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:  www.nhs.uk

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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You can find Wiltshire CCG on social media – follow us and keep up to date with our latest news.

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