Mar 272020
 

All of us have physical health and mental health. Just like our physical health, sometimes our mental health is not so good. Particularly in times of stress, as is the case during this coronavirus pandemic. It is well established that there is a close correlation between physical and mental health wellbeing.

It is vital that we all follow the government’s advice on social distancing and isolation to minimise the impact of the coronavirus on the more vulnerable members of our community. But social isolation and social distancing is leaving many people feeling anxious and low in mood. In addition, many patients with pre-existing mental health difficulties are finding their usual support being temporarily unavailable.

Lots of the population will be facing financial stress over uncertainty of work.

Patients will have previously arranged hospital appointments and procedures delayed or cancelled.

Many will be worrying about family and friends who are elderly, vulnerable or key workers.

Parents will be pushed to new limits, caring for children physically and emotionally. Tasked with educating and entertaining them at home, without usual support and trying to work.

It is particularly important that we look after our mental health in these challenging times. We have put together some resources and advice that we hope will provide some additional support over the coming months. Of course, many of the charities will not be offering a face to face service in view of the pandemic but may be able to offer support online or by telephone instead.

ADULTS

  • Edspace: an up-to-date mental health information website which provides a directory of mental health services in Edinburgh, mental health fact sheets, and links to mental health information.
  • Steps for Stress: Scottish government publication and simple guide to stressing less and enjoying life more
  • SAMH: a Scottish MH charity with information, advice and tips about mental health problems and online support
  • Feeling Good App: Developed by the Positive Mental Health Foundation. This is a video and audio programme which can be downloaded on to iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets.
  • NHS endorsed mental health APPS: A variety of apps designed to provide techniques to reduce stress, anxiety, low mood and encourage relaxation and mental health well being
  • Living Life telephone based CBT: NHS 24 offers a specialist telephone support service for people using the online Living Life to the Full computerised CBT life skills course. Living Life is open from Monday to Thursday 10am to 9pm and Friday 10am to 6pm on free phone 0800 328 9655. You can just self refer. Further information is available at www.nhs24.scot or from the Edspace website.
  • Financial Advice: A quick guide to “crisis response” resources to help individuals with immediate essential living costs.

CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

  • NHS CAHMS Covid Resources: Useful resources for parents and carers, children and young people and those with autism, neurodevelopmental disorders and/or learning disability
  • Hands On Scotland: a website that provides help and practical advice for supporting children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. It has been created by Fife CAHMS team (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service)
  • Young Scot: National youth information and citizenship charity for 11-26 year olds

LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF

Anyone who is struggling with their mental health will benefit from a holistic approach, looking after all aspects of their health. 

Regular healthy nutrition

  • Reduce processed foods high in sugar and salt
  • Aim for 5 portions of fruits and veg a day
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Buy frozen fruit
  • Grow your own fruit and veg
  • Consider batch cooking and freezing portions
  • Live Well Eat Well

Reduction in alcohol consumption

No more than 14 units a week for men or woman, spread throughout the week and with several days of alcohol free

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/

Regular exercise

  • Go for a walk at a quiet time round the block taking care to social distance.
  • Cycle to work if you cannot work from home
  • Consider a home exercise programme in your garden
  • Fitness Studio exercise video: NHS range of free online exercise including aerobic, strength and resistance, yoga and Pilates, dance including Latino and belly dancing
  • Follow “Just dance” videos free on YouTube
  • There are many celebrities doing free online exercises classes, e.g.

Sleep

It is easy to let routines slip and become nocturnal when you become depressed. Difficulty getting off to sleep can be a sign of depression, whilst frequent early wakening a sign of anxiety. It is important to maintain a normal awake/sleep routine

Relaxation and Recreation

  • Limiting screen time, particularly in the evenings
  • Maintain social contact using online video conferencing tools
  • Maintain routine even if working from home. Don’t work in the evenings and weekends, but ensure you start at the usual time, stopping for coffee and lunch
  • Be realistic at what you can achieve in your day
  • Use extra time at home to finish projects that have been annoying you
  • Read a novel or download a book
  • Take up new hobbies or learning opportunities
    e.g https://britishmuseum.withgoogle.com/: Take a virtual tour of a Museum with Google Institute
  • Take 10 minutes out each day to practice MINDFULNESS
    • Notice the everyday
    • Keep it regular
    • Try something new
    • Watch your thoughts
    • Name thoughts and feelings
    • Free yourself from past and future
  • Headspace
  • Mindful breathing exercise video on YouTube

Have a plan for a Crisis

Particularly at times of prolonged heightened stress and social isolation, it is important to reach out if you are significantly stressed or overwhelmed. We are open for telephone consultations in our usual hours for advice and support. In addition, below are some other crisis numbers

Sep 102019
 

The Practice is starting our 2019/20 Seasonal Flu Vaccination Programme from Monday 30th September, 2019.

Appointments are available to book NOW so please call us on 0131 228 6081, or come into the Practice as soon as possible, to secure your appointment.

Flu remains a very unpleasant and potentially fatal infection which puts a huge strain on limited NHS resources. The most important preventative measure to reduce influenza is the seasonal flu vaccine. We would highly recommend that all patients who are eligible to get the flu vaccine. Make an appointment early in the season to protect yourself against flu during winter 2019/20.

During winter 2018/19, the highest rates of influenza-like-illness seen in Scotland belonged to the 15-44 and 45-64 year old age groups.

If you compare that to the vaccination uptake rates for Bruntsfield Medical Practice during the 2018/19 influenza vaccination season, you can see that some of our lowest vaccination rates belong to those same groups.

Source: Practice kept statistics on vaccination uptake rates for patients eligible to receive the vaccination at the Practice.

There are many factors involved that can put someone at risk of coming down with the flu; it’s not just the very young or the elderly that are at risk. If you are a member of one of the eligibility categories listed further down this article, please find the time to schedule your flu jab appointment.

To start us off we have our special flu clinics in October and November. This is to accommodate the ever-increasing number of eligible patients, and like the last couple of years, we’re calling it our:

Big Bruntsfield Flu Blitz!

These clinics will be held on:

Saturday 5th October, 9am to 1pm (adults only)

Thursday 7th November, 2pm to 5.30pm

These clinics will be very busy. Appointments must be booked in advance and are strictly for flu and pneumococcal vaccines only.

Unfortunately due to a delay in the supply of the intranasal vaccine for children, we are having to make our Saturday morning clinic adults only. The vaccine is currently predicted to be available sometime during the week following our weekend clinic and we will do our best to accommodate families with children to be vaccinated as soon as we can. Please check back here closer to the time for any updates on vaccine supply and our plans for vaccinating children. Eligible children should be able to attend the big Thursday afternoon clinic, but we haven’t released those appointments yet as we want to wait for confirmation that the vaccine will definitely be available by then, rather than start booking appointments we may end up having to cancel.

Please note, during the Saturday flu clinic times the practice will be closed to everyone but those with booked appointments, and any emergencies will be managed through NHS24 on telephone number 111.

Our usual flu clinics will also run throughout October and November, led by our Practice Nurses, in normal surgery hours. These appointments are also restricted to 5 minutes and for flu and pneumococcal vaccination only. If you need to address any other health matters please make a separate appointment.

ELIGIBILITY

The following groups of patients are eligible to receive the flu vaccination from the Practice:

  • Everyone who will be aged 65 or over by 31st March, 2020
  • All children aged 2 to 5 years old on 1st September 2019 (children in this age range already attending school will be vaccinated at school)
  • Anyone aged 6 months and over with the following conditions:
    • Asthma (you must require regular use of a steroid inhaler or tablets for control, or have had an emergency admission to hospital because of your asthma in the last year)
    • Other chronic respiratory disease (such as COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or cystic fibrosis)
    • Chronic heart disease
    • Severe kidney or liver disease
    • Chronic neurological disease (e.g. Stroke/TIA, MS)
    • Diabetes
    • Lowered immunity due to disease or treatment
    • Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen (including sickle-cell anaemia & coeliac disease)
  • Adults with a body mass index >40 kg/m2
  • Women in any stage of pregnancy
  • Or if you are an unpaid carer, or a young carer, for someone who could not manage without your help if you became ill

If you are unsure about your eligibility, please discuss it with a GP or nurse. You can phone between 9am and 10am daily to book a telephone consultation appointment.

EGG ALLERGY

This year, the vaccine available for all adults in NHS Lothian is a cell based Quadrivalent Inactivated Vaccine. That means that the vaccine was not made using eggs and is therefore also suitable for vaccinating those with an egg allergy without the need to set up a separate clinic with a special vaccine.

NASAL SPRAY

All children aged 2 to 5 years old (as at 1st September 2019), primary school children getting the vaccine from the schools programme, as well as 12-17 year olds in one of the at-risk groups above, will be getting the flu vaccination in the form of a nasal spray rather than an injection. The spray is done once into each nostril, and is quick and painless.

If your child is aged 9 years or under, in an at risk group, and has never been vaccinated for flu before, they will need the vaccine repeated 4 weeks later to ensure adequate protection. Your Practice Nurse should make you aware during the initial vaccination appointment if this is the case for your child.

Be aware that this form of the vaccine is not recommended for those with severe immunodeficiency (or for someone who lives in the same household as someone with a severe immunodeficiency), or for anyone with an egg allergy. If you’re unsure if you or your child fit into these categories, please speak to your usual GP before booking your appointment.

For the small proportion of patients for whom the nasal spray isn’t appropriate, they will be offered the injectable flu vaccination.

2 TO 5 YEAR OLDS

As mentioned above, we can’t include appointments for children in our Big Flu Blitz clinic in October, due to a delay in the arrival of the vaccine, but they can be included in the big November clinic. As well as that we will be holding smaller children’s flu clinics with the Practice Nurses later in November. Primary school children will receive the vaccine at school with parental consent.

If you and your child are both eligible to receive the flu vaccination, and you intend to book into the big November clinic to be vaccinated at the same time, can you please mention that to the receptionist at the time of booking to ensure you are booked in with the same clinician in consecutive appointments. This saves any confusion of family members being split up.

PNEUMOCOCCAL

Patients aged 65 and over, or in a risk group, who have not yet had a pneumococcal vaccination, will also be offered this vaccine during their flu clinic appointment. If you know you are due to get the pneumococcal vaccination let the receptionist know when booking your appointment so they can make a note of it. This allows the Doctor or Nurse to be as organised as possible during the clinic. This is also available at the special flu clinics.

For most adults the pneumococcal vaccination is a one-off dose that should last a lifetime, so does not need to be administered annually. For a few patients though, it is recommended that they receive the pneumococcal vaccination every 5 years. These include patients over the age of 16 with:

  • Chronic kidney disease (incl. CKD stage 4-5)
  • Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen (incl. sickle-cell anaemia & coeliac disease)
  • Immunosuppression

If you think you fall into one of these categories, speak to your Nurse or usual GP.

SHINGLES

The shingles vaccination programme is continuing for patients aged 70 on 1st September 2019 (date of birth between 02/09/1948 – 01/09/1949).

There is a catch-up programme which includes all other patients in their 70s, so if you were born between 02/09/1939 and 01/09/1948 and haven’t yet received the shingles vaccine, you can get it at the Practice.

Unfortunately, if you turn 70 some time in the next year, but AFTER 1st September 2019 you will NOT be eligible to receive the shingles vaccine until next year’s programme.

If you’re eligible to receive the shingles vaccination this year it can also be done at the same time as your flu jab. Please note however a longer appointment will be required, so let the receptionist know. Although the Shingles vaccines will NOT be available at the special flu clinics.

INVITATIONS

The Lothian Health board will be sending out invitations to patients aged 65 years and over towards the end of September to remind them about making an appointment for their flu vaccination.

Letters from Public Health will be going out to families of the children aged 2 to 5 years old not yet at school informing them of their eligibility and encouraging them to make an appointment.

For all other at risk groups – neither the Health Board nor the Practice routinely send written invites to patients to attend for the flu vaccination. If you’re in one of the groups mentioned above, don’t wait to be invited – contact the practice today to make your appointment!

NON-ELIGIBLE PATIENTS

Unfortunately we are only able to vaccinate members of the above groups. We are therefore not able to vaccinate individuals who fail to meet these criteria – even if the NHS has vaccinated them in the past.

We appreciate that many individuals who are not eligible for NHS vaccination wish to protect themselves against influenza. While we are unable to provide this service ourselves there are a number of private health providers who have secured supplies of the influenza vaccine. Local examples include:

The Edinburgh Clinic40 Colinton Road 0131 447 2340
Boots Pharmacy46-48 Shandwick Place 0131 225 6757
28-30 Newington Road 0131 667 3008
101-103 Princess Street 0131 225 6397
Craigleith Retail Park 0131 332 6114
Ocean Terminal 0131 554 6834
Fort Retail Park 0131 669 4428
Gyle Centre 0131 317 1288
Paton & Finlay177 Bruntsfield Place 0131 229 2110

Further information and Leaflets on the Flu or Pneumococcal vaccinations can be found at the NHSInform website by clicking the links below:

If you have any queries in the meantime you can call the Practice on 0131 228 6081 between 9am-10am to book a telephone consultation appointment with one of the GPs.

May 142019
 

The breast screening programme in Scotland invites all women between the ages of 50 and 70 years for mammograms approximately every 3 years.

Patients aged over 70 will not receive an invitation as standard, but you are still welcome to attend every 3 years and can make an appointment by ringing the centre on 0131 537 7400.

When you get your appointment depends on which practice you are registered with, and the eligible women registered at Bruntsfield are being invited for screening at Ardmillan House on Springwell Terrace during June 2019.

What happens at your appointment

Breast cancer screening involves an X-ray examination called a mammogram, which tries to detect cancer before it causes symptoms or findings on examination. The earlier a cancer is diagnosed the easier it is to treat.

The breast screening appointment takes about 10 minutes from start to finish. The mammogram itself takes barely a minute, and they are always carried out by female health professionals who will try to make you feel as comfortable as possible.

The female mammographer will position one breast at a time between two flat plates. The machine will take two X-rays of each breast. You have to stay as still as possible while the image is being taken. Having your breasts pressed flat between the plates can be uncomfortable, and some women find it painful. You can say stop at any point if you feel too much discomfort. You will be asked to undress from the waist up, so you may find it helpful to wear trousers or a skirt.

Breast Screening results

The results of your scan will be sent to you within three weeks.

The majority of women will receive a letter saying their mammograms were normal and if they are under 70 years old that they will be recalled again in 3 year. A very small number of women will need a “technical recall”. That is when the original image wasn’t clear enough to read and needs to be repeated. This can happen if not all the breast tissue was imaged, or the breast tissue was moved during the mammogram.

Around 1 in 20 women will be invited to the second stage of screening, which is to attend an appointment for further tests. This means your mammogram may be showing an area the doctors would like to image more clearly, with further mammograms and/or an ultrasound scan. Some women will also need a biopsy. A biopsy is when a small sample of tissue is removed.

Breast Screening risks

You may be concerned about your exposure to X-rays. Having mammograms every three years for 20 years very slightly increases the chance of getting cancer over a woman’s lifetime.

Mammograms don’t find all cancers and changes can happen between screenings. This is why it’s important to keep checking your breasts for any changes regularly between screenings.

You could be diagnosed with and treated for a cancer that may not spread and may not cause you harm. Unfortunately, doctors can’t always tell whether or not the cancer will spread in the future and so you may have to make some difficult decisions about going forward with treatment. While treatments save lives, they can also cause serious long-term side effects. If there are choices about your treatment then you’ll receive information and support to help you decide what is right for you.

Breast cancer facts

  • Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK with over 55,000 women diagnosed each year, including around 4,700 in Scotland
  • 1 in 8 women in Scotland will be diagnosed with it during their lifetime
  • Around 5 out of 6 women diagnosed in the UK today will be alive in 5 years’ time, compared to 3 out of 6 women 40 years ago
  • However nearly 1,000 women still die of breast cancer every month in the UK, including around 80 women in Scotland

Be breast aware

Woman of all ages should be breast aware and regularly check their breasts for changes. Although lumps in your breast or armpit may be harmless, you should get them checked by the GP.

Other symptoms to look out for are:

  • A lump, area of thickened tissue or bumps in either breast.
  • A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts.
  • A lump or swelling in either of your armpits.
  • Skin that appears like orange peel.
  • Crusting on or around the nipple.
  • A leaking nipple which may or may not be streaked with blood.
  • Dimples or skin that’s become drawn in.
  • A nipple that’s become turned in.

Further information

Much of this, and further information is available in the NHS Scotland information booklet on Breast screening:

There are also several websites with further information on the Scottish breast screening programme and on breast cancer:

www.nhsinform.scot/breastscreening

www.nhsinform.scot/breastcancer

www.getcheckedearly.org/breast-cancer

Jan 242019
 

In the last few years the Practice has seen significant changes in its staff complement. As a team we wanted to be sure that we are always trying to deliver a consistent high-quality service, and we clearly need to ensure that this is not affected by staff changes.

As part of our in-house education program the practice has spent some time updating its mission statement. We have done this with the aim of being more explicit about what we mean by providing a high-quality service, both in terms of transparency to our patients and with the aim of improving the Practice’s organisational focus internally.

From this point onwards we will use the new mission statement and value statement more explicitly, for example when we are planning service changes and responding to suggestions and criticisms.

We have always held these values, but having spent some time discussing our organisation’s aims and values internally we believe we need to be clearer about our values so we can be measured against them.

As well as having them stated below, the values in our mission statement have a permanent page on our website: www.bruntsfieldmedicalpractice.co.uk/about/mission-statement


We provide high quality healthcare in partnership with our patients.



This mission statement is underpinned by three core values:

Professionalism

We provide high quality, up-to-date healthcare as safely as possible.

We communicate effectively with our patients, healthcare colleagues and other members of the community care team.

We work to build and maintain trusting relationships with our patients, healthcare colleagues and other members of the community care team.

Professional medical standards are regulated by the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Caring

The foundation of providing a professional, high quality service is listening to our patients and respecting their choices. We do this in an empathetic, confidential and non- judgemental environment.

Fairness

We will provide an equitable and high quality service that puts the welfare of all of our patients at the heart of what we do.

Jan 092019
 

From the first week of February 2019, we will be doing away with the longstanding 10.40-11am ‘Speaking Time’.

This was the time that was traditionally set aside where patients could phone the Practice and speak to one of the GPs about an issue that didn’t necessarily need a face-to-face consultation.

More and more this service has not met the needs of our patients, with an increasing volume of calls but a limited availability of GPs.

To replace this old service we are offering daily telephone consultations slots with each of the GPs who are in that day.

These slots will be available to book by calling the Practice between 9am and 10.30am each morning.

You will be given a 30 to 45 minute window by the Patient Services Adviser, during which you should make sure you are available by your phone for the GP to call you.

If you don’t answer the call, for whatever reason, this will be considered a ‘missed appointment’ and you will need to call the Practice back to re-schedule a new telephone appointment for another day/time.

The telephone consultations are expected to last around 5 minutes, and are to be used to discuss ongoing issues such as test results feedback, reviewing medication or updating on the progress of existing treatment.

These appointments are NOT intended for discussion of new or emerging ailments, or anything where the GP is likely to have to examine you. For these you should make a normal face-to-face appointment.

We hope this new service will better meet the needs of our patients, but as with any service change we implement we will be monitoring how effective it is and will keep our patients informed of any further changes.

Jun 262018
 

Thank you to those patients who completed our questionnaires on Results Handling in 2017 and 2018. These questionnaires were part of a patient safety project on making results handing safer, which we have now concluded. We would now like to share some of our results. We have taken the questions asked in the survey and below we try to respond to the most common or interesting comments we received.

1. What are your views on the ease of the appointment booking process to get your blood taken?

  • Generally people found making an appointment for a blood test to be easy
  • There were comments regarding being able to book an appointment online
    Unfortunately we are unable to offer this facility at the present time but this will definitely come in the future.
  • There were requests to have blood taken at the time of the GP appointment rather than coming back to see a nurse a different day
    Unfortunately the GP appointment does not allow sufficient time for this, however, if there is an urgency to obtaining blood e.g. you are acutely unwell, the GP will likely take your blood. All routine blood tests need to be taken by our nursing/phlebotomy team.
  • There was a request to be able to book further ahead for a test
    To manage supply and demand we used to only open up appointments 2-3 weeks ahead of time. Recently it was agreed to open up appointments 4 weeks ahead which will allow a little more flexibility.

2. Was the Practice policy on test results explained to you when the blood was taken?

  • 30.6% advised they had not been told the Practice policy on test results.
    As a result of this we have produced a small laminated patient information leaflet that can be read while having a blood test taken. As well as that we have created a new page on the website about test results, and some of that information is going up on the waiting room display screen and in the summer 2018 Practice newsletter.

3. Are you happy with the Practice’s method of handling test results?

  • 21.3% advised they were not happy with this method of results handling.
  • The main points raised were patients would like to know results regardless of whether normal or abnormal and there were concerns that if you did not hear about the result how would you know the result hadn’t been lost?
    Hopefully through further education and information sharing on our Results Policy we will be able to highlight that you are still very welcome to call the Practice after 2pm to enquire about your results if you have not heard from us or if you are just keen to know. The majority of test results should be back with the Practice within a week of the sample being taken, but you should be told if your particular test will take longer.

4. What matters most to you when you have a blood test and receiving results?

  • • The most common comments were about knowing what the results are, that abnormal results are communicated promptly, easier access to results, being easy to get results by phone and having an explanation of any abnormal results
    We try to ensure any abnormal results will be communicated within a week of the test being taken, however, there are a few tests that take longer to come back from the laboratory.
    We have ‘talk time;’ between 10.40 and 11am every morning Monday to Friday for patients to discuss any concerns re results with the GPs.
    We accept that some patients want to know their results whether good or bad and we encourage you to call a week after having the tests after 2pm.
  • There were also comments about the timing of appointments to get blood drawn not being available later in the day.
    Our last van to transport samples to the laboratory is at 3pm so we do need to have any appointments for tests before this time.

5. Any other views, or suggestions for improvement on the process of having a blood test and receiving results?

  • Generally people seem pleased with our system.
  • There were a few comments suggesting the use of a confirmation email with results or a text with result.
    Unfortunately we do not have the capacity to provide a texting or email service for results. There is no approved software that would do this automatically meaning it would have to be done manually for each result. With the quantity of tests that we request in a month the amount of work that this would generate is beyond our current capability.
    There is also the added obstacle of data security and confidentiality, which would make a system like even more complicated to manage.
  • There were also suggestions for an information sheet related to blood tests and results might be helpful.
    We have produced a small patient information sheet that can be read while having your blood taken. This explains our policy and process for receiving your results. We will also share this information via our website, waiting room screen and Practice newsletter.

6. Would you access your test results electronically if such a system was available?

  • 85.2% of patients said yes.
    While the technology to be able to be able to offer some kind of online portal for results does exist, and something similar to this is available to patients with diabetes and some renal conditions, there is currently no large scale system in place, compatible with the software used within NHS Lothian, that will do this job.
    This question was added to gauge potential popularity of a system like this that could be communicated to the appropriate parties to aim for a future online results system for our patients.
Sep 052017
 

The Practice is starting our 2017/18 Seasonal Flu Vaccination Programme from Monday 2nd October, 2017.

Appointments are available to book NOW so please call us on 0131 228 6081, or come into the Practice as soon as possible, to secure your appointment.

To start us off we have set up a couple of special flu clinics in October and November. This is to accommodate the ever-increasing number of eligible patients, and like last year, we’re calling it our:

Big Bruntsfield Flu Blitz!

These clinics will be held on:

Saturday 7th October, 9am to 1pm

Thursday 2nd November, 2pm to 5.30pm



These clinics will be very busy. Appointments must be booked in advance and are strictly for flu and pneumococcal vaccines only. Eligible children will also be able to attend these clinics.

Please note, during the Saturday flu clinic times the practice will be closed to everyone but those with booked appointments, and any emergencies will be managed through NHS24 on telephone number 111.

Our usual flu clinics will also run throughout October and November, led by our Practice Nurses, in normal surgery hours. These appointments are also restricted to 5 minutes and for flu and pneumococcal vaccination only. If you need to address any other health matters please make a separate appointment.

ELIGIBILITY

The following groups of patients are eligible to receive the flu vaccination from the Practice:

  • Everyone who will be aged 65 or over by 31st March, 2018
  • All children aged 2 to 5 years old on 1st September 2017 (children in this age range already attending school will be vaccinated at school)
  • Anyone aged 6 months and over with the following conditions:
    • Asthma (you must require regular use of a steroid inhaler or tablets for control, or have had an emergency admission to hospital because of your asthma in the last year)
    • Other chronic respiratory disease (such as COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or cystic fibrosis)
    • Chronic heart disease
    • Severe kidney or liver disease
    • Chronic neurological disease (e.g. Stroke/TIA, MS)
    • Diabetes
    • Lowered immunity due to disease or treatment
    • Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen (including sickle-cell anaemia & coeliac disease)
  • Adults with a body mass index >40 kg/m2
  • Women in any stage of pregnancy
  • Or if you are an unpaid carer, or a young carer, for someone who could not manage without your help if you became ill

If you are unsure about your eligibility, please discuss it with a GP or nurse. Speaking time is between 10.40-11.00 am every weekday.

EGG ALLERGY

The flu vaccine is cultured in egg protein. For eligible patients who have a severe egg allergy, the Practice will have a small supply of a suitable alternative vaccine. We plan to contact these patients ahead of time to gauge demand and organise a specific clinic. If you are eligible for the flu vaccination, and have an egg allergy, please make sure you inform the Practice.

NASAL SPRAY

All 2 to 5 year olds, as well as those aged 6 to 17 years old in one of the risk groups above, will be getting the flu vaccination in the form of a nasal spray rather than an injection. The spray is done once into each nostril, and is quick and painless.

If your child is aged 9 years or under, in an at risk group, and has never been vaccinated for flu before, they will need the vaccine repeated 4 weeks later to ensure adequate protection. Your Practice Nurse should make you aware during the initial vaccination appointment if this is the case for your child.

Be aware that this form of the vaccine is not recommended for those with severe immunodeficiency (or for someone who lives in the same household as someone with a severe immunodeficiency), or for anyone with an egg allergy. If you’re unsure if you or your child fit into these categories, please speak to your usual GP before booking your appointment.

For the small proportion of patients for whom the nasal spray isn’t appropriate, they will be offered the injectable flu vaccination.

2 TO 5 YEAR OLDS

We will be holding children’s flu clinics again this year, specifically for the 2 to 5 year olds (not yet at school). Primary school children will receive the vaccine at school with parental consent. Eligible children can also attend the special flu clinics details above.

If you and your child are both eligible to receive the flu vaccination, and you intend to book into one of the big clinics to be vaccinated at the same time, can you please make sure to mention that to the receptionist at the time of booking to ensure you are booked in with the same clinician in consecutive appointments.

PNEUMOCOCCAL

Patients aged 65 and over, or in a risk group, who have not yet had a pneumococcal vaccination, will also be offered this vaccine during their flu clinic appointment. If you know you are due to get the pneumococcal vaccination let the receptionist know when booking your appointment so they can make a note of it. This allows the Doctor or Nurse to be as organised as possible during the clinic. This is also available at the special flu clinics.

For most adults the pneumococcal vaccination is a one-off dose that should last a lifetime, so does not need to be administered annually. For a few patients though, it is recommended that they receive the pneumococcal vaccination every 5 years. These include patients over the age of 16 with:

  • Chronic kidney disease (incl. CKD 4-5)
  • Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen (incl. sickle-cell anaemia & coeliac disease)
  • Immunosuppression

If you think fall into one of these categories, speak to your Nurse or usual GP.

SHINGLES

The shingles vaccination programme is continuing for patients aged 70 on 1st September 2017 (date of birth between 02/09/1946 – 01/09/1947).

There is a catch-up programme which is also continuing for other patients in their 70s, as detailed below:

  • Patients aged 71 on 1st September 2017 (date of birth between 02/09/1945 and 01/09/1946)
  • Patients aged 72 on 1st September 2017 (date of birth between 02/09/1944 and 01/09/1945)
  • Patients aged 73 on 1st September 2017 (date of birth between 02/09/1943 and 01/09/1944)
  • Patients aged 74 on 1st September 2017 (date of birth between 02/09/1942 and 01/09/1943)
  • Patients aged 76 on 1st September 2017 (date of birth between 02/09/1940 and 01/09/1941)
  • Patients aged 77 on 1st September 2017 (date of birth between 02/09/1939 and 01/09/1940)
  • Patients aged 78 on 1st September 2017 (date of birth between 02/09/1938 and 01/09/1939)
  • Patients aged 79 on 1st September 2017 (date of birth between 02/09/1937 and 01/09/1938)

Unfortunately, if you turn 70 some time in the next year, but AFTER 1st September 2017 you will NOT be eligible to receive the shingles vaccine until next year’s programme.

Those aged 75 as at 1st September 2017 are the last to be included in the catch-up programme, but should be eligible from 1st September 2018.

If you’re eligible to receive the shingles vaccination this year it can also be done at the same time as your flu jab. Please note however a longer appointment will be required, so let the receptionist know. Also the Shingles vaccines will NOT be available at the special flu clinics.

INVITATIONS

The Lothian Health board will be sending out invitations to patients aged 65 years and over towards the end of September to remind them about making an appointment for their flu vaccination.

Letters from Public Health will be going out to families of the children aged 2 to 5 years old not yet at school informing them of their eligibility and encouraging them to make an appointment.

For all other at risk groups – neither the Health Board nor the Practice routinely invite patients to attend for the flu vaccination. If you’re in one of the groups mentioned above, don’t wait to be invited – contact the practice today to make your appointment!

NON-ELIGIBLE PATIENTS

Unfortunately we are only able to vaccinate members of the above groups. We are therefore not able to vaccinate individuals who fail to meet these criteria – even if the NHS has vaccinated them in the past.

We appreciate that many individuals who are not eligible for NHS vaccination wish to protect themselves against influenza. While we are unable to provide this service ourselves there are a number of private health providers who have secured supplies of the influenza vaccine. Local examples include:

The Edinburgh Clinic 40 Colinton Road 0131 447 2340
Lloyds Pharmacy 129 Bruntsfield Place 0131 228 3725
Boots Pharmacy 46-48 Shandwick Place 0131 225 6757
28-30 Newington Road 0131 667 3008
101-103 Princess Street 0131 225 8331
Craigleith Retail Park 0131 332 6114
Ocean Terminal 0131 554 6834
Fort Retail Park 0131 669 4428
Gyle Centre 0131 317 1288
Paton & Finlay 177 Bruntsfield Place 0131 229 2110

 

Further information and Leaflets on the Flu or Pneumococcal vaccinations can be found at the Immunisation Scotland website by clicking the links below:

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/seasonalflu/index.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/seasonalflu/infoforhealthconditions.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/seasonalflu/childflu.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/seasonalflu/pregnantwomen.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/pneumococcal.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/shingles.aspx

If you have any queries in the meantime please contact your usual GP between 10.40 and 11.00 am on one of the days they normally consult.

Mar 302017
 

Due to the increasing volume of prescriptions that the practice handles we can no longer guarantee to turn prescription requests around within a working day – it will now take two working days which is the NHS Scotland target for general practice.

The same turnaround time applies to hospital recommendations and hospital doctors are aware of this timeframe. Should the hospitals wish a prescription to be started immediately after an appointment the NHS Lothian policy is that they will arrange for this to happen at the time of your appointment through the hospital pharmacy.

The practice has also been aware of experiencing an increasing volume of requests from patients for routine medication prescriptions to be turned round within a matter of hours. Only very rarely will missing a day or two of medication have any impact on someone’s health. Where this is not the case the practice will no longer be expediting these requests.

The reason for this is that an adequate window of time is essential for your usual GP to make sure that any prescriptions which are not authorised on the system are handled in a safe and efficient manner. This has always been important – it is becoming even more important and time-consuming as we now have more medications to treat more conditions. This results in:

  • More potentially dangerous drug interactions and more opportunity for a medication to interact with an individual’s other health problems. Repeated studies have found that between 5-10% of hospital admissions are related to medication problems, and that the majority of these are preventable.

  • More demands on scarce NHS resources. Medication costs in Scotland are constantly increasing. At present the annual cost is just under £1.6 billion, which is approximately 13% of the total NHS Scotland budget. Sometimes the costs of nearly identical drugs can vary by a factor of 100. It is therefore essential that as a practice we prescribe efficiently as well as safely and effectively.

Please remember that pharmacies within the UK can normally sort out a short-term supply of medication in the event of you realising you have run out at the weekend or while travelling in the UK. With the occasional exception there is normally no need to have an emergency appointment with a GP if it is a medication that is been used on an ongoing basis.

Oct 032016
 

Stoptober is a public health campaign, spearheaded by NHS England, to help smokers in their attempts to quit. It runs the length of October and aims to help motivate you by providing support during your attempt to quit smoking. They’ve made the process easier than ever before by chunking it down to 28 days.

They have produced an app that you can download for iPhone or Android. It gives you daily updates and encouragement during your attempts to quit.

They also have a Facebook group that you can join to get more advice and connect with others who are trying to quit.

Just search online for “Stoptober” to find a resource to help you quit.

Why should you quit?

If you smoke, giving up is probably the greatest single step you can take to improve your health.

The risks of continuing to smoke are well known, and you can read more about them on the nhsinform pages on quitting smoking.

Knowing the risks isn’t the issue though, it’s actually being able to quit. Around 70% of smokers say they want to stop smoking, but most believe they are unable to.

We already have a page on our website that mentions many of the benefits to your health and lifestyle if you’re able to quit smoking, and stay quit. There is also more detailed information on the benefits to your health if you quit on the nhsinform site linked above.

What most people really need though is support to help them to quit.

What support is available within Lothian?

smokefreeLothian
The smokefreeLothian Service runs throughout Lothian. Their specially trained stop smoking advisors can offer support and advice tailored to you. We know it can be difficult to stop smoking but you can do it and they are there to help. In fact you are 4 times more likely to stop with help!

You can read more about the service on the NHSLothian website.

You can call the South Edinburgh office for smokefreeLothian on 0131 537 7154, or you can text/call 07964 247 482.

You can also email them at stopsmoking.service@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk

The service promises: No pressure, no lectures, just support!

Pharmacy Scheme
Pharmacies across Lothian offer up to 12-weeks of one-to-one support. These personal sessions double your chances of success. They can also prescribe nicotine replacement therapy to support you in your quit attempt. To find a pharmacy near you then please visit the NHS24 website and search by your postcode.

Shared Care
For people who attend the pharmacy scheme but would also like support from the stop smoking service, you are welcome to attend your local stop smoking session. This will provide you with the opportunity to meet other people who are trying to stop smoking and can be accessed for as long as you like.

Self-help
The self-help guide, ‘Your Path to a Smokefree Life’ is a very useful aid to help you succeed in stopping smoking.

You can access the guide below, or by calling the smokefreeLothian Service and asking for the guide to be sent to you.

Your Guide to a Smokefree Life

Smokeline
Smokeline is Scotland’s confidential free stop smoking hotline which is available 8am-10pm seven days a week on 0800 84 84 84. Their trained advisors can give you advice and support on stopping smoking. They can also tell you about services available in your local area.

CanStopSmoking
This NHS Sctland website provides helpful information and practice advice about stopping. To find out more visit www.canstopsmoking.com

How can we help?

Remember you can always make an appointment to speak to your usual GP or one of our Practice Nurses if you want more information on the support options available to help you quit smoking.

Mar 112016
 

The breast screening programme in Scotland invites all women between the age of 50 and 70 years old for breast screening approximately every 3 years.

When you get your appointment depends on which practice you are registered with, and the eligible women registered at Bruntsfield are being invited for screening at Ardmillan House on Springwell Terrace during March and April 2016.

Patients aged over 70 will not receive an invitation as standard, but you are still welcome to attend every 3 years and can make an appointment by ringing the centre on 0131 537 7400.

Information About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting woman in the UK. In Scotland 1 in 9 woman are diagnosed with it, with around 1000 deaths in Scotland each year.

Breast Screening

Breast cancer screening involves an X-ray examination called a mammogram, which tries to detect cancer before it causes symptoms or findings on examination. The earlier a cancer is diagnosed the easier it is to treat.

In 2013, during the last screening round, 12 patients from Bruntsfield Medical Practice, out of 1,009 women screened, were diagnosed with breast cancer as a result of the screening. Overall, breast screening saves around 130 lives every year in Scotland.

Once the invitations have all gone out, if you missed or didn’t receive your appointment, and you are eligible, you can telephone the Screening Centre at Ardmillan House on 0131 537 7400 to get an appointment.

If you are worried about a breast symptom, you must see your GP who will arrange assessment, if appropriate, at the Breast Clinic at the Western General Hospital rather than the screening unit at Ardmillan House. If you have been seen in the past year in the breast clinic, the minimum interval before repeating the mammogram is 6 months.

Thanks, in part, to the breast cancer screening programme, the prognosis for patients diagnosed with breast cancer is improving. 85% of patients will live for at least 5 years and 75% of patients will live for at least 10 years.

Screening Risks

For every 200 woman who attend breast screening every 3 years from 50-70 years old, 15 are diagnosed with breast cancer. 3 of these patient’s cancers would not have caused problems and receive “over treatment”. But the remaining 12 patients receive life saving early treatment.

Mammograms can very rarely cause a cancer on account of the radiation associated with the scan. Also on occasion they can miss a cancer. Equally tumours can develop in the time between screening appointments, so that it is always important to be vigilant and breast aware.

Despite these points, cancer researchers still believe the benefits outweigh the risks in breast screening.

Breast Aware

Woman of all ages should be breast aware and regularly check their breasts for changes. Although lumps in your breast or armpit may be harmless, you should get them checked by the GP. Other symptoms to look out for are:

  • A lump, area of thickened tissue or bumps in either breast.
  • A change in the size or shape of one or both breasts.
  • A lump or swelling in either of your armpits.
  • Skin that appears like orange peel.
  • Crusting on or around the nipple.
  • A leaking nipple which may or may not be streaked with blood.
  • Dimples or skin that’s become drawn in.
  • A nipple that’s become turned in.

Family history

Less than 10% of breast cancer cases are due to inheriting a faulty gene. As breast cancer is so common, it is not uncommon to have one or two extended family members with breast cancer. For most, having a relative with breast cancer doesn’t increase their risk of breast cancer. If you are concerned about your family history of breast and ovarian cancer please see your GP, as it is sometimes appropriate to attend the Genetics Clinic at the Western General Hospital to assess your individual risk further.

Breast Screening “Helping you decide” Booklet from NHS inform website:

More information can also be found from the following websites:

www.nhsinform.co.uk
www.getcheckedearly.org
www.breakthrough.org.uk
www.breastcancercare.org.uk
www.cancerresearchuk.org

Oct 202015
 

There have been a number of enquiries to the Practice recently by patients who have been unable to access the website, usually to request repeat prescriptions.

When trying to access the website the following error message would be obtained, rather than the website itself.

This is due to an incompatibility between the security certificate the website uses (to allow users of the website a secure connection to submit personal/medical information to the Practice) and older versions of the web browsing software that some people might still be using. The majority of problems have been reported by people using older versions of a browser called Internet Explorer, which is installed as standard on Windows based PCs.

As a first step to help with this issue, we have stopped applying the security certificate to the website as a whole, instead choosing to selectively apply it to only those pages with a web form that allows users to submit information to us.

This means, that even with an older browser, the basic website is still accessible to all.

Where this doesn’t help is on those pages with a web form, such as the one that allows user to request their repeat prescriptions, where the same error will be displayed if accessed via an older browser.

If you are someone who has experienced a problem like this when accessing the Practice website, and you still want to use the web form functionality, the next step in fixing it is for you to update your web browsing software to a compatible version, or install an alternate web browser.

Our current security certificate is compatible with the following versions and onwards of the five most popular web browsers:

Browser Earliest compatible version Operating system compatibility
Internet Explorer Version 11 Windows 7 onwards
Google Chrome Version 30 Windows XP onwards
Mozilla Firefox Version 27 Windows XP onwards
Opera Version 17 Windows XP onwards
Apple Safari Version 7 OS X 10.9 onwards

For more complete information on browser compatibility check your current browser against TLS protocol 1.2 in the table shown within the following link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_Layer_Security

If you decide you want to upgrade your browser, or install a new one, the following links will help you with that:

Browser Upgrade Install
Internet Explorer Upgrade instructions for IE Downlink link for IE
Google Chrome Upgrade instructions for Chrome Download link for Chrome
Mozilla Firefox Upgrade instructions for Firefox Download link for Firefox
Opera Upgrade instructions for Opera Download link for Opera
Apple Safari Upgrade instructions for Safari Download link for Safari

We apologise to everyone who has experienced difficulty accessing the Practice website, and hope that you understand the need to maintain a secure environment when dealing with medical data.

Sep 162015
 

The Practice is starting our 2015/16 Seasonal Flu Vaccination Programme on Wednesday 30th September, 2015.

Appointments are available to book NOW, so please call us on 0131 228 6081, or come into the Practice as soon as possible, to secure your appointment.

So far we have set up a couple of special flu clinics in addition to the usual daytime flu clinics in October and November. This is to accommodate the ever-increasing number of eligible patients.

SPECIAL FLU CLINICS

These will be held on:

Wednesday 7th October 1.30pm – 5.00pm
Saturday 7th November 9.00am – 12.30pm

These clinics will be very busy. Appointments must be booked in advance and are restricted to 5 minutes, strictly for flu and pneumococcal vaccines only. Eligible children will also be able to attend these clinics.

Please note, during the Saturday flu clinic times the practice will be closed to everyone but those with booked appointments, and any emergencies will be managed through NHS24 on telephone number 111.

Our usual flu clinics will also run throughout October and November, led by our Practice Nurses, in normal surgery hours. These appointments are also restricted to 5 minutes and for flu and pneumococcal vaccination only. If you need to address any other health matters please make a separate appointment.

ELIGIBILITY

The following groups of patients are eligible to receive the flu vaccination from the Practice:

  • Everyone who will be aged 65 or over by 31st March, 2016
  • All children aged 2 to 5 years old on 1st September 2015 (children in this age range already attending school will be vaccinated at school)
  • Anyone aged 6 months and over with the following conditions:
    • Asthma (you must require regular use of a steroid inhaler or tablets for control, or have had an emergency admission to hospital because of your asthma in the last year)
    • Other chronic respiratory disease (such as COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or cystic fibrosis)
    • Chronic heart disease
    • Severe kidney or liver disease
    • Chronic neurological disease (e.g. Stroke/TIA, MS)
    • Diabetes
    • Lowered immunity due to disease or treatment
    • Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen (including sickle-cell anaemia & coeliac disease)
  • Adults with a body mass index >40 kg/m2
  • Women in any stage of pregnancy
  • Or if you are an unpaid carer, or a young carer, for someone who could not manage without your help if you became ill

If you are unsure about your eligibility, please discuss it with a GP or nurse. Speaking time is between 10.40-11.00 am every weekday.

EGG ALLERGY

The flu vaccine is cultured in egg protein. For eligible patients who have a severe egg allergy, the Practice will have a small supply of a suitable alternative vaccine. We plan to contact these patients ahead of time to gauge demand and organise a specific clinic. If you are eligible for the flu vaccination, and have an egg allergy, please make sure you inform the Practice.

NASAL SPRAY

All 2 to 5 year olds, as well as those aged 6 to 17 years old in one of the risk groups above, will be getting the flu vaccination in the form of a nasal spray rather than an injection. The spray is done once into each nostril, and is quick and painless.

If your child is aged 9 years or under, in an at risk group, and has never been vaccinated for flu before, they will need the vaccine repeated 4 weeks later to ensure adequate protection. Your Practice Nurse should make you aware during the initial vaccination appointment if this is the case for your child.

Be aware that this form of the vaccine is not recommended for those with severe immunodeficiency (or for someone who lives in the same household as someone with a severe immunodeficiency), or for anyone with an egg allergy. If you’re unsure if you or your child fit into these categories, please speak to your usual GP before booking your appointment.

For the small proportion of patients for whom the nasal spray isn’t appropriate, they will be offered the injectable flu vaccination.

2 TO 5 YEAR OLDS

We will be holding children’s flu clinics again this year, specifically for the 2 to 5 year olds (not yet at school). Primary school children will receive the vaccine at school with parental consent. Children can also attend the special flu clinics details above.

PNEUMOCOCCAL

Patients aged 65 and over, or in a risk group, who have not yet had a pneumococcal vaccination, will also be offered this vaccine during their flu clinic appointment. If you know you are due to get the pneumococcal vaccination let the receptionist know when booking your appointment so they can make a note of it. This allows the Nurse to be as organised as possible during the clinic. This is also available at the special flu clinics.

For most adults the pneumococcal vaccination is a one-off dose that should last a lifetime, so does not need to be administered annually. For a few patients though, it is recommended that they receive the pneumococcal vaccination every 5 years. These include patients over the age of 16 with:

  • Chronic kidney disease (incl CKD 4-5)
  • Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen (incl sickle-cell anaemia & coeliac disease)
  • Immunosuppression

If you think fall into one of these categories, speak to your Nurse or usual GP.

SHINGLES

The shingles vaccination programme is being continued from the last two years, for patients aged 70 on 1st September 2015 (date of birth between 02/09/1944 – 01/09/1945). The catch-up programme is also continuing, as before for patients aged 78 on 1st September 2015 (date of birth between 02/09/1936 – 01/09/1937).

If you were eligible during a previous year’s programme, still under 80 years old, but didn’t receive the shingles vaccine during the year, you are eligible to receive it during this year’s programme as well:

  • Patients aged 71 on 1st September 2015 (date of birth between 02/09/1943 and 01/09/1944)
  • Patients aged 72 on 1st September 2015 (date of birth between 02/09/1942 and 01/09/1943)
  • Patients aged 79 on 1st September 2015 (date of birth between 02/09/1935 and 01/09/1936)

Unfortunately, if you turn 70 some time in the next year, but AFTER 1st September 2015 you will not be eligible to receive the shingles vaccine until next year’s programme.

If you’re eligible to receive the shingles vaccination this year it can also be done at the same time as your flu jab. Please note however a longer appointment will be required, so let the receptionist know. Also the Shingles vaccines will NOT be available at the special flu clinics.

INVITATIONS

The Lothian Health board will be sending out invitations to patients aged 65 years and over towards the end of September to remind them about making an appointment for their flu vaccination.

Letters from Public Health will be going out to families of the children aged 2 to 5 years old informing them of their eligibility and encouraging them to make an appointment.

For all other at risk groups – neither the Health Board nor the Practice routinely invite patients to attend for the flu vaccination. If you’re in one of the groups mentioned above, don’t wait to be invited – contact the practice today to make your appointment!

NON-ELIGIBLE PATIENTS

Unfortunately we are only able to vaccinate members of the above groups. We are therefore not able to vaccinate individuals who fail to meet these criteria – even if the NHS has vaccinated them in the past.

We appreciate that many individuals who are not eligible for NHS vaccination wish to protect themselves against influenza. While we are unable to provide this service ourselves there are a number of private health providers who have secured supplies of the influenza vaccine. Local examples include:

GP Plus 40 Colinton Road 0845 119 6049
Lloyds Pharmacy 129 Bruntsfield Place 0131 228 3725
Boots Pharmacy 46-48 Shandwick Place 0131 225 6757
101-103 Princess Street 0131 225 8331
Craigleith Retail Park 0131 332 6114
Gyle Centre 0131 317 1288
Fort Retail Park, New Craighall 0131 669 4428
Paton & Finlay 177 Bruntsfield Place 0131 229 2110

 

Further information and Leaflets on the Flu or Pneumococcal vaccinations can be found at the Immunisation Scotland website by clicking the links below:

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/seasonalflu/index.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/seasonalflu/infoforhealthconditions.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/seasonalflu/childflu.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/seasonalflu/pregnantwomen.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/pneumococcal.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/shingles.aspx

If you have any queries in the meantime please contact your usual GP between 10.40 and 11.00 am on one of the days they normally consult.

Aug 312014
 

The Practice is starting our 2014/15 Seasonal Flu Vaccination Programme on Wednesday 1st October, 2014.

Appointments are available to book NOW, so please call us on 228 6081, or come into the Practice as soon as possible, to secure your appointment.

This year we are running three special flu clinics ‘outside office hours’, in addition to the usual daytime flu clinics in October and November. This is to accommodate the ever-increasing number of eligible patients.

‘OUT OF HOURS’ FLU CLINICS

These will be held on:

Wednesday 8th October 2.30pm – 5.00pm*
Thursday 23rd October 6.00pm – 8.00pm
Saturday 1st November 9.00am – 1.00pm

These clinics will be very busy. Appointments must be booked in advance and are restricted to 5 minutes, strictly for flu and pneumococcal vaccines only. Eligible children will also be able to attend these clinics.

*Wednesday 8th October was due to be a training afternoon in which the practice normally closes. The practice will be open for pre-booked flu vaccinations and emergencies only on this afternoon. During the other special flu clinic times the practice will be closed to everyone but those with booked appointments, and any emergencies will be managed through NHS24 on telephone number 111.

Our usual flu clinics will also run throughout October and November, led by our Practice Nurses, in normal surgery hours. These appointments are also restricted to 5 minutes and for flu and pneumococcal vaccination only. If you need to address any other health matters please make a separate appointment.

ELIGIBILITY

The following groups of patients are eligible to receive the flu vaccination from the Practice:

  • Everyone who will be aged 65 or over by 31st March, 2015
  • All children aged 2 to 5 years old on 1st September 2014 (children in this age range already attending school will be vaccinated at school)
  • Anyone aged 6 months and over with the following conditions:
    • Asthma (you must require regular use of a steroid inhaler or tablets for control, or have had an emergency admission to hospital because of your asthma in the last year)
    • Other chronic respiratory disease (such as COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or cystic fibrosis)
    • Chronic heart disease
    • Severe kidney or liver disease
    • Chronic neurological disease (e.g. Stroke/TIA, MS)
    • Diabetes
    • Lowered immunity due to disease or treatment
    • Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen (including sickle-cell anaemia & coeliac disease)
  • Women in any stage of pregnancy
  • Or if you are an unpaid carer, or a young carer, for someone who could not manage without your help if you became ill

If you are unsure about your eligibility, please discuss it with a GP or nurse. Speaking time is between 10.40-11.00 am every weekday.

EGG ALLERGY

The flu vaccine is cultured in egg protein. For eligible patients who have a severe egg allergy, the Practice will have a small supply of a suitable alternative vaccine. We plan to contact these patients ahead of time to gauge demand and organise a specific clinic. If you are eligible for the flu vaccination, and have an egg allergy, please make sure you inform the Practice.

NASAL SPRAY

All 2 to 5 year olds, as well as those aged 6 to 17 years old in one of the risk groups above, will be getting the flu vaccination in the form of a nasal spray rather than an injection. The spray is done once into each nostril, and is quick and painless.

If your child is aged 9 years or under, in an at risk group, and has never been vaccinated for flu before, they will need the vaccine repeated 4 weeks later to ensure adequate protection. Your Practice Nurse should make you aware during the initial vaccination appointment if this is the case for your child.

Be aware that this form of the vaccine is not recommended for those with severe immunodeficiency (or for someone who lives in the same household as someone with a severe immunodeficiency), or for anyone with an egg allergy. If you’re unsure if you or your child fit into these categories, please speak to your usual GP before booking your appointment.

For the small proportion of patients for whom the nasal spray isn’t appropriate, they will be offered the injectable flu vaccination.

2 TO 5 YEAR OLDS

We will be holding children’s flu clinics again this year, specifically for the 2 to 5 year olds (not yet at school). Primary school children will receive the vaccine at school with parental consent. Children can also attend the out of hours flu clinics.

PNEUMOCOCCAL

Patients aged 65 and over, or in a risk group, who have not yet had a pneumococcal vaccination, will also be offered this vaccine during their flu clinic appointment. If you know you are due to get the pneumococcal vaccination let the receptionist know when booking your appointment so they can make a note of it. This allows the Nurse to be as organised as possible during the clinic. This is also available at the ‘Out of Hours’ Flu clinics.

For most adults the pneumococcal vaccination is a one-off dose that should last a lifetime, so does not need to be administered annually. For a few patients though, it is recommended that they receive the pneumococcal vaccination every 5 years. These include patients over the age of 16 with:

  • Chronic kidney disease (incl CKD 4-5)
  • Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen (incl sickle-cell anaemia & coeliac disease)
  • Immunosuppression

If you think fall into one of these categories, speak to your Nurse or usual GP.

SHINGLES

The shingles vaccination programme is being continued from last year, this time for patients aged 70 as at 1st September 2014. The catch-up programme is also continuing, this time for patients aged 78 or 79 as at 1st September 2014.

If you were 70 years old as at 1st September 2013, but didn’t receive the shingles vaccine during last year’s programme, you are eligible to receive it during this year’s programme as well.

Unfortunately, if you turn 70 some time in the next year, but AFTER 1st September 2014 you will not be eligible to receive the shingles vaccine until next year’s programme.

If you’re eligible to receive the shingles vaccination this year it can also be done at the same time as your flu jab. Please note however a longer appointment will be required, so let the receptionist know. Also the Shingles vaccines will not be available at the Special ‘Out of Hours’ flu clinics.

INVITATIONS

The Lothian Health board will be sending out invitations to patients aged 65 years and over towards the end of September to remind them about making an appointment for their flu vaccination.

Letters from the Practice will be going out to families of the children aged 2 to 5 years old informing them of their eligibility and encouraging them to make an appointment.

For all other at risk groups – neither the Health Board nor the Practice routinely invite patients to attend for the flu vaccination. If you’re in one of the groups mentioned above, don’t wait to be invited – contact the practice today to make your appointment!

NON-ELIGIBLE PATIENTS

Unfortunately we are only able to vaccinate members of the above groups. We are therefore not able to vaccinate individuals who fail to meet these criteria – even if the NHS has vaccinated them in the past.

We appreciate that many individuals who are not eligible for NHS vaccination wish to protect themselves against influenza. While we are unable to provide this service ourselves there are a number of private health providers who have secured supplies of the influenza vaccine. Local examples include:

GP Plus 40 Colinton Road 0845 119 6049
Lloyds Pharmacy 129 Bruntsfield Place 0131 228 3725
Boots Pharmacy 46-48 Shandwick Place 0131 225 6757
101-103 Princess Street 0131 225 8331
Craigleith Retail Park 0131 332 6114
Gyle Centre 0131 317 1288
Fort Retail Park, New Craighall 0131 669 4428
Paton & Finlay 177 Bruntsfield Place 0131 229 2110

 

Further information and Leaflets on the Flu or Pneumococcal vaccinations can be found at the Immunisation Scotland website by clicking the links below:

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/seasonalflu/index.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/seasonalflu/infoforhealthconditions.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/seasonalflu/childflu.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/seasonalflu/pregnantwomen.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/pneumococcal.aspx

http://www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/vaccines-and-diseases/shingles.aspx

If you have any queries in the meantime please contact your usual GP between 10.40 and 11.00 am on one of the days they normally consult.

Jul 162014
 

GPs across the UK report there is not enough time to meet all the needs of their patients. Demand for appointments keeps rising. Older and vulnerable people with complex issues need to spend more time with their GP.

Pressures on the system are resulting in GPs retiring early and doctors are not choosing general practice as a career. Therefore it is likely that there will be fewer GPs to go around despite the increasing demand and the situation could get worse year-on-year. But patients need their GP now more than ever.

Your GP cares that this affects how they are able to look after you.

General Practice in Scotland:
  • In Scotland, more than 24 million patient consultations take place in general practice each year.
  • More than 12% of all patients visit their GP practice 10 or more times a year.
  • 40% of the population has at least one long term condition.
  • By 2031, the number of people aged over 75 is forecast to rise by 60%.
  • Almost two-thirds of GPs say their premises are not fit for purpose.
  • Scotland’s population is expected to rise by 10% by 2035, but GP numbers have increased by just 5% since 2006.

In order to deliver high quality comprehensive care to our patients, we need to protect the practice based healthcare team. GPs, nurses and other health professionals working as a team provide vital services to patients in the community. By working together we can secure GP surgeries the investment they desperately need to cope with the growing population and increasing number of services provided by practices, and offer patients the continuity of care they value.

To this end. the British Medical Association’s General Practitioners Committee have started the Your GP Cares Campaign. They call for long-term, sustainable investment in general practice now to:

  1. Attract, retain and expand the number of GPs
  2. Expand the number of practice staff
  3. Improve premises GP services are provided from

Over the coming months, they will be encouraging debate so that politicians and policy makers understand the urgent need for investment in GP services for today and tomorrow.

How can you take part:
  • Support the BMA – join the campaign at bma.org.uk/YourGPcares
  • Put pressure on your local politician – Find out how at bma.org.uk/YourGPcaresaction
  • Share your experiences – Tell them how problems in general practice affect you by emailing then at YourGPcares@bma.org.uk
  • Follow @The BMA on Twitter – Promote the campaign and discuss the issues using #YourGPcares
  • Sign the petition – the Royal College of General Practitioners has started a petition to demand the Scottish Government acts now to ensure practices have the resources they need. You can sign a hardcopy we have in the Practice, set up on the table in front of the reception desk, or you can sign online at the RCGP website.