What would you do?

Healthwatch Wiltshire is asking how you think the NHS can help people live healthier lives, what would make local services better, and how care for people with long term conditions could be improved.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, the Government is investing an extra £20bn a year in the NHS until 2023. Now it’s your chance to have your say on how money should be spent on services in Wiltshire.

Take part in the What would you do? survey on the Healthwatch website and share your views today. 

You can also give your views on how care could be improved for people with conditions that health and care providers have made a priority.

If you have experience of cancer, heart and lung diseases, mental health, dementia, learning disability, autism, or a long term condition such as diabetes or arthritis, please click here to say what you think. All responses are anonymous.

Healthwatch are also running a series of events where you will be able to share your views about the future of NHS services in Wiltshire.

  • Monday 1 April – 10.30am-12pm, Allied Services Meeting, Tidworth, SP9 7EP 
  • Tuesday 2 April – 10am-2pm, Beversbrook Medical Centre, Harrier Lane, Calne, SN11 9UT 
  • Friday 5 April – 9.30am-12.30pm, Warminster Library, Three Horseshoes Walk, Warminster, BA14 9BT
  • Tuesday 9 April – 10am-2pm, Springfield Community Campus, Beechfield Road, Corsham, SN13 9DN
  • Wednesday 20 April – 10am-1pm, Royal Wootton Bassett Library, 11 Borough Fields, SN4 SAX
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Find out more on the Healthwatch website.

Know where to go for bank holiday health care

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging people in Wiltshire to know where to go in case they need to access healthcare advice and treatment over the bank holiday weekend.

To help with this, Wiltshire CCG has an easy to use ‘Around the clock healthcare’ leaflet that explains what services are available and when, and is downloadable from their website.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said,
“Bank holidays are extremely busy times for the NHS and we are asking people in Wiltshire to know where to go if they need to access our local health services.

“A&E departments are often thought of as the first port of call, but in many cases another service may be more appropriate such as NHS 111, minor injuries units or local pharmacy.

“Knowing where to go and when helps you and your family to access the right health care service at the right time and helps to keep the emergency services free for those patients who really need them.”

Healthcare services in Wiltshire
There are a number of healthcare services available around the clock in Wiltshire:

NHS 111 – 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.

Pharmacists – are experts on medicines and how they work. They can also offer advice on common complaints such as coughs, insect bites, ear ache, aches and pains and other health issues and help to decide whether it’s necessary to see a doctor. Find your nearest pharmacy: https://beta.nhs.uk/find-a-pharmacy/

Minor Injuries Units – for patients with minor injuries such as sprains and strains, cuts, infected wounds and scalds. No appointments are required and they are led by qualified nurse practitioners. For opening times of Chippenham and Trowbridge MIUs visit http://www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk/local-services/minor-injury-units

Salisbury walk-in centre – open from 6.30-10pm week days and 8am-8pm at weekends, including bank holidays. Run by a team of experienced doctors and nurses and operates on a first come first served basis, unless someone is acutely unwell and needs immediate attention. Visit www.salisburywalkincentre.co.uk for more information.

NHS Choices – the UK’s biggest health website offering thousands of articles, videos and tools, which are available 24/7.

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

Don’t let hay fever ruin your day!

Hay fever affects millions of people in the UK and is mainly caused by pollen, and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is offering advice on how to minimise the symptoms for people who suffer from the condition.

Many of us will be spending more time outdoors with the arrival of Spring, either in our gardens or local parks, and suffers will soon start to feel the effects of itchy, red or watery eyes, a runny or blocked nose, sneezing fits, an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears or a cough.

Dr Andrew Girdher, GP at Box Surgery advises:
“The best way to control hay fever is with antihistamines and these can easily be bought from local pharmacies or supermarkets very cheaply and starting to take them now so they get into your system will really be of benefit.”

“Visiting a local pharmacy is your best option. You can speak to the pharmacist; who is an expert in medications and can advise you on the best treatment. They can also offer advice on how to avoid hay fever triggers. If the pharmacist feels that the problem is something different which might require a review with a GP, they will recommend this.”

Other ways to help reduce the effects of hay fever include:

  • Wearing wraparound sunglasses when outdoors to protect the eyes
  • Showering and changing your clothes after being outdoors will help stop the spread of pollen through your home
  • Putting a small amount of petroleum jelly in your nose helps to trap pollen grains
  • Keeping an eye on the weather forecasts and staying indoors to avoid going out when the pollen count is high
Dr Girdher added:
“We are encouraging local residents to self-care and buy this low-cost medication themselves, as you do not need a prescription from your doctor, which can cost the NHS considerably more.”

“Self-care is an important part of keeping well and having a well-stocked medicine cabinet can help people, not just treat hay fever but also treat minor illness and injuries themselves, at home, without the need to see a GP.”

As well as your pharmacist, you can also get health advice through NHS 111 and the NHS choices website – www.nhs.uk

Don’t let ticks ruin your outside fun this Spring!

With the arrival of Spring Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is advising people to brush up on their knowledge of ticks, tiny spider-like creatures found in woodland and long grass, to minimise their risk of infection, especially during outdoor activities, like camping or hiking.

Ticks are present in most parts of the country and can be found in forests, woodland, heaths, moorland areas and urban parks.  Whilst irritating, most tick bites are harmless however, some ticks are infected with bacteria which can cause Lyme disease.

Dr Lindsay Kinlin, said
“Ticks that can transmit Lyme disease are very small – about the size of a poppy seed – and can easily be overlooked, so it is important to check regularly for attached ticks on the skin. 

Ticks prefer warm, moist places on your body, especially the groin area, waist, arm pits, behind the knee and along the hair line, so look out for anything as tiny as a freckle or a speck of dirt.”

Most ticks do not carry the infection, but if one is found it should be removed promptly.  Infected ticks are unlikely to transmit Lyme disease if they are removed in the early stages of attachment, generally the tick must be attached to an individual for 36 to 48 hours or more before it can spread the disease.  They can be removed with tweezers or special tick hooks, by pulling them gently upwards away from the skin.

To minimise the risk of being bitten, take these steps to protect yourself:

  • Keep to paths and away from long grass or overgrown vegetation if possible, as ticks crawl up long grass in their search for a feed
  • Wear appropriate clothing in tick infested areas (long sleeved shirt and long trousers tucked into socks). Light coloured fabrics are useful, as it is easier to see ticks against a light background
  • Consider using insect repellents, e.g. DEET
  • Inspect skin frequently and remove any attached ticks
  • At the end of the day, check again thoroughly for ticks, especially in skin folds
  • Make sure that children’s head and neck areas, including scalps, are properly checked
  • Check that ticks are not brought home on clothes
  • Check that pets do not bring ticks into the home on their fur

If you have been bitten by a diseased tick, symptoms of Lyme disease usually appear between 3 and 30 days and are similar to those of influenza.  If you are having flu-like symptoms, head-aches, muscle pain or joint pain, accompanied by a bulls-eye rash pattern on your skin you should make a GP appointment as soon as possible and remember to tell them you were bitten by a tick.

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