Do you know where you can go for healthcare this Christmas period?

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christmas services leaflet 1 2017

Before you start visiting friends and family, singing Christmas carols and eating too many mince pies, make sure you know what NHS services will be open this festive period in our handy holiday guide.

Many services are closed on the Bank Holidays and those that are open may have different opening times. Our Christmas guide has all the opening times laid out for you so you know exactly where and when you can go.

There’s information on what pharmacies are open and when, and details on extra GP and nurse appointments available at the Thurrock Health Hubs. There’s also contact information for services in Thurrock, including mental health services for adults and children and a 24-hour, emergency contact number for Samaritans for anyone feeling distressed.

Hopefully, your Christmas will go off without a hitch, but if you do need some help, make sure you have our guide at hand.

Click on the links below to download the guide and please feel free to share with friends and family:

pdf NHS Services in Thurrock over the festive period leaflet (1.37 MB)

Having trouble getting your medication lately? Here’s why…

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pills

There are an unusually high number of common medicines that are currently in short supply at the moment.

Shortages can be caused for many reasons, but are usually short term with the product returning to stock within four weeks. There are a smaller number of medicines where there is a long standing problem. These shortages can last for months and, in some cases even a year or more, although this is very rare.

Stock shortages cause problems for pharmacists, GPs, patients and the NHS as a whole:

Community pharmacies – Shortages inevitably lead to increased time spent in finding available stock, helping prescribers to find similar products and explaining to patients. Shortages can also have an effect on relationships as sometimes patients believe the problem is with the pharmacy ordering system rather than a national problem.

GPs – Patients will often go back to the GP to get an alternative product if they have been told it is out of stock. This increases GP workload as they may need to contact their local pharmacist to see what is available and then issue another prescription. Again, it can affect relationships as patients think that GPs should know what is not available but as the situation often changes, this is not always possible.

Patients – stock shortages can lead to delays in patient care and can result in increased visits to pharmacies to collect medicines if the pharmacy has had to ‘owe’ medication. It can also cause worry if a patient relies on their medicine.

NHS – shortages can be very costly to the NHS as there is often increased costs in finding alternatives. If a patient cannot get their medicines it may result in their condition getting worse.

What can you do to help?

Breathe Easy this winter - join the #Scarfie campaign

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East Tilbury Village Self care week

Health professionals across mid and south Essex are encouraging people with respiratory conditions to stay well this winter by joining in with a new campaign #Scarfie launching this winter.

#Scarfie hopes to encourage people with Asthma, COPD and other respiratory illnesses to wear a scarf this winter to ease their breathing and keep well.

Dr Vickram Bhat, local GP and Planned and Unplanned Care lead for Thurrock CCG said: “By wearing a scarf, people warm up their breath before it goes into their lungs and can help to ease any respiratory conditions from getting worse in the colder weather.

“843 people attended A&E due to respiratory problems and of these 220 people were ambulanced to hospital last winter. This simple tip could help many people stay well this winter.”

9,155 people living in Thurrock have a recorded diagnosis of Asthma and 3,270 with a recorded diagnosis of COPD.

Outcome of Consultation on Items Which Should Not Be Routinely Prescribed

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NHS England has today (30/11/17) agreed plans to save hundreds of millions of pounds each year by recommending low value treatments, including fish oil, herbal remedies and homeopathy no longer be provided on the NHS, and launching a consultation on curbs to prescriptions for some ‘over the counter’ products such as paracetamol.

GPs issued 1.1 billion prescription items at a cost of £9.2 billion in 2015/16. The vast majority were appropriate but many were for medicines, products or treatments that do not require a prescription and can be purchased over the counter from pharmacies, supermarkets, petrol stations, corner shops or other retailers in some cases at a much lower cost than the price paid by the NHS.

The NHS could save around £190 million a year by cutting such prescriptions for minor, short-term conditions, many of which will cure themselves or cause no long term effect on health.

Over the counter products currently prescribed include cough mixture and cold treatments, eye drops, laxatives and sun cream lotions. A detailed follow-up consultation on an initial list of conditions will be launched in the New Year.

This will also free up millions of GP appointments that are currently taken up with prescribing these medicines.

CCGs in mid and south Essex launch public consultation

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The five clinical commission groups in mid and south Essex have launched a formal public consultation on outline plans for the future of health and care services.

The proposals are a result of detailed work undertaken by clinical teams across health and care organisations to improve the services provided to the 1.2 million people living in mid and south Essex.

The Joint Committee of the CCGs yesterday gave approval to begin consultation on proposals which include:

Making improvements in A&E at all three hospitals with the development of new assessment and treatment centres alongside each A&E. All three A&Es will be led by a consultant, open 24 hours a day and will receive “blue light” ambulances.

Develop a new specialist stroke centre which would provide the highest dependency and intensive care for people in the first 72 hours following a stroke alongside rapid access to diagnostics and specialist interventions. This would be in addition to the existing stroke care units at all three hospitals which would remain in place.

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