If the law changes, people will be considered willing to be an organ donor unless they have opted out.  This would increase the number of organs donated and save more lives.


The Department of Health’s ‘opt out’ consultation is now live – take a few minutes to share your views on the proposed new rules.


Diabetes Feedback

Thanks to all who completed our online diabetes survey featured in last month’s newsletter, did you spot our team speaking to patients about diabetes in supermarkets in Chippenham, Trowbridge and Salisbury? The team are now working on the diabetes resource pack which will be available in Spring 2018. 

Knowledge is the key to successfully managing your diabetes, our free patient education programmes are available for Type 1 and Type 2  patients and  take place all over the county so there’s bound to be one near you, speak to your diabetes Doctor or Nurse for information on how to book.

Feedback from participants on the Type 1 Freedom For Life course said:

  • “Can vary meals more – some meals more carbohydrate: some meals less”
  • “Support and at last, some help”
  • “Not as anxious about eating a variety of foods.  More knowledge, more freedom”

This is what recent participants have said about our Type 2 X-pert course:

  • “A very informative programme which has already aided management of my diabetes by better information about diet.”
  • “A very interesting and informative course which was presented in a friendly and easy to understand manner. Many thanks to all presenters.”
  • “Excellent course. I have gained so much from your sessions. Thank you.”

 Support to prevent Type 2 Diabetes

The National Diabetes Prevention Programme has been launched in Wiltshire. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is not linked to lifestyle, however, Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through lifestyle changes. If you are identified at risk of becoming diabetic your GP can refer you to the programme where you will be supported to maintain a healthy weight and be more active, and significantly reduce the risk of developing the condition.

Diabetes Myth of the month: People with diabetes should eat 'diabetic' foods
‘Diabetic’ labelling tends to be used on sweets, biscuits and similar foods that are generally high in fat, especially saturated fat and calories. Diabetes UK does not recommend eating ‘diabetic’ foods, including diabetic chocolate, because they still affect your blood glucose levels, they are expensive and they can give you diarrhoea. So, if you are going to treat yourself – you should go for the real thing.

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Campaign – Stay well this winter

Winter can be seriously bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 or older and people with long term conditions.

The cold and damp weather, ice, snow and high winds can all aggravate any existing health problems and make us more vulnerable to illnesses that are more common in winter.

We have put together some handy information to help you stay well this winter.

Have you had your flu vaccination?
Flu strikes in winter and can be far more serious than you think – it can lead to serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia and in some instances it can be deadly.

That’s why it’s important that people who are at increased risk from flu, have their free flu vaccination.

If you are:

Aged 65 or over
Have a long term health condition
Living in a residential care home
A carer Living with someone who is immunocompromised
Are a frontline health or social care worker

This year more children are being vaccinated, and children over 6 months old with a long term health condition, and children aged two and three are offered the vaccination in general practice.

Children in reception class and school years 1, 2 3 & 4 will be offered the vaccine at school.

If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccination and not yet had it, speak to your surgery and make an appointment today!


Keeping warm as the temperature drops!

It’s important to keep warm in winter – both indoors and outdoors

Heat your home to at least 18C (65F) 
especially if you are not very mobile, are 65 or over, or have a health condition 
during the day you may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer

Keep your bedroom window closed at night 
breathing cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest conditions

Keep active when you are indoors 
try not to sit still for more than an hour or so, get up and stretch your legs
even moderate exercise can help keep you warm

Wear several layers of light clothes 
light layers trap warm air better than one bulky layer and help to maintain body heat

Draw your curtains at dusk, and keep doors closed 
to block out draughts and keep the warm in

Have at least one hot meal a day 
eating regularly helps to keep you warm; and make sure you have lots of hot drinks


Make sure you are receiving all the help you are entitled to – Warm and Safe Wiltshire


Get advice from your pharmacist

Winter can make existing health problems worse, so if you feel you are coming down with something, even if it’s just a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets worse – act quickly and get advice from a pharmacist.

Pharmacists are fully qualified to advise you on the best course of action when you start to feel unwell, and this can be the best and quickest way to help you recover and feel healthy.

Most pharmacies now have a private consultation area, so you can discuss your health issues in confidence and you don’t need to make an appointment.


Is your medicine cabinet fit for the winter?
Be prepared for common ailments by keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet at home.Always keep medicines out of the reach and sight of children


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Small changes can help you and your loved ones stay well this winter

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging local people to follow eight simple steps to help them stay well over the winter months, as part of the national awareness week for Self Care.

Self Care Week runs from 13-19 November 2017 and focuses on helping people to help look after themselves better when it comes to their health.

Dr Lindsay Kinlin, a GP from The Avenue Surgery in Warminster, said:
 “Self care is about taking responsibility for your health and we’re encouraging Wiltshire people to make small changes to help them and their families to stay well over the festive period.”

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s eight self care tips for Winter are:

S – see your pharmacist at the first sign of illness

Pharmacists are not only medicine experts, they can also offer advice and information on a range of minor illnesses and injuries. If you start to feel unwell this winter, even if it is just a cough or cold, get advice from your pharmacist before it gets more serious.

E – eat plenty of fruit and vegetables

A healthy diet is vital for your wellbeing, so try and eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

L – learn more about around the clock healthcare services in Wiltshire

In Wiltshire there are many options available for when you need medical advice and treatment. Consider all of the choices available to help you make the right decision about where to go.

F – find out if you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine

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.

C – check in on your neighbours

Winter can be dangerous for elderly people, so checking they have enough supplies will mean they don’t need to go out in bad weather.

A – arrange to pick up your prescription

Many pharmacies and GP surgeries will be closed or have reduced working hours over the festive period. If you require a repeat prescription, make sure you order it in plenty of time.

R – restock your medicine cabinet

Looking after yourself when you’re feeling under the weather with a minor illness is easy if you already have a medicine cabinet stocked with painkillers, oral rehydration salts, anti-diarrhoea tables, antihistamines, indigestion treatments and a first aid kit.

E – ensure you stay warm

Cold weather can be very harmful and increase the risk of heart attacks, stroke and chest infections. Try and heat your home to at least 18°C and have a least one hot meal a day to stay warm.

Dr Kinlin continues,
”During winter our health services are put under a lot of pressure. By taking personal responsibility for our health and following our self care tips, we can help to free up valuable practitioner time, allowing us to focus on those people who need us the most.”

Find out more about small changes you can make to stay well this winter by visiting www.wiltshireccg,

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Protect your unborn baby this winter with a free flu jab

The immune system is naturally lower during pregnancy, so if you were to catch the flu it could become serious very quickly.  Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging all pregnant women to get the free flu vaccination this winter.

Flu can cause many complications during pregnancy, particularly in the later stages and in some cases it can lead to still birth or death in the first week of life.

Dr Lindsay Kinlin, GP at the Avenue Surgery in Warminster said,
“Flu can make otherwise healthy people feel very poorly and I would urge any lady who is pregnant to get the flu vaccination as soon as possible.  During pregnancy a women’s immune system is naturally lower to ensure that the pregnancy is successful.  As a result, pregnant women are less able to fight off infections and therefore more likely to be seriously ill if they contract the flu virus.”

The flu vaccination is the best protection against flu.  It is recommended during any stage in pregnancy, from the first few weeks through to the due date.  Keeping fit and healthy in pregnancy is important for your baby’s growth and development.

Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.

Dr Kinlin, added,
“Even if you have had the flu vaccination in previous years it is important to get it again because the type of virus in circulation changes every year, so the vaccine changes too.”

If you are pregnant, you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge.  It’s free because you need it.

Ask your midwife or GP about the flu vaccination now.  You can book an appointment at your GP practice or visit your local pharmacy.

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


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


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


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.