Easter is upon us!


Doesn’t time go fast when you are having fun? Amazingly enough, the last time I put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) for my blog was just after Christmas, and now all of a sudden we’re facing Easter.

I love Easter because to me it really is the start of Spring – green shoots appearing in the hedgerows, and more importantly I can eat my Easter egg with a clear conscience, having abstained from chocolate for the last forty days.

Easter also means a four day break from the normal health services we expect, so as well as thinking about how we’re going to spend our extended leisure time, we also need to think about planning ahead for our health care needs – and for those who may be visiting or for whom we’re looking after.

There are a considerable number of options available to support people if they need medical treatment over the bank holiday. If you take routine medication, have a check to make sure that you have enough to keep you going over the four day period, so that there’s no likelihood of you running out.

So, what routes are open for you to access health care?

For minor health problems, it may be possible to seek advice and treatment from your local pharmacy as many of them are open over the holidays. Sprains, dislocations, minor cuts and burns can be treated at the minor injury units opened in Wiltshire, as well as at the walk-in centre in Salisbury.

We want to ensure that you have access to the help that you need, so if you’re not sure where to go for your health problem, then telephone the NHS 111 service – they will be able to assist you about where to go for advice or treatment nearest to where you live. Remember that if you need urgent medical assistance, call 999 straight away.

Let’s keep the pressures away from hospital A&E departments this Easter period, and use all the other options available to us instead.

For a list of pharmacies open over the Easter Bank holiday, and for the locations and opening times of Minor Injury Units visit www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk and for information on the walk-in centre in Salisbury visit www.salisburywalkincentre.co.uk

Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy Easter!


Finding 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 3rd and 6th April 2015, Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is asking people to plan ahead and to consider the range of options available to them if they need medical advice or treatment over the bank holiday.

Dr Steve Rowlands, Chair for Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “A&E admissions during the Easter break often reach similar peaks to those seen at Christmas. Those figures can be attributed, in part, to people attending A&E for less serious illnesses and injuries. It’s important therefore, that people are aware, and understand the alternative routes to health advice and treatment they have access to.

“For a minor health problem it may be possible to seek advice and treatment from your local pharmacy, many of which will be open over the holidays. For sprains, dislocations, minor cuts and burns or minor eye injuries then one of the two minor injury units in the county will be open, as well as the walk-in centre in Salisbury. If you’re not sure, then call the 111 service, they will be able to advise you on the most appropriate place to go for advice or treatment. If you need urgent medical assistance for a serious or life threatening condition then always telephone 999 straight away.

“We would 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.

“Our priority is always to ensure that people get the help they need, when they need it. By making the right choices and taking personal responsibility, people can not only help keep themselves well, but also help to reduce the impact on the health system over what is traditionally a busy period for A&E departments in Wiltshire.”

For a list of pharmacies that are open over the Easter bank holiday click here. Pharmacists are experts on medicines 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 to see a doctor.

For location and opening times of Minor Injury Units in Wiltshire visit www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk. Minor Injuries Units are for patients with less serious injuries, such as sprains, cuts and grazes. No appointments are required and they are led by qualified nurse practitioners.

The Salisbury walk-in centre is open from 0800 – 2000 everyday, including bank holidays. The centre is run by a team of experienced doctors and nurses and is based on a first come first served basis, unless someone is acutely unwell and needs immediate attention. For details on how to find the Salisbury walk-in centre visit http://www.salisburywalkincentre.co.uk.

NHS 111 is 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 nurses and paramedics. Healthcare advice can be given over the telephone or you may be directed to a local service that can help you best.

If a medical situation is life threatening, you should always phone 999. Serious injuries, loss of consciousness, chest pain or suspected stroke are medical emergencies and you should not hesitate to call 999.

PRESS RELEASE: Thursday 4 December 2014


GPs from NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) re urging people to make sure they choose the most appropriate care for their ailments this winter.

Forecast colder weather this week indicates that winter has arrived, bringing with it increased demand on NHS services particularly from elderly and vulnerable patients.

Dr Peter Jenkins, GP Medical Adviser for Wiltshire CCG, said: “Even without severe weather – such as snow or prolonged sub-zero temperatures – the arrival of winter invariably means the NHS as a whole faces considerable challenges in dealing with greater numbers of patients.

“The NHS nationally and locally plans thoroughly for that increased demand, but we also need help from people in finding the most appropriate way to treat their ailments.”

Colder weather and viruses lead to an increase in the number of people – particularly those with a respiratory condition – being admitted to hospital as an emergency.

The CCG has therefore produced the following list of top tips to help people plan and ensure they are able to receive the most appropriate and timely treatment during winter:

  • Ensure you have sufficient over-the-counter medicines to treat minor ailments such as coughs, colds, cuts and scratches. The NHS Choices website has further information about sensible items to keep in your medicine cabinet at home.
  • If you feel unwell, particularly if you are elderly, seeking early advice from your GP or pharmacist could prevent a minor ailment becoming more serious. The NHS Feeling Under the Weather? campaign is aimed at people over 60 – or anyone aged over 45 looking after elderly relatives or neighbours – encouraging them to get early health advice.
  • If you have an ongoing medical condition requiring repeat prescriptions, ensure you have sufficient supplies to avoid running out when you GP surgeries is closed or over the Christmas holiday period.
  • Your local pharmacist is a good source of information, advice and treatment for a wide range of minor ailments.
  • For urgent medical needs that are not emergencies, NHS 111 is a free national phone number able to provide advice at any time on where and how to receive the most appropriate treatment.
  • This year’s NHS Flu campaign is encouraging all those who are eligible for the free flu vaccination to take up the offer. It is targeted at those with long-term health conditions, pregnant women and parents of children aged 2-4. Wiltshire CCG is supporting the campaign by providing background advice and guidance on who is eligible for a free flu jab and the important of getting one.
  • Keep a look-out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours to ensure they are staying safe and well.
  • If you have any symptoms of vomiting or diarrhoea, stay away from hospitals – including visiting friends or relatives. Norovirus, often called the winter vomiting bug, is highly contagious and can spread quickly in hospitals.
  • Don’t go to a hospital A&E department or dial 999 for an ambulance unless it is for a serious or life-threatening emergency.

“Clearly there are times when attending A&E or dialling 999 is the right course of action. However, using these services for less serious conditions does not mean a patient will receive quicker treatment, and may result in a delay for someone else whose condition is serious or even life-threatening,” said Dr Jenkins.

“Taking a few easy and sensible precautions now, along with using the best way to receive treatment if needed, can help ensure the NHS continues to provide high-quality, appropriate care for everyone needing it this winter.”




New Patient Transport Services

Patients who have a non-emergency medical need and require help with transport to reach their hospital appointment can now benefit a high quality service with extended hours. The new transport service, provided by Arriva transport Solutions, will run 24 hours, 7 days a week, which is an extension of existing services, as previously, some ran only Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

Arriva will run a single access centre which will provide a convenient booking and enquiries service across the region. Through the use of modern technology and systems, the service will be able to manage demand for patient transport efficiently and will co-ordinate and provide journeys in and out of Wiltshire. The service will offer flexibility to respond to changing needs; for example, new healthcare locations and flexible times for pick up and return home including evenings and weekends.

More patient information about the service can be found here: Non-Emergency Patient Transport Information Leaflet

The single access centre will also provide information and advice for those patients who do not meet the current Department of Health eligibility criteria. This will include signposting to alternative transport options, including voluntary and community providers. Healthwatch Wiltshire is also providing information and advice for patients who may need help with transport but who are not eligible for the service provided by Arriva. Their details can be found here www.healthwatchwiltshire.co.uk

New patient transport service for Wiltshire

There will be a new provider of non-emergency patient transport services for Wiltshire from later this year. Following a thorough procurement process, Arriva Transport Solutions has been selected as the preferred bidder to run services across Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset, Gloucestershire and Swindon.

Currently the non-emergency patient transport service is being provided by a number of private and NHS transport service organisations. The retendered contact will be provided by one organisation with a clear strategy for the provision of a tailored, high quality service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The new provider will operate a single point of contact designated telephone number to enable patients and health representatives to book the transport quickly and receive advice and support about non-emergency patient transportation. Through the use of modern technology and systems, the service will be able to manage demand for patient transport efficiently and will co-ordinate and provide journeys in and out of the county.

The service will offer flexibility to respond to changing needs e.g. new healthcare locations, on the day requests and flexible times for pick up and returning home including evenings and weekends.

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group Chief Officer, Deborah Fielding said,

“Providing eligible patients with the best patient transport service which can meet their medical and mobility needs is extremely important to us as a Clinical Commissioning Group. We want patients in Wiltshire to experience safe, timely, clean and comfortable transport. Subject to contract, there will be one organisation responsible for co-ordinating all non-emergency patient transport and this should help to deliver a consistent and joined up service for all our patients who need advice about transport or need to be taken to their appointments.”