Author Archives: Helen Haythorne

Women in Kirklees urged to have their smear test

During Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (21 to 27 January) NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) want as many people as possible to know how they can reduce their risk of the disease and urge all young women to attend their cervical smear test when invited – it could save lives.

Cervical cancer can be prevented and there are steps that women can take to reduce their risk of the disease and look after their health:

This means:

  • Attending cervical screening when invited
  • Knowing the symptoms of cervical cancer and seeking medical advice if experiencing any
  • Taking up the HPV vaccination if aged 11-18
  • Knowing where to find support and further information

Every year in the UK, around 3,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under.  Cervical cancer develops in a woman’s cervix (the entrance to the womb from the vagina). It mainly affects sexually active women aged between 30 and 45.

For some people the thought of going for a cervical smear test can be embarrassing, often people think it’s painful, or it can seem a scary or daunting prospect for other reasons. However, the test takes five minutes, it’s painless, and you really can’t put a price on taking the right steps early on to protect your health.

Dr Steve Ollerton, Chair, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG and local GP said: “It is crucial that you attend your cervical screening appointment. One of the biggest risk factors for developing cervical cancer is not going for a cervical screening test. So our message is clear – don’t ignore the invitation letter!”

Cllr Musarrat Khan, Cabinet Member – Health and Social Care, Kirklees Council added: “We all lead busy lives and it’s easy to put aside a letter to sort out later, and then forget about it. I would urge all women who are due a test to make an appointment and attend, don’t let anything put you off, as this test could save your life.”

The NHS offers a cervical screening programme to all women from the age of 25.  You should be sent a letter confirming when your screening appointment is due. Contact your GP practice if you think you may be overdue for a screening appointment.

Robert Music, Chief Executive, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust said: “Cervical screening provides the best protection against cervical cancer yet sadly attendance is at an all-time low. Going for a test can be difficult for some women and we want to ensure every woman knows where they can find support and information to enable them to book a test if they want to. No question or concern is too big or too weird and your nurse is there to make your test as comfortable as possible.”

Cervical screening isn’t a test for cancer; it’s a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix (the entrance to the womb).  Nationally, Between 90 and 94% of all screening results come back normal, with no abnormalities found.

The symptoms of cervical cancer aren’t always obvious, and it may not cause any symptoms at all until it’s reached an advanced stage. This is why it’s very important that women attend all of their cervical screening appointments.

If you do have symptoms, the most common is abnormal vaginal bleeding, which can occur during or after sex, in between periods, or new bleeding after you have been through the menopause.  Abnormal bleeding doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer, but you should see your GP as soon as possible to get it checked out.

Other symptoms include unusual vaginal discharge, discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse and lower back pain.

If your GP thinks you might have cervical cancer, you should be referred to see a specialist within 2 weeks.

Dr David Kelly, Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG said: “We want to increase the understanding about cervical screening and how vital it is for women to have regular smear tests because these tests really can save lives.  Smear tests are quick and painless. This simple test can highlight women who need early treatment and can, therefore, prevent unnecessary deaths.”

To find out more about Cervical Cancer Prevention Week visit the Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust website www.jostrust.org.uk. For more information about cervical cancer and the NHS Cervical Screening Programme visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-cancer/

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Clinical Commissioning Group is a mental health trailblazer

NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield CCGs are among 25 trailblazer sites that will see the development of new mental health support teams for children and young people.  The teams will build on support already in place from school counsellors, nurses, educational psychologists and the voluntary sector to treat those with mild to moderate mental health issues in school and will help children and young people with more severe needs to access the right support and provide a link to specialist NHS services.

Full details were released today and you can find out more here.

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Top health tips for over Christmas and the New Year

The local NHS in Kirklees is reminding people of some tips to help them stay well over the Christmas and New Year period.

If you have a repeat prescription, please check that you have enough to last over the days that your GP practice is closed. That way you don’t risk getting ill if you run out or have to take up an out-of-hours GP’s time to issue another prescription.  Remember that you can now renew your prescriptions without having to telephone or visit the practice. You can order your medication at a time to suit you via your computer, smartphone or tablet when you register for GP online services.  Ask your GP practice for further details.

The cold weather sees a rise across Kirklees in health problems such as coughs, colds and flu.

Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Many of us will get a cold over the winter as the virus spreads very easily. Colds are spread by germs from coughs and sneezes which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.

Cold symptoms are usually at their worst during the first two to three days, this is when you are likely to spread the virus. A cough in particular can last for two or three weeks.”

Cllr Musarrat Khan, Cabinet Member, Health and Social Care, Kirklees Council said:  “There are some easy things you can do to help prevent you getting a cold.

“These include washing your hands regularly, not sharing towels and household items like cups with someone who has a cold and avoid touching your eyes or nose in case you have come into contact with the virus.

“The catch it, bin it, kill it method will make a huge difference in the fight against the spread of common colds and the more serious flu virus:

  • CATCH IT – Always carry tissues and use them to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • BIN IT – Dispose of used tissues as soon as possible
  • KILL IT – Clean your hands with soap and warm water as soon as you can and make sure you wash them frequently.

“Following these steps will also help prevent the spread of flu, which is much more serious.”

An easy way to also prevent the spread of flu is to also get the flu vaccination. People aged over 65 years, children aged from two years and up to school year five, pregnant women, anyone who is the main carer for another person or who is in receipt of carer’s allowance and those with long-term health conditions such as diabetes and asthma are eligible for a free flu jab this year.

Dr Steve Ollerton, local GP and Chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG said “GPs don’t recommend antibiotics for colds because they won’t relieve your symptoms or speed up your recovery.

Colds are self-limiting illnesses which means that given enough time you will recover without needing to receive medical treatment.”

Should you develop a cold (or even flu), there are a few ways you can help yourself feel better more quickly, including making sure you:

  • Rest and sleep
  • Keep warm
  • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

A pharmacist can also provide treatment, advice and recommend flu and cold remedies.

Bank holiday pharmacy opening information, and winter health advice, can be found at the following links: 

For more advice visit https://www.nhs.uk/staywell

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Joined up Yorkshire and Humber

The NHS and local councils in Yorkshire and Humber want to find out your views about what sort of information should be used to improve the healthcare and services you receive and to help make Yorkshire and Humber a better place for everybody.  Please answer this short survey about how your information should be used.​

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Keep Antibiotics Working

Local NHS organisations are supporting the national campaign from Public Health England – “Keep Antibiotics Working”.  This campaign warns that taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk.

Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Antibiotics are being used for everyday viral infections, such as colds or flu, where they are not effective.  Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.”

As antibiotic resistance increases, common procedures such as caesarean sections and hip replacements could become life-threatening without antibiotics to ward off infections. Cancer patients are also much more vulnerable if antibiotics don’t work; both cancer and the treatment (chemotherapy) reduce the ability of the immune system to fight infections and antibiotics are critical to both prevent and treat infections in these patients.

Dr Steve Ollerton local GP and Chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG said: “To help prevent antibiotic resistance, antibiotics should only be taken as prescribed and never saved for later, use or shared with others.  It’s important that, when it comes to antibiotics, you always take your doctor, nurse or healthcare professional’s advice.”

Don’t forget, community pharmacies are a good place to start for advice and treatment for minor health conditions such as coughs, colds and aches and pains and you won’t need an appointment to speak to the pharmacist.

For further information on antibiotic resistance visit www.nhs.uk/antibiotics 

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Better access to evening and weekend GP appointments

In North Kirklees there’s now even better access for people to be able to visit a GP after work and on weekends under the GP extended access scheme that was launched in August.

Appointments are available between 6.30pm and 9.30pm each weekday with additional slots available on Saturdays between 9am and 4pm and Sundays between 9am and 1pm. The service offers pre-bookable appointments which can be booked through the patient’s own GP practice or by calling NHS 111.

Having these additional appointments available enables patients to visit a GP at a time that is convenient for them which fits better with their work and other commitments and also reduces pressure on both general practice and hospital emergency departments.

Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair or NHS North Kirklees CCG said:

“We all lead busy lives and this service benefits patients as it improves access and ensures that people can get the right care at a time that suits them, especially for those with work or other day-time commitments.”

Dr Stuart Lawson, Chair of Curo Health Ltd said:

“The service provides better access to care for patients when their practices are closed.

Patients benefit from direct and easy access to clinicians who will have access to their clinical records, can assess their condition and advise them about the best course of action needed to assist with their health or medical problem.”

Evening and weekend appointments are available for any patient registered with a GP in North Kirklees, as part of this scheme.  The appointments take place in Dewsbury Health Centre.

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West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership shortlisted for national award for support to carers

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership has been shortlisted for a prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) award in the System Led Support for Carers category. 

A Partnership formed from the NHS, councils, independent care providers, Healthwatch and hundreds of carer and community organisations; the Partnership is working together across Bradford District and Craven; Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield to further support 260,000 unpaid carers, including young people who care for parents and siblings.

Fatima Shah-Khan, Partnership lead for unpaid carers said: We want West Yorkshire and Harrogate to be a place where carers are identified, valued and supported so that all carers no matter how old or where they live receive the same level of care and attention. We have a great opportunity to work together and raise the profile of the care delivered by unpaid carers. We’re delighted to have been short listed for this award especially as we are at the start of our work and there is still much to do”.

Rob Webster, CEO Lead for the Partnership said: “There are 260,000 carers across our area, many of whom struggle to cope with managing their caring responsibilities alongside work and /or other caring responsibilities. We have some great work going on in each of our local places. The value of the integrated care system is that we can share the good work, spread the learning and get improved services adopted everywhere. This will mean better support for all carers across our area, developed with carers and based on what works. It’s good news that our Partnership has been shortlisted for this award and more importantly carers are getting the recognition they rightly deserve”.

The value of the contribution delivered by carers across West Yorkshire and Harrogate is approx. £4.5 billion per year. For example this would mean the cost of care provided by one carer in Wakefield to the state would be approximately £19,000 per year. The Partnership’s programme of work includes identifying hidden carers – those who don’t see themselves as such – and improving support across the whole health care system whilst sharing the great work happening in local places.

Category winners will be announced on the 21 November 2018 in London.

You can find out more about the Partnership’s work to support carers at www.wyhpartnership.co.uk

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Help us help you this winter by getting your flu vaccination – it’s free because you need it

The flu marketing campaign will launch 8 October and run until 31 October. The campaign will consist of TV, radio and digital (social and display) advertising supported by search and partnership activity. It will target pregnant women, parents of children aged 2 and 3 years old and adults with underlying health conditions.

These groups are at particular risk from flu and vaccination is still the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus. That’s why the flu vaccine is free – because eligible groups really need it.

For most children, the flu vaccine is not an injection, just a quick and easy nasal spray. Children aged 2 and 3 receive the vaccine through their GP and children in reception and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 receive it in school.

If you have a child who is of the eligible age, make sure you sign the consent form allowing them to have the flu vaccine at school.

If you are eligible for the flu vaccine, get it now – it’s free because you need it. Contact your general practice, pharmacist or midwife to get it.

Visit www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine for more information.

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Think you need medical help right now? Call NHS 111

Think you need medical help right now? You can call NHS 111 where a fully trained advisor will advise on the best course of action.

NHS 111 is much more than a helpline. You can speak to fully trained advisors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, who can put you straight through to relevant healthcare professionals, including nurses, emergency dentists, or even GPs.

The advisors can also arrange face-to-face appointments, and if you are assessed as needing an ambulance, one will be sent directly.

Dr Steve Ollerton, local GP and Chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG said: “If you need medical help fast but it’s not a life-threatening situation, you can call the NHS 111 number. When you call 111, a trained adviser will ask you questions to find out what’s wrong, give you medical advice and direct you to someone who can help you.”

Whatever the need is, NHS 111 will ensure that you get the right care, from the right person, as quickly as possible. So, if you think you need urgent non-life-threatening medical help, call NHS 111.

Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG added: “If the adviser thinks your condition is more serious, they will direct you to hospital or send an ambulance. If you don’t speak English, tell the adviser what language you want to speak and they will arrange interpretation. You can call 111 any time of the day. The call is free, from landlines and mobiles.”

‘Help Us Help You’ know what to do. Visit nhs.uk/111 for more information.  This webpage also contains useful advice on when you should use other NHS services. 

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Quit smoking with the right support for you

Smokers in Kirklees are being encouraged to take part in Stoptober, the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England, which begins on 1 October 2018.

Quitting smoking is easier with the right support. The most successful quit attempts are made with a combination of quit methods, so this year Stoptober is providing a free online Personal Quit Plan, which helps smokers find the right support for them – with options including face-to-face support, nicotine replacement therapies (such as patches, inhalers or lozenges) and e-cigarettes.

The best way to quit is with expert help from stop smoking services together with stop smoking aids. Your local stop smoking support can be found here – www.kirklees.gov.uk/smokingcessation Some GP practices, pharmacies and community organisations in Kirklees offer this service.

Dr David Kelly local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “If you are a smoker, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health and the health of those around you. Become part of the movement and join thousands this Stoptober who are determined to become smokefree.”

To date, Stoptober has driven 1.7 million quit attempts and quitting success rates are at an all-time high. Stoptober also offers a range of extra free quitting support including a Stoptober app, Facebook messenger bot, daily emails and Stoptober online communities.

Dr Steve Ollerton, local GP and Chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG added: “Stopping smoking can significantly improve your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect. Once you stop smoking, some of the benefits are immediate.”

After 20 minutes, blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal, after 8 hours carbon monoxide level in the blood reduces by half and oxygen level return to normal and after 48 hours carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris and the ability to taste and smell greatly improves.

Search ‘Stoptober’ to get your free Personal Quit Plan and find the support that’s right for you. 

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