Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 11:00
Well 2018 has started with a bang and we are all reading headlines about the NHS in turmoil. There are certainly tremendous pressures on general practice, A&E departments, hospitals, social care and the ambulance service. There seems to have been a sudden increase in the rate of flu like illness just before Christmas and the bug does seem to be particularly unpleasant and long lived. Although fit adults are being laid low with it, it is particularly unpleasant for frail elderly people and people with other illnesses such as chronic lung disease. It is not too late to have a flu jab, if you are over 65 or have a chronic illness you will probably still be able to get this free at your GP surgery or local pharmacy.
Can I ask you all to help your local NHS cope during this difficult period? For the vast majority of you there is no need to do more than rest, take plenty of fluids and keep dosed up with paracetamol or ibuprofen. If your symptoms are particularly severe or seem to be going on for longer than you would expect (it seems to be lasting about two weeks) then speak to your GP surgery or NHS 111, they will be able to decide if you need to be seen and where the best place for that consultation to happen is. Please don’t go to A&E unless your GP or 111 advises you to. A&E is for accidents and emergencies it is not intended for people who have to wait twenty four hours to see a GP; if it is urgent you need to be seen the same day your GP surgery will find a way to see you.
As you know from previous blogs we are living in a time where we are urging you to consider self-care for your minor illnesses. NHS Clinical Commissioners has just published a document entitled “Conditions for which over the counter items should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: A Consultation on guidance for CCGs.” This document promises to be the blue print for CCGs across the country on how to enact self-care. They are looking for the views of the public and other NHS organisations before finalising the document. The document can be accessed at the following link:
Please have a look at the document and feed back to NHS Clinical Commissioners with your views.
Let’s hope things calm down in February and we all have a good rest of 2018.