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Pharmacy campaign aims to ease pressure on NHS services this winter

The NHS is facing winter pressures as millions visit their GP or A&E as first port of call for winter sniffles. 

A new campaign ‘Treat Yourself Better with Pharmacist Advice’ aims to ease pressure on NHS services and reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

  • Unnecessary GP and A&E visits for winter ailments could cost the NHS over £343 million
  • Nearly half who visit the GP for common winter ailments do so because they want antibiotics
  • Younger generation are the biggest culprits for wasting GP time
  • Only one in five make use of their local pharmacy despite long GP waiting times

New research reveals an alarming 6 million UK adults would visit their GP and over 2 million would visitTreat Yourself Better poster A&E as a first port of call for common winter ailments such as colds and flu. With each GP consultation costing the NHS £43 and an A&E walk-in-service costing £41, this could equate to a staggering cost of over £343 million, which could be better spent on people who need medical attention.

The research, carried out to support the Treat Yourself Better with Pharmacist Advice campaign, finds that one of the most common reasons people (44%) visit the GP when suffering with a winter ailment is because they want or think they need antibiotics.  However, antibiotics don’t have any impact on common winter ailments which are caused by viruses as they only work against bacteria.

Only one in five (21%) adults make use of their local pharmacy for winter ailments. This week sees the launch of a new winter health campaign Treat Yourself Better with Pharmacist Advice, backed by the Department of Health (DH) and Public Health England (PHE), which encourages people to treat winter ailments themselves and to seek advice from their pharmacist before going directly to their GP.

The Treat Yourself Better with Pharmacist Advice campaign hopes people will think twice before making a GP appointment.

For further information on self-treating winter ailments, how long you can expect symptoms to last and warning signs to look out for, visit the Treat Yourself Better website.

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Local GPs back sight-saving campaign

GPs are supporting this year’s National Eye Health Week (22 – 28 September 2014) and urging Kirklees residents to get their eyes tested.

Local health commissioners – NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – hope to educate members of the public on the benefits of a simple eye test. With nearly two million people living with sight loss across the UK and, of those, 53 per cent could be treated with a sight test or glasses1.

The CCG advise members of the public to visit their local optician at least every two years to ensure good eye health. Examinations will not only detect decreased visibility but can also diagnose underlying conditions, such as glaucoma, high blood pressure and diabetes or diabetic retinopathy.

Dr David Kelly, GP and Chair of North Kirklees CCG said: “Sight is the sense people fear losing the most and, as such, we hope to educate the public on the importance of eye care during National Eye Health Week.

“Many people think that a sight test is just about checking whether your vision needs correcting. However, a sight test is a vital check on the health of the eyes and includes the detection of conditions, such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

“Many of these conditions, if found early, can be treated successfully, avoiding potential sight loss.”

For more information about North Kirklees CCG visit www.northkirkleesccg.nhs.uk.

1. Statistic taken from www.visionmatters.org.uk

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New campaign urges women over 70 to be alert to the symptoms of breast cancer

NHS North Kirklees CCG is supporting the new NHS Be Clear on Cancer, ‘breast cancer in women over 70’ campaign.

The campaign, which will run from 3 February to 16 March across England, aims to raise awareness of breast cancer symptoms in women aged 70 and over, with the main message being – 1 in 3 women who get breast cancer are over 70 so don’t assume you’re past it. The campaign also emphasises that a lump is not the only sign of breast cancer and women should tell their GP if they notice any changes to their breasts.

Breast cancer survival is lower in women aged over 70 than in younger women. Research shows that older women have low knowledge of non-lump breast cancer symptoms and are more likely to delay presenting to their GP with breast cancer. They might be embarrassed, afraid of treatment, unaware that they are more likely to develop breast cancer or dismissive of symptoms as a sign of ageing.

Around 41,500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in England; of these around 13,500 are aged 70 and over. Breast cancer accounts for around 5,400 deaths in women in this age group in England annually.

Possible signs of breast cancer include a lump in the breast or armpit, nipple changes, changes to the skin of the breast, changes in the shape or size of the breast and pain in the breast or armpit.

As part of the campaign, adverts will appear on TV and in national newspapers and women’s magazines.

For further information about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, please visit nhs.uk/breastcancer70

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