Tag Archives: GP

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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Don’t ignore the test that could save your life, urge GPs

GPS are urging more women to have a simple screening test which could save their life.

The message about the importance of cervical screening comes from NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) clinicians as National Cervical Screening Week (8-14 June) gets underway.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 35 and under and every single day in the UK, nine women are diagnosed with cervical cancer (around 3,000 a year) and three women will lose their lives to the disease.

Yet despite this, one in five women does not make an appointment for a smear test when they are invited.

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.

“Women have no need to be embarrassed by the tests which are quick and painless. A simple smear test enables women to receive treatment before it is too late, preventing unnecessary deaths. So our message is clear: don’t ignore your smear test.”

In most cases, cervical cancer is caused by a virus and although four out of five will be affected with it at some time in their lives, most will not go on to develop cancer. And those who do can usually be cured if the disease is diagnosed early.

There are usually no symptoms with abnormal cells in their pre-cancerous state and sometimes no symptoms in the early stages of cervical cancer.

However GPs are urging women to be aware of some recognised symptoms which may indicate cervical cancer. These include abnormal bleeding, vaginal discharge, discomfort or pain during sex and lower back pain.

Any woman experiencing any or all of these symptoms should make an appointment with their GP as soon as possible.

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GPs ‘going the extra mile’ to treat North Kirklees patients

North Kirklees GP practices going the extra mile to serve their patients have been thanked and congratulated by CCG Chair Dr David Kelly.

At the meeting of the governing body in public on 29 January, attendees heard that GPs and receptionists in various locations across North Kirklees had been offering extra appointments and telephone advice at various times during evenings and weekends between December 27 2013 and 2 January 2014.

Across the patch, 10 practices offered a total of 700 extra appointments during the festive season. In addition, 10 practices have also signed-up to providing services during extended hours between 1 January and 31 March. This will mean an extra 175 consultations will be available every week which can be either pre-booked or attended in urgent cases with an appointment booked on the day.

These appointments are being offered at various times during evenings and weekends and cover a patient population of 38,000.

Dr Kelly said: “I want to extend the thanks and congratulations of the governing body to the GPs and their receptionists who have been going the extra mile to ensure patients get the treatment they need.

“This is admirable when practices are very stretched and shows great commitment to patients. I am also pleased that some practices are taking up the extended hours challenge through to 31 March and would encourage as many others as possible to join this worthwhile initiative.”

Those practices which are offering extra appointments are putting details of revised opening times on their individual practice websites.

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In defence of GPs

‘GPs – hardly do any time in surgery, they’re always  on the golf course, no wonder you can never get an appointment’. Sound familiar?  Sorry to disappointment, but it’s far from the truth.

Because I’ve chosen to take on the role of Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG, I’m only in practice two days a week and my partners have agreed to take on another colleague to cover for me. But here’s a quick run down of my two days in my Practice this week:


  • Seeing patients in surgery from 8am til about 10.30am
  • Home visits
  • Practice meeting
  • (Lunch on the hoof)
  • Afternoon surgery
  • Evening surgery until 8pm (most GP practices are open from 8am to 8pm every day)

Extra daily tasks include: fitting in of extra appointments (we see all patients who need or want to be seen that day outside normal surgery times); reviewing patients’ test results; signing prescriptions; admin stuff e.g. insurance reports; answering emails;  reading post all squeezed in between other diary items!

Tuesday looked like this:

  • In surgery from 8am to 10.30am
  • Home visits
  • Pharmacy meeting (the pharmacy next door is managed by the practice)
  • A multi disciplinary team meeting with the practice nurses, Macmillan nurses and community matrons about our patients and the services we deliver close to home
  • Practice staff meeting
  • Fire safety training
  • Any Qualified Provider evaluations (27 of them) for the MRI and Ultrasound services we want to introduce in our practice
  • Public meeting at 7pm in Cleckheaton about the plans for Mid Yorkshire Hospitals

(I managed to grab my evening meal at 9.45pm and was up until 1am reading business emails).

I’m highlighting this, not because I’m looking for any sympathy votes (though I think my wife and family may deserve some!) but simply to try to show what daily reality is like for most GPs. Patients are our priority, but providing good quality care entails so much more than being face to face in a surgery.

But yes, I do enjoy a round of golf when I manage to fit one in…!

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