Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Health Matters, NHS at 70, Cancellations; 111 and Sign; 3 Before GP; and Aussie Flu

Five Issues in this, the first DriveTime of 2018
  •         NHS at 70
  •          Cancelling Elective Operations
  •          Sign Language for the 111 Service
  •          Is your Pharmacy safe?
  •          Aussie Flu

 1. NHS at 70 – This is the year that the NHS, turns 70; July 5th is a significant day and an opportunity for us, as patients, to appreciate and support all of those dedicated NHS staff. There’s a great little video on Facebook that

And also an excellent web page that highlights some of the activities that we can get up to to show our support; for example – and I’ve signed up for it – the NHS 1,000 mile challenge.

So, this is a great time to support your NHS!

2. Cancelling Elective Operations
In order to ensure that urgent cases have priority, Watford Hospital has cancelled non-urgent planned surgery until the end of January; in addition, some non-urgent outpatient appointments have also be postponed. 

If your surgery or appointment has been cancelled you should have heard by now and you should have been offered an alternative appointment; and you can assume that your treatment is going ahead if you haven’t heard from the hospital. But the situation is under review, and could change quite dramatically at any point during these winter pressures. Whilst we can recognise that the hospital needs to prioritise care for acutely unwell emergency patients, I’m sure everyone recognises the anxiety and inconvenience it creates for anyone whose treatment is re-scheduled. For more information go to http://www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk/

3. The 111 Service and Sign Language
Great news for anyone who is hard of hearing – you can now communicate with the NHS 111 service using BSL (British Sign Language). Here’s how it works; you can use your computer and webcam, or the InterpreterNow app on your smartphone or tablet, to make a video call to a BSL interpreter.

The interpreter telephones an NHS 111 adviser and relays your conversation with them. The NHS 111 adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, then give you the healthcare advice you need or direct you straightaway to the local service that can help you best.

Go here for all the information http://interpreternow.co.uk/nhs111

4. Three Before GP
Think before you book your next GP appointment; do you really need to see a Doctor?

Actually, the Royal College of General Practitioners  (“RCGP”) wants us to think three times – hence the mantra “3 Before GP”! We need to ask ourselves three simple questions before we book our next appointment:
1.       Can I self-care? There are so many situations when we know what we need to do, so let’s do it without bothering the Surgery. If we’re not certain, then
2.       Could I verify it by using NHS Choices?  Of course, there are other web sites too! And finally
3.       Can I seek advice/treatment from a Pharmacist?
A recent survey showed that 27% of GP appointments were avoidable; in other words, we could have sorted the matter out by other means. One of the three options above could well have been the solution! And it would have meant that the doctors would have more time to spend with patients who really need their help!

5. Aussie Flu – should we be worried?
Although there seem to be many cases of flu around, the data shows it’s at pretty much the same level as last year. Aussie Flu is referred to as H3N2, and this year’s vaccine should give some protection against this type of flu. Good hygiene is imperative
  • wash your hands often with warm water and soap
  • use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
  • bin used tissues as quickly as possible
Finally - stay well in 2018!

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