Help the NHS help you this winter by taking simple steps

People living in Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), Swindon and Wiltshire are being urged to do their bit to help the NHS cope with an increase in demand for services this winter.

As the season gets underway and Christmas approaches, health and care leaders from across the region are asking people to do as much as they can to stay healthy to avoid any unnecessary hospital stays at such a busy time.

We can all help ourselves by following some simple advice:

  • If you’re eligible, get your flu vaccination from your general practice or pharmacy to protect yourself against catching flu this winter. There’s still time.
  • If you start to feel unwell, even just from a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious – get help from your pharmacist straight away. The sooner you get advice the better – pharmacists are here to help you stay well this winter.
  • If you’ve been prescribed medication, don’t forget to pick up your prescription before the Christmas holidays start. Many GPs and pharmacies will close over the bank holidays. Stock up on any over-the-counter medicines you might need over the festive period.
  • If you do need help over the holiday period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 to get the right medical attention urgently or visit which can direct you to a local service that is open
  • Finally, older neighbours, relatives, friends and other elderly members of the community are more vulnerable in the winter months and may need a bit of extra help. You can help them by keeping in touch, checking if they are feeling under the weather, helping them stock up on food supplies and making sure they have the necessary medication before the Christmas holidays start.
Dr Ian Orpen, a GP based in Bath and chair of B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire STP’s Clinical Board, said:

“As winter gets well and truly underway, health and care services in B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire will begin to experience an increase in demand, so the more our residents can do to stay well this winter and help reduce that pressure, the better.

Taking simple steps such as making sure you have a flu jab, seeing a pharmacist rather than ignoring minor ailments, calling 111 for urgent medical help and ensuring you have a supply of any over the counter medications before the Christmas holidays will really help.

It’s also important that everyone uses the service that is right for their health and care needs. During the winter, hospitals and A&E departments can get very busy – so calling 111 or visiting your pharmacist or GP can make all the difference in making sure that the NHS works most effectively and hospitals are more easily able to treat those with serious conditions or injuries.”

The winter advice has been issued by the B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership and is part of a new NHS and Public Health England campaign called Help Us Help You.

The campaign aims to help make it easier for the public to understand the things they can do to manage their own health and get the best out of the NHS. By following the expert advice of NHS staff, the public can stay well; prevent an illness getting worse; take the best course of action; and get well again sooner.

Christmas Opening Times for Wiltshire Pharmacies

Opening times for your local pharmacy services for the festive period (21 December – 1 January)  are available below.
Please note that these times are subject to change.

Click on the relevant region to bring up the list of pharmacy opening times for your area:


Click here for the downloadable PDF or view the Pharmacy opening times below



Click here for the downloadable PDF or view the Pharmacy opening times below



Click here for the downloadable PDF or view the Pharmacy opening times below




December 2018

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As the leaves start to fall and the nights draw in we know that winter is upon us. The colder weather always brings increased pressure on the NHS, with services stretched and staff working harder than ever to manage the influx of patients.

This winter we are asking you to Help Us Help You. The more you can do to prepare for winter and take care of yourself when it does turn cold, the less likely it is that you will end up in A&E or in hospital. Right now, the single best thing you can do to protect yourself and others this winter is to get a flu vaccination.

You can have your flu jab at your GP surgery or local pharmacy and for those who are most at risk of suffering serious consequences if they catch the flu, the vaccination is free – it is free because you need it.

In line with the national GP Access directive, we have increased the availability of GP appointments at evenings and weekends across Wiltshire, to ensure that everyone has access to a GP or a health professional when they need it. This is being managed by the Wiltshire GP Alliance and you can read more about both of these initiatives in this newsletter.

Across the NHS in Wiltshire, we are working hard and working together to deliver health services as best we can over the winter months. We’ve produced this handy clock infographic to show you, your family and friends what services are available in Wiltshire. If you use the right services at the right time, it will make it easier for us to help you when you really need it.

With Christmas just around the corner I would like to thank all our staff for their hard work and dedication over the year – I hope you find some time to relax and enjoy a well-earned break.

Wishing you a happy and healthy festive season!

Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer

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Improved access to GPs

From 1 October 2018 people registered with a Wiltshire practice can book routine appointments to see a GP, practice nurse or other health professional in the evenings from 6.30pm to 8pm, and at weekends and Bank Holidays.

Across the population of Wiltshire there is an additional 235 hours per week of clinical time in this move to improve access to health services.

To use the service you just need to call your GP Practice. You won’t always be able to see your registered GP and may need to go to a different local practice in your area to take up the after-hours and weekend appointments.

Read our news article about improved access to GPs to find out more.


GPs working together

The Wiltshire GP Alliance (WGPA) was established in April 2018 and is a not-for-profit group made up of almost all the GPs across Wiltshire. It aims to help practices work better together to improve GP resilience, and stimulate and share improvements – for instance with availability of GP appointments – across the county.

WGPA are managing the improved access provision in Wiltshire which means surgeries are now working together to provide extra appointments in the evening and at weekends.

The alliance is still in its early days but they aim to provide more services ‘at scale’ by supporting genuine cooperation between practices, and help stabilise the workforce, and facilitate transformation to solve problems in health and care.
Marlborough News Online published an article about the GP Alliance which includes comment from GP Dr Lindsay Kinlin who is part of the alliance team.


A move for the Salisbury Walk-in Centre

On 1 October 2018 the Salisbury Walk-in Centre moved a few metres away to its new location within Millstream Medical Centre. The move, which does not affect the services offered by the walk-in facility means that the Walk-in Centre gains more space for patients who need to use the service.

You can read more about the move in our news article.


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Read more news from Wiltshire CCG in our news archive.

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Be Involved!

Transforming Maternity Services Together

As part of our local maternity system, we are consulting the general public on our proposal to transform maternity services across Bath and North East Somerset (BaNES), Swindon and Wiltshire. Our proposal has been developed by all the NHS organisations that plan and buy health services as well as those that provide or manage maternity services across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire. Over last 18 months, these organisations have worked with more than 2000 women and families, staff, and partner organisations to look at ways we can improve the services we provide to mothers and families across the region. We want to provide:

  • More equal access to the different birthing options available to women
  • Improved personalised care so we listen to and understand what women want
  • Continuity of care to improve the relationship between mother, family and midwife
  • Improved community support to provide targeted care close to home
  • Integrated and seamless care regardless of where and how women choose to give birth.

This consultation period runs from 12 November 2018 until 24 February 2019.

Find out more on the consultation website and have your say on the proposals by completing the online survey.


Urgent GP appointments

We want to hear your views on accessing urgent GP appointments – appointments that are booked on the day and are for patients who have health problems which cannot wait for a routine appointment.

Tell us what you think by completing the short survey on our website.

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Help Us Help You

This year’s winter health campaigns are all about us working together to ensure we all do our best to stay fit and healthy, which collectively will help to reduce pressure on the NHS over winter.

Help Us Help You talks about the self-care steps you can take to stay well this winter like getting a flu jab; encourages you to talk to your pharmacist if you start to feel unwell; and reminds you to call 111 for urgent (but not life-threatening) medical assistance.

Visit our campaign pages to find out more about Help Us Help You.


Keep Antibiotics Working

Public Health England’s ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign is back, reminding you that taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk.

Antibiotics are essential for treating serious bacterial infections, but they are frequently being used to treat illnesses such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves. Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.

It’s important that, when it comes to antibiotics, you always take your doctor, nurse or healthcare professional’s advice.

For more information, visit:


Self care this winter

To help you know what simple steps you can take to help keep well over the winter months we have developed this easy-to-use eight step guide.

To find out more about Staying Well This Winter, and to download the self care infographic, visit


Free guides available to support the health and wellbeing of older people and carers

NHS England has co-produced free guides that provide older people with practical advice to support healthy ageing and caring.

The Healthy Ageing and Healthy Caring guides provide information to older people and carers about staying healthy, fit and independent during the winter months. They identify the support that’s available to help maintain health and wellbeing and which can help older people and carers to stay out of hospital.

The guides have been co-produced with AGE UK, Fire Rescue Service, Carers UK, Carers Trust, Public Heath England, carers networks and people with lived experience including older people. They are part of NHS England’s long term ambition to support older people and carers to look after their own health.

Both these free guides are A4 magazine-style publications that can be ordered in any quantity and delivered for free. Order by calling 0300 123 1002, quoting reference HC2, for the healthy caring, or HA2 for the healthy living guide, or online at


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More Primary Care Appointments across B&NES Swindon and Wiltshire will help tackle increased demand for Health Services this winter

It will be much easier for people living in Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), Swindon and Wiltshire to book an appointment to see a GP, nurse or other health professional during the evenings and weekends this winter thanks to a new initiative to help health and care providers across the region cope with increased demand for services.

As winter begins, surgeries and practices have made it easier for people to book appointments at a number of surgeries across the region at times ranging from 6pm-9pm during weekdays and 8am to 12 noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

The new initiative to make it easier to see a GP or nurse is part of a range of measures introduced across the B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership to ensure people stay well, stay out of hospital and help reduce the increase in demand for health and care services during the winter months.

Other initiatives include encouraging eligible patients to take up the offer of a free flu jab, highlighting the importance of talking to a local pharmacist for advice before minor ailments or winter illnesses get worse and raising awareness of the NHS 111 telephone and online service, which directs patients to the most appropriate service.

Dr Ian Orpen, a GP based in Bath and chair of B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire STP’s Clinical Board, said:

“Offering people across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire an opportunity to see a GP or nurse at a time that is convenient for them is good news for patients this winter and we hope will help relieve some of the pressures faced by other hard-pressed areas of the health service such as urgent and emergency care.

“Many people across our region find it hard to access GP appointments during normal appointment times and this initiative will be an enormous help to them.

“Winter is always a challenging time for the health service and it’s important that people in our region avoid getting unwell as far as they possibly can. Ultimately, we want to ensure that people who are most at risk of preventable emergency admissions to hospital over winter are aware of and, where possible, motivated to take actions that avoid that happening.”

Dr Andrew Smith, Chief Executive Officer of B&NES Enhanced Medical Services (BEMS), a local GP federation which is currently providing extra appointments on behalf of 19 practices across BaNES with the remaining five to offer the service within the next two weeks, said:

“It is fantastic that people living across the region will be able to access routine appointments at times that suit them best. Patients may need to attend a different GP surgery to the one they usually go to, but staff of the services will have access to their full medical records. To access the full range of appointments, patients will need to book with their usual practice, by phone, during normal working hours.”

Proposal to close St Damian’s Surgery in Melksham

Increased demands on healthcare services and the national shortage of GPs are having an impact on primary care across the UK and in Wiltshire. The Bradford on Avon and Melksham Health Partnership (BoAMHP) have been unable to recruit enough clinicians following the retirement of three full-time GP partners and have sought approval to close St Damian’s Surgery in Melksham.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group Chair said:
“We understand the challenges facing primary care, particularly around recruitment of clinical staff. BoAMHP has sought approval to close its branch surgery in Melksham because, despite their best efforts, the partners feel unable to maintain a full range of patient services at all of their sites.”
Dr Janice Patrick, Senior Partner at Bradford on Avon and Melksham Health Partnership said:
“This has been a very difficult decision for us to take. Over the past year we have put a lot of measures in place to try and maintain the surgery at St Damian’s, but we find ourselves in a position where we cannot continue to provide a service in Melksham with the resources we have available to us.

“BoAMHP is keen to continue to provide services to as many of the St Damian’s registered patients as wish to stay with their current GP, should our proposal to close the surgery at St Damian’s be approved. We are writing to all St Damian’s patients to explain to them what the proposed closure would mean for them.”

St Damian’s patients who want to continue to see a GP in Melksham would need to register with Giffords Surgery or Spa Medical Centre after the decision is made about the practice closure, in the New Year.

Patients who have questions or would like further information about the proposed closure should contact St Damian’s Surgery.

Transforming Maternity Services Together

A proposal to transform maternity services across Bath and North East Somerset (BANES), Swindon and Wiltshire has been shared with the general public for their consideration today, Monday 12 November.

The proposal has been developed after listening to the views of women, families and staff over the last two years by all the NHS organisations that plan and buy health services as well as those that provide or manage maternity services across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire. Together these organisations make up the Local Maternity System.

Lucy Baker, Acting Director for Maternity Services at Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group
and Lead Director for the project said:
“Our proposal is the result of feedback gained from listening to over 2,000 women and families, staff, midwives, obstetricians and others with an interest in maternity services to look at ways we can improve the services we provide to mothers and families across the region. To do that, we need to make some changes to how we currently do things”.
Lucy added:
“Our proposal would allow us to provide more choice for more women across our area about where and how they are supported before, during and after the birth of their baby, and allows us to make more efficient use of our resources and workforce so we can further improve our antenatal and post-natal and birthing services. We also want to ensure we are delivering the services that can meet the changing needs of our local women and families both now and in the future.

“Despite the financial pressures facing the NHS locally and nationally, we are not planning to reduce how much we spend on maternity services, nor are we proposing to reduce the amount of staff we have or to close any buildings.”

The proposal addresses the issues posed by changes to the population. The average age of a woman giving birth in the UK is now 35. More and more women are experiencing high risk pregnancies (for example, because of high blood pressure, obesity or diabetes) which means they need to be supported in a hospital setting with an expert medical team available. The combination of these factors means there is vastly increased pressure on services at the Obstetric Units at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, Great Western Hospital in Swindon and Salisbury District Hospital.  

In addition, many women with a low risk pregnancy are choosing to have their babies in an Obstetric Unit because they are worried about having to move by ambulance to another site during or after their labour if they need the help of a doctor. Women need a safe, convenient alternative so staff at the three obstetric units at Bath, Salisbury and Swindon hospitals can focus on mothers who really need their care.

Sarah Merritt, Head of Nursing and Midwifery at Royal United Hospital, Bath, said:
“Some of the changes we are proposing are because, particularly at the RUH, certain services are underused and we are often staffing empty buildings and beds. 85% of women give birth in one of the three Obstetric Units with fewer than 6% giving birth across our four Freestanding Midwifery Units in Chippenham, Trowbridge, Paulton and Frome.

“We believe we have the right number and mix of staff but they’re not based in the right locations to ensure efficient use of our resources and provide women with the services they need.

“In our Freestanding Midwifery Units – particularly at night – staff are covering areas even when there are no or very few births. On average only one baby is delivered every two or three days in each of these units but they need to be staffed to support births 24 hours a day seven days a week.”

The plans have been developed to ensure services are efficient and sustainable to support future population growth, changes in housing policy, and the repatriation of military personnel to South Wiltshire from April 2019.

The proposal offers the following:

  • To continue to support births in two, rather than four, of our Freestanding Midwifery Units across Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon. Women will still be able to have their baby in Chippenham and Frome Freestanding Midwifery Units, and antenatal and postnatal clinics will continue to be provided in all four – at Chippenham, Frome, Paulton and Trowbridge as well as all other current locations e.g. GP practices. A detailed travel impact analysis was undertaken to inform our proposal to continue supporting births in two of the Freestanding Midwifery Units.
  • To create two new Alongside Midwifery Units, one at Salisbury District Hospital and one at the Royal United Hospital, which will provide more women with the opportunity to have a midwife-led birth. These two units will be in addition to the White Horse Birth Centre that already exists at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon.
  • To improve the range of antenatal and postnatal services, for example by providing more breastfeeding support to women in their own homes. We also want to support more women to give birth at home if this is their preferred choice.
  • To replace the nine community postnatal beds (four at Chippenham and five at Paulton Freestanding Midwifery Units) with support closer to or in women’s homes. Women who need to be admitted for medical treatment after giving birth would be treated in their local Obstetric Unit at one of our acute hospitals in Bath, Salisbury and Swindon.
  • 95% of the time post-natal beds in our Freestanding Midwifery Units are empty as women rarely need to stay in a community hospital after giving birth.
  • 89 antenatal or post-natal beds are available at our Obstetric Units for women who need them

Once the public consultation has closed, the responses will be carefully and independently analysed and the results used to help the Governing Bodies of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups make a final decision by Spring 2019.

Lucy Baker said:
“Our proposal is just that – a proposal. It addresses what women and staff have told us they think will work, but we want to hear people’s views and encourage them to have their say.

“The consultation will run from 12 November 2018 until 24 February 2019, to enable plenty of time for people to give their views.

“We will make the consultation results available to the public and explain how their feedback has helped shape our plans. We are aiming to make our final decision in Spring 2019.”

Find out more on our consultation webpage.

All the consultation information and documents, including ways to get involved and to provide feedback will be available online from Monday 12 November, at:

Helping each other to stay well this winter

Today is the start of Self Care Week and Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group are encouraging people to be well-prepared ahead of winter by taking simple steps to look after themselves and helping their families, friends and neighbours to do the same.

This year, the theme for Self Care Week is ‘Choose Self Care for Life’ and preparing now for the winter ahead will help people, particularly those who are elderly or vulnerable, to stay as well as possible.

This means trying to stay active even when the weather is colder, and eating a balanced diet. Wiltshire Council’s health trainers can help people every step of the way – the service is for people aged 18 + and is free. They can also help you find other services and activities to keep you healthy and well over winter.

For more information visit or call 0300 003 4566.

There are also benefits and grants available to help with energy efficiency, such as cavity wall insulation to help keep homes warm. Call Warm & Safe Wiltshire on 0800 038 5722 or visit for more information.

Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health, said:
“It’s also sensible to check on vulnerable neighbours and relatives and ensure they have everything they need to stay safe and warm. Sometimes, simply offering to do the shopping for someone can make a big difference.

“There is a lot of support available to help people to stay safe, healthy, warm and out of hospital this winter and beyond.”

NHS Wiltshire CCG has created an easy-to-use eight-step guide, to help people know what simple steps they can take to help keep themselves well over the winter months.

S – see your pharmacist at first sign of illness

E – eat plenty of fruit and vegetables

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

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

C – check in on your neighbours

A – arrange to pick up your prescription

R – restock your medicine cabinet 

E – ensure you stay warm

Dr Andrew Girdher, GP at Box Surgery, explains:
“We’re encouraging people to be proactive with their own self-care, to help them stay as healthy as possible and to know where to go if they do need health care advice.

“Healthcare services are put under enormous pressure over the winter months and by doing what you can to look after yourself where you can, helps to free up valuable practitioner time to see those people who really need to be seen.”

Flu season is approaching – get your flu jab now

The clocks have gone back which means winter is on its way. And with winter comes flu. On average, flu kills around 8,000 people a year in England. Getting a flu vaccination is the single best way to protect yourself and others against the flu.

You can have your flu jab at your GP surgery or local pharmacy and for those who are most at risk of suffering serious consequences if they catch the flu, the vaccination is free – it’s free because you need it.

Dr Andrew Girdher, a GP at Box Surgery who had the flu last year, is encouraging those who need the vaccination, to have it:
“For the first time last winter I felt what it was like to experience flu and having a flu jab is definitely on my list of ‘must dos’ at the moment.
“Flu certainly knocked me for six – I had to take five days off work, the first time in 25 years, and I missed the surgery Christmas party. I’m someone who is very fit and active but once I got sick, I was physically unable to get out of my house, even getting out of bed was a challenge.
“People owe it to themselves to get a flu jab before winter, to protect their own health but also to protect the health of their family, work colleagues and friends from the debilitating effects of the flu.
“I also urge all patient-facing workers in health and social care to ensure they get a flu vaccination to reduce the risk to themselves and their patients this winter.”

People who are eligible for a free flu vaccination include:

  • Adults aged 65 and over
  • Adults aged 18-64 with long-term conditions such as COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, heart, kidney or liver disease
    or those who have had a stroke
  • Pregnant women
  • Children aged 2-3 years
  • Children in school years: reception, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
  • Carers
  • Health and social care workers.

Get your flu vaccination from your GP practice, or pharmacy before the end of November 2018 to help protect you and those around you this winter.

Flu is a highly infectious illness characterised by a fever, chills, headache, aching muscles and joint paint and fatigue. For most healthy people, flu symptoms can make you feel exhausted and unwell so that you have to stay in bed and rest until you get better.

If you think you may have the flu, stay at home and rest until you feel better. Call NHS 111 if you have an underlying health condition or feel really unwell.

Weekend and evening GP appointments available from 1 October

Wiltshire’s GP Practices are working together to offer people better access to GP appointments in Wiltshire. This means people who are registered with a Wiltshire practice will be able to see a GP, Practice nurse or other health professional at a time which is most convenient for them.

From 1st October 2018, people will be able to pre-book routine appointments to see a GP, practice nurse or other health professional based at Wiltshire GP practices in the evenings from 6.30pm to 8pm, and at weekends and Bank Holidays. In total, an additional 235 hours per week of additional clinical time will be available to 100% of the Wiltshire population.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chairman of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“This is a Wiltshire-wide initiative, and means that patients who would like an evening appointment, or who need to be seen by a GP at the weekend, can book appointments at a practice in their local area. The appointment offered may not be at your usual practice, but you will not have to travel very far for your appointment. It’s only through groups of GP practices collaborating together that we’ve been able to ensure all Wiltshire patients have this option”.

Appointment types will vary – some being face-to-face, some on the phone – and there will be a mixture of bookable and same-day appointments available across the week. Patients will be triaged to ensure they see the most appropriate healthcare professional who can best deal with their needs, so appointments may also be with a nurse practitioner or a practice nurse. Some appointments will be conducted over the phone, where appropriate.

Dr Lindsay Kinlin, who has led the Wiltshire initiative, said:
“Whatever your local area of Wiltshire, appointments will be offered as usual during the week, but you can be seen at any participating surgery during the evening or weekend. People can book a weekend or evening appointment by contacting their usual surgery during normal opening times. Your practice will explain the process, and ensure the booking is appropriate for your need. We will also request your consent to allow us to share your medical records with the practice where your appointment is due to be. More information is available on your usual GP surgery’s website”.
Dr Richard Sandford-Hill added:
“We will be providing access to primary care services during peak times of demand, including bank holidays and across the Christmas, New Year and Easter periods, but the key is to book through your normal GP surgery. This is not a walk-in service, and patients will only be seen if they have pre-booked their appointment or if they have been advised to see a GP by the 111 service and have been booked in”.

Salisbury Walk in Centre moves to Millstream Medical Centre

From 1 October 2018, Salisbury Walk in Centre will be co-located with Millstream Medical Centre, just seven metres away from its previous setting in the Central Health Clinic.

The move, which does not affect the services offered by the walk-in facility, means that the Salisbury Walk in Centre gains more space to see patients who need to use the service.

Anna Morton, Managing Partner at Millstream Medical Centre explains:
“The decision to move the Walk in Centre to Millstream Medical Centre was an easy one. We have the space and it’s a bigger area, so there’s more room available for clinicians to run the service. And for those people who need to use the Walk in Centre it’s still really accessible, just a few metres away from the Central Health Clinic and has the large central car park close by.”

Patients of Millstream Medical Centre are not affected by the co-location of the Salisbury Walk in Centre, which will operate when the Practice is closed. People can use the walk-in service from 6.30-10pm on week days and from 8am-8pm at weekends, including bank holidays.

Anna continues:
“We’ve made some modifications to Millstream Medical Centre to accommodate the Walk in Centre, including new signage to help people know where to go when they arrive, a separate waiting area and dedicated consultation rooms.”

The walk-in service provides convenient access to flexible health services and is run by a team of experienced clinicians. It is run on a first-come first-served basis unless someone is acutely unwell and needs immediate medical attention.

For more information about the Salisbury Walk in Centre, visit

August 2018


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I can’t quite believe that we are at the end of August already! The summer seems to have flown by; we’re already referring back to ‘that spell of hot weather’ and this week we are submitting our early stage plans for winter preparedness to NHS England. I’ll resist the urge to let you know how many days there are until Christmas…

In the last issue of ‘in touch’ I mentioned that we were expecting an update from NHS England around the time of the NHS’ 70 birthday on 5 July. As expected, there will be a greater focus on the integration of health and social care and in particular for NHS Commissioning, an opportunity for you to have your say on what this will look like in the future. The public consultation runs until 26 October and there’s more information for you below if you want to be involved and have your say.

We’ve recently launched our OTC – easy as 1 2 3 campaign and you may have heard about this from your GP, or spotted the information in your local Pharmacy. In line with national guidance we’re really encouraging you to think ‘pharmacy first’ and where you can, to buy your over the counter medicines for minor, short-term conditions, such as coughs, dandruff and ear wax, from your local pharmacist or the high street.

Self-care by using over the counter medicines helps you to look after yourself and your family when you can. Seeking health advice from a pharmacist, who is an expert in medicine, means you don’t have to wait for a GP appointment and will be able to be treated more quickly. Read on to find out more or head straight to our website for all the details

Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer

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Change to prescribing of Over the Counter medicines

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is following new guidance set out by NHS England in March 2018, meaning that for 35 minor, short-term conditions, medicines that are available over the counter will no longer routinely be prescribed.

The guidance has been published following a period of national public consultation and recommends that over the counter medicines associated with minor, short-term conditions which get better by themselves, or can be self-treated by the patient, should no longer be available on NHS prescription.

Medicines under the guidance include treatments for coughs, colds, dandruff, mild cystitis, nappy rash, warts and verrucae, ear wax, head lice and mild dry skin. A full list of conditions is available on our website.

This means that some patients who contact their GP Practice to make an appointment regarding any of the 35 conditions may be advised by the receptionist to seek advice from a pharmacist instead. There are certain scenarios where certain patients should continue to have their treatments prescribed.
To find out more visit



Free online patient education videos!

We have added an online library of free patient education videos for Wiltshire patients on our website, to provide support and expert information on managing six long term health conditions.

The Sound Doctor library contains around 300 short, concise videos covering:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Failure
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Dementia
  • Back Pain
  • Weight Management Surgery

The video contents were co-produced with clinical experts in their field and disease specific charities, e.g. Alzheimer’s Society, British Lung Foundation, & British Heart Foundation. All of the material adheres to National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

Sound Doctor videos provide patients access to expert advice from the comfort of their own homes, or on the move via Smartphones or tablets.

Access to the Sound Doctor is via the Wiltshire CCG website. Users are asked to confirm their GP surgery and provide their Wiltshire postcode in order to get instant, free access to the online video library.


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Be Involved!

Have your say on contracting arrangements for Integrated Care Providers

NHS England is consulting with stakeholders and the public on the contracting arrangements for Integrated Care Providers (ICPs) and runs until 26 October 2018.

Visit the NHS England website to find out more and have your say.

The consultation provides more detail about how the proposed ICP Contract would underpin integration between services, how it differs from existing NHS contracts, and how ICPs fit into the broader commissioning system.

There is widespread support for ending the fragmented way that care has been provided to improve services for patients and the NHS has been working towards this in a number of ways. ICPs are one of these ways, and are intended to allow health and care organisations to be funded to provide services for a local population in a coordinated way.

NHS England is also running engagement events during the consultation period to provide further opportunities for stakeholders and the public to share their views.

If you have any questions or other enquiries about the consultation, you can email NHSE England at



Help shape and improve the future delivery of the child immunisation service in Wiltshire

Parents and carers are invited to express their views and opinions about children’s immunisations at one of three focus groups taking place across Wiltshire.

It is important children receive the best start in life. Parents are being encouraged to protect their families by ensuring their children receive the right vaccines at the right time.

This is an important opportunity to share your opinions, experiences such as the challenges you may have faced, and ideas and suggestions you may have to help shape and improve the future delivery of the child immunisation service.

Focus groups will take place:

  • 26 September 2018 in Calne 10am-1pm
  • 27 September 2018 in Salisbury 10am-1pm
  • 4 October 2018 in Trowbridge 10am-1pm

Please note that places are limited and booking closes on 23 September 2018.
Find out more by reading this flyer.

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Wiltshire Pharmacy Opening Times for the August Bank Holiday

Opening times for your local pharmacy services for the upcoming August bank holiday weekend (24 – 28 August) are available below.
Please note that these times are subject to change.

Click on the relevant region to bring up the list of pharmacy opening times for your area:


Click here for the downloadable PDF or view the Pharmacy opening times below



Click here for the downloadable PDF or view the Pharmacy opening times below



Click here for the downloadable PDF or view the Pharmacy opening times below