Extra GP and nurse appointments in Thurrock’s Health Hubs

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The Thurrock Health Hubs will be providing a continuous, seven-day a week GP and primary care nurse service for the people of Thurrock.

Everyone who is registered with a GP practice in Thurrock will be able to book an appointment at one of the hubs at the weekend (9.00am-12.00 noon) and now also in the evening on weekdays. Appointments will be available for both GPs and practice nurses from 7pm to 9pm Monday to Friday.

The expansion of the hub service means that out-of-hours GP services will be more accessible to people across the whole of Thurrock. The extra appointments will launch on Monday 8th January at the hubs in South Ockendon, Purfleet, Grays, Tilbury and Corringham. See the tables below for more times and locations:

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. From 21 December to 7 January there is a GP available at Orsett Minor Injuries Unit from 2pm - 6pm everyday except Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

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.

For non-urgent health and social care enquiries you can contact Thurrock First on 01375 511000, open 365 days a year 7am - 7pm.

Dr Vikram Bhat, GP Board Member and lead on planned and unplanned care said:

“Often people panic during bank holidays and go straight to emergency departments. More often than not, there is no need, as other services in Thurrock can help you.

“We are asking people to be sensible, make the right choices and access the care they need. We have pharmacies open every single day and can help with a range of ailments.

“There are out of hours GP appointments at our Health Hubs on Wednesdays, Fridays and the weekends and at Orsett Minor Injuries Unit, which is open every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Don’t forget that NHS111 will provide primary care support during other times of the holiday period.

“We are saying, don’t panic, keep calm and carry our guide! Stay Well This Winter.”

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 (841 KB)

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

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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.

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