It is now feeling more and more autumnal and so we want to start planning ahead for winter. Winter illnesses stretch NHS resources to the limit every year. We hope you will join with us to work together to use resources appropriately, and make sure we are there for you when you need us.
Is there anything you can you do to reduce the chances of getting ill over the winter?
Is there anywhere else to get advice from before I phone the GP?
PREVENTION. Prevention really is better than cure!
Annual Flu jag and Covid booster
NHS Highland should by now have contacted all patients at risk and either offered an appointment date and time, or provided instructions to book online through the online portal (https://www.nhsinform.scot/vaccinebooking)
Please make getting your vaccines a priority and if you need help getting an appointment please phone 0800 030 8013.
Consider taking a daily supplement of 10mcg Vitamin D over the winter months - this can be purchased in a number of shops and pharmacies.
Keep your bugs to yourself!
Just like COVID, influenza and the winter vomiting bug (norovirus) are infectious diseases. Please take care to avoid spreading infection – the very young, the elderly, the immunosuppressed and pregnant women are particularly at risk from these illnesses. Norovirus remains highly infectious until 48 hours after symptoms settle.
Self-care tools to help know when to seek advice:
Do you have access to a thermometer?
If you have a respiratory condition that puts you at more risk, have you thought of buying a pulse oximeter to monitor oxygen levels? (cost approx. £20)
If you have a health condition or medication that requires regular blood pressure checks - have you thought of buying a home monitor? (cost approx. £20). We also have BP monitors we can loan out for short term home use, thanks to the Health Centre Equipment Fund.
Take care when out and about in the ice and snow. Dress for the occasion with warm clothing and shoes with a good grip. We can all have a role in making sure our more vulnerable neighbours are warm and fed if they can’t get out due to risk of slipping. Consider using mini-spikes for your shoes and using walking poles.
Nature and exercise
These can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health. If you want to access a Green Health Link Worker for more advice, please complete the self-referral form on our website: www.grantownonspeymedicalpractice.co.uk/nature-prescriptions-self-referral
Make sure you have the medication you need at home.
Home remedies. Stock up your medicine cabinet with in-date supplies for winter – paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain and fever, a soothing cough syrup and sore throat pastilles can be handy - the local pharmacist can advise on this.
Repeat medication. Make sure you have a supply of your regular medication to avoid last minute requests for scripts from the emergency doctor, and only order the medicines you need.
Remember the local pharmacist can provide an emergency supply of your regular medication if you should run out unexpectedly.
Did you know you can order your repeat medication online? Register using the link on our practice website: www.grantownonspeymedicalpractice.co.uk/prescriptions
SEEKING ADVICE ON SYMPTOMS
Please don’t worry – your GP will be there for you if you need them.
But there are a number of options you could try first to see if you need a GP appointment.
Online advice from NHS Inform
The link below takes you to NHS Inform where you will find advice on keeping warm this winter, help with heating costs, and advice on common conditions. There is a section to look up common symptoms that will direct you to self help guides and instructions on where to seek advice from should you need further care.
Pharmacies can advise on self care and over the counter medication for a variety of minor illnesses and ailments. Prescription only medication may be provided through the “Pharmacy First” service. Examples of ailments include travel sickness, warts, minor skin conditions, acne, athlete’s foot, styes and minor eye infections, head lice, threadworms, pain including back pain, migraine, cold sores, diarrhoea and constipation, colic, thrush, urine infections and emergency contraception.
All dental emergencies should dealt with by a dentist – please contact the helpline on 0800 141 2362 or email email@example.com if you need help to access the emergency dental services. This service is available Monday to Friday 08:45-17:00. Outwith these hours, please phone 111.
Eye problems (including emergencies) should be assessed by a community optometrist (optician). They can assess and advise, and if necessary refer you on to the eye clinic at the hospital for further investigations. Not all opticians are always able to provide same day emergency appointments so you may need to be prepared to travel to Inverness or Nairn.
Muscle or joint problem?
If you have a new muscular or joint condition that is not improving and now need advice on how to manage it, please phone reception to request an appointment with our “First Contact Physiotherapist”. This 30 minute appointment will provide an assessment and advice from an experienced physiotherapist who will diagnose and advise on the correct exercise programme, or refer you on for further investigation and treatment if necessary.
Health Centre Reception team “Signposting”
In response to changes in service provision within the NHS, and the number of different types of health care professionals available, our reception staff have been trained in ‘signposting’. Our receptionist will need to ask about your condition to ensure you get seen by the right person. There are many ‘open access’ services available to patients now, and you don’t need to see a GP first – so we may be able to help you get seen quicker by arranging an appointment with another member of the team.
Our receptionists might advise an appointment with a member of the nursing team, one of our experienced Advanced Nurse Practitioners, the optician, our first contact physiotherapist, the podiatry service, or a pharmacist instead.
Questions about Hospital Appointments
Please phone the hospital if you have a question about when you will be seen or when you will have follow-up. We are not able to access this information.
Concerns about how someone is managing at home or questions about home care
Please phone the local single point of access team in Aviemore on 01479 812618.
Drug or alcohol problems
You can self refer by phoning 01479 813400.
Appointments at the surgery
There are options for requesting advice or an appointment. If your problem is non urgent and you have access to a computer, we strongly encourage you to try our eConsult service (the link is on our website). The link takes you through an online questionnaire asking the most important questions relevant to your symptoms and sends a summary to the clinical team with your request. By the end of the next working day you will have a reply – it may be advice, it may be a prescription, or it may be details of an appointment booked for you. We would recommend this as being one of the most helpful and time efficient ways of requesting non urgent advice.
If you cannot easily use this online way to access us, or your problem is urgent, then please phone first thing in the morning to access the triage team.
The triage team operates every morning dealing with requests for same day advice or requests for an appointment.
PLEASE PHONE BETWEEN 8:30am and 10:30am if you wish to access the triage team. A call back from the triage team cannot be requested outwith these hours, as the triage team members will not be available to take more calls – this time is needed to provide patient care through appointments.
REQUESTS FOR URGENT ADVICE AFTER 10:30 AM WILL BE HANDLED BY THE EMERGENCY ON CALL DOCTOR SO WE KINDLY REQUEST THESE CALLS ARE FOR GENUINELY URGENT PROBLEMS ONLY.
The triage team is very busy – on a typical Monday morning the team can be dealing with 90-100 requests for a call back. The outcome of a triage encounter may be same day advice, same day face to face appointment if an examination is needed, referral for further tests at the practice with follow up by a practice team member, or a non-urgent appointment ( by phone/video/or face to face).
USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS:
Smoking Cessation: 0800 84 84 84
District Nurses: 812618
Health visitor: 813403
School Nurse: 813403
Community Midwife: 813402
Social work: 812618
Occupational therapy: 812618
NHS 24 (out of hours service): 111
We sincerely thank you for the positive feedback and understanding expressed by those who have contacted the practice during this ongoing challenging time. We will continue to aim to provide the high quality patient care you expect, and thank you for continuing to support us while the demand on General Practice is higher than ever.
The Team at Grantown Medical Practice