Carers Week is a UK-wide annual awareness campaign, this year running between 9th-15th June. Its aim is to improve the lives of carers and the people they care for, raising awareness of carers at a national, regional and local level.

A carer is someone who, without payment, provides help and support to a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour, who could not manage without their regular and substantial help due to disability, physical or mental illness or addiction.

An estimated 1 in 8 people in Scotland are unpaid carers to those in need. These people can save the NHS millions, but often go unsupported in their role. The theme of this year’s Carer’s Week is the Carer’s Quest to identify and reach out to the thousands of carers in the UK who are currently missing out on services and support.

The Practice is keen to identify the carers among our patients, so if you are a carer you can come into the Practice to speak to one of our GPs or Practice Nurses to find out about the services out there that can help and support you. Or you can fill out the short form below to identify yourself to us as a carer and we will flag that on your record.

Being flagged as a carer means:

  • that information will be visible to all clinicians and it can be recognised and considered in any future consultations
  • you are eligible for the seasonal flu vaccination each year.
  • if you’re not already being reviewed by a GP or Nurse for an existing condition, you can book an appointment for an annual health check (generally done around your birthday month) with one of the Practice Nurses.
Your Name (required)
Your Date of Birth (required)
Your Email Address (include if you would like a copy)
Who do you care for? (optional)



Please type the following characters in the space provided below (no spaces, not case-sensitive):
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If you are a carer, please also check out our Carer’s Page, that contains more information, and links to a variety of support services especially for carers.

In 2014, Wednesday 12th March is No Smoking Day in the UK.

The theme for No Smoking Day this year is V for Victory – in the battle against cancer we can help you win.

If you would like local help to quit smoking, there are several options open to you.

You can choose to self-refer to the NHS Stop Smoking Service by phoning the number for the South West area: 0131 537 7154 or text/call 07800 776 327

The service itself offers several ways to help you stop smoking, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your lifestyle. These include one-to-one support, group support, self-help, NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy), or prescribed medication.

Young people who want to stop smoking can call or text 07969 530266, and members of the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender community who do not wish to access generic services can call 0131 523 1100. This service is available at the LGBT Centre for Health & Wellbeing.

You can phone the practice on 0131 228 6081 to make an appointment with one of our practice nurses, who will be able to explain the various stop smoking options to you, as well as offer you motivational support and encouragement. Or if you prefer, you can also speak to your usual GP.

Support is also available from some community pharmacists, who can provide Nicotine Replacement Therapy as well as one-to-one support sessions to help you quit. The list of participating pharmacies in the South Central area is available here.

Our Smoking Cessation advice page goes through many of the benefits of going smoke free, but there are also several other websites online that can help you find what support is available in your area, as well as find useful hints, advice and tools to help you quit, such as at www.canstopsmoking.com.

It’s never too late to give up smoking, and the support is out there to help you once you’ve made that first step in deciding to quit.

If you would like to update the practice on your current smoking status, you can fill out our web form here.


No Smoking Day merged with the British Heart Foundation in 2011. The annual No Smoking Day campaign, which is now in its 30th year, inspires and helps smokers who want to quit, and is supported by an alliance of UK health bodies and charities. For more information about the No Smoking Day campaign visit www.nosmokingday.org.uk or for more on the BHF visit www.bhf.org.uk

This year, Alcohol Awareness Week runs from 18-24 November 2013, and the Practice plans to focus on alcohol awareness for all patients attending the practice this week.

If you have an appointment with a GP or Practice Nurse this week you will be given a questionnaire by the Reception team to fill out while you wait. This is for you to hand to the Nurse or Doctor at the beginning of your consultation so they can give advice to those who may need it.

The theme for Alcohol Awareness Week 2013 is “Conversations About Alcohol”, which is an extension of last year’s theme: “Its Time to Talk About Drinking” and hopefully we are able to continue this theme to highlight some of the health risks associated with drinking.

Patients should feel free to discuss with their Doctor or Nurse any concerns they may have, pick up any leaflets available in the practice, or ask for further information that they may feel helpful.

For further information and advice please see the following websites:
www.nhsinform.co.uk
www.drinkaware.co.uk
www.alcohol-focus-scotland.org.uk
www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk
www.alcoholconcern.org.uk
www.nhs.uk/Alcohol

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in Scotland after lung and breast cancer. Every year, almost 4,000 people are diagnosed with the disease. For men the risk of getting colorectal cancer over the age of 50 is 1 in 18 (5.5%) and for women the equivalent risk is 1 in 22 (4.5%). Bowel cancer is easier to treat the earlier it is diagnosed. The survival rate is more than 90% over five years when diagnosed at the earliest stage, compared to under 10% over five years at the most advanced stage.

The Scottish Bowel Screening Programme has been introduced to increase the number of patients being diagnosed at the earliest stages. The Screening Programme invites all men and women in Scotland between the ages of 50 to 74 for screening every two years. The letter is sent to your address, soon after your 50th birthday, and then every 2 years until you are 75. The address used to send you your kit is the address you have given to register here at Bruntsfield Medical Practice. Please ensure you keep your address up-to-date with us if you move.

The screening test is a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBt). The testing kit is sent by post, along with step-by-step instructions on how to use it (leaflet also linked at the end of this article). You complete the test at home and return it by Freepost to the national Bowel Screening Centre for Scotland. This test detects blood within your stool, which you are not able to see. You will also receive your results within two weeks, directly to your address.

Most test results are negative, however if the results of the test is positive, you will be referred to hospital for further assessment, and if appropriate, may be offered a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is the most effective test for detecting bowel cancer. The bowel is looked at directly, using a flexible tube with a camera, in an outpatient setting.

If you have lost your kit, or did not receive one, and are eligible for the Screening Programme, another kit can be requested by ringing the Scottish Bowel Screening Helpline: 0800 0121 833. This is also the number for further information.

Possible Symptoms of Bowel Cancer are:

  • Repeated bleeding from your bottom or blood in your motions.
  • A recent change in bowel habit that goes on day in day out for over 6 weeks without going back to normal.
  • Looser motions or alternating with constipation (constipation alone is less likely to be serious).
  • Pains in the tummy that are severe, continual and have started recently, especially after eating.
  • You have recently lost weight without trying.
  • You have been told that you are anaemic or look pale and feel tired much of the time.

These symptoms may be caused by a number of conditions including cancer but, if you have any of the above, make an appointment to see your doctor. As no screening test is 100% accurate, even after a negative screening test result, don’t ignore the above symptoms.

Further information:

Scottish Bowel Screening Helpline 0800 0121 833
www.bowelscreening.scot.nhs.uk
www.nhsinform.co.uk

The shingles vaccine has been added to the national immunisation program this year for 70 year olds, with a “catch up program” for 79 year olds.

Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is caused by a reactivation of the chicken pox infection (varicella zoster virus VZV), sometimes decades after the first or primary infection. Following this primary infection, the virus enters the nervous system and remains there in a “latent” infection. Reactivation is usually associated with times of immunosuppression, including old age. The risk of severity of shingles increases with old age.

Symptoms of shingles usually start with abnormal skin sensations and pain in the affected skin area (dermatome). Other features include headache, photophobia, malaise and sometimes fever. Within days or weeks, a blistering rash affecting one side of your body appears in the same skin area. The rash can be intensely painful, hypersensitive and itchy. The rash typically lasts two to four weeks. Following the rash, persistent pain at the site known as Post Herpetic Neuralgia (PHN) can develop and is seen more frequently in older people. This on average lasts three to six months, but can last longer. There are more rare and serious complications, where the virus travels to other organs in the body to cause pneumonia, encephalitis, bleeding disorders and even death.

You must have had chicken pox in your lifetime to get shingles. Although shingles can occur at any age, it has an estimated lifetime risk of one in four.

Transmission of the shingles virus can occur from direct contact with a shingles blister resulting in chicken pox in a susceptible individual.

The shingles vaccine is a live attenuated vaccine, given as a one off, under your skin in your upper arm, rather than in to a muscle. It can be given at the same time as your flu or pneumococcal vaccine.

Who can have the vaccine:

  • Patients aged 70 with a date of birth between 02/09/1942 and 01/09/1943
  • Catch up program for patients age 79 with a date of birth between 02/09/1933 and 01/09/2034
  • Those who have previously had shingles or post herpetic neuralgia

Those who should not have the vaccine:

  • If your date of birth does not fall within the above dates
  • Currently unwell
  • Immunodeficiency with leukaemia, lymphoma, chemotherapy
  • High dose steroids
  • Active untreated TB
  • Pregnancy
  • Previous anaphylaxis to the vaccine

The efficacy of the vaccine declines with age and so it is not recommended for people aged 80 years or older

If you are eligible for the vaccine, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with the nurse for the flu clinic, which is starting on 30th September.

Please see the attached leaflet at the end of this article for more information, or check out the following websites:

www.nhsinform.co.uk
www.immunisationscotland.org.uk

Measles is an acute, highly infectious viral illness, caught through direct contact with an infected person, or through the air via droplets from coughs or sneezes. Almost all who are infected develop symptoms.

Typical symptoms include fever, cough, conjunctivitis and a rash. It is highly infectious from 2-4 days before the rash appears, until about 5 days after the rash has appeared. In the UK, complications are quite common, even in healthy people, and approximately 20% of reported measles cases experience one or more complication. Many people mistakenly assume that measles is a harmless childhood disease like chickenpox. This is not the case.

Complications include ear infections, vomiting and diarrhoea, pneumonia, meningitis, encephalitis, serious eye disorders, heart and nervous system problems and a progressive and fatal brain infection called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) sometimes many years after the first bout of measles. Death occurs in 1 in 2500 to 1 in 5000 cases of measles.

A vaccination program was introduced at the end of 20th century and by the 1990s, measles became extremely rare. Unfortunately this changed after a research publication claiming a link between the MMR vaccine and the developmental condition autism. Despite serious flaws in this research, it received widespread coverage in the media. The research has been proven to be worthless and the Doctor who was the author, has since been struck off the medical register. Sadly, the vaccination rates fell and the disease has become more widespread again. Figures for measles so far in 2013 are at record levels in England and there have been a number of outbreaks.

An outbreak of measles occurred this winter in south Wales. This was only confirmed officially on 3rd July 2013. During this 8 month period, 1455 cases of measles were notified to Public Health.

There were three confirmed cases of measles in Lothian last month, indicating it is circulating locally.

To try and prevent further outbreaks of measles, a national MMR vaccination catch up campaign is underway, targeting 10-17 year old who are unvaccinated, or partly vaccinated. 2 x MMR vaccinations, no less than one month apart, are required to provide immunity. If you require a catch up vaccination, please make an appointment with the practice nurse straight away. If you are unsure about your vaccination history, there is no medical risk by having the vaccination again. It is thought that adults born before 1970 should have immunity from their lifetime exposure.

IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE MEASLES OR BEEN IN CONTACT WITH SOMEONE WITH MEASLES, PLEASE DO NOT COME TO THE SURGERY BUT CONTACT THE SURGERY FOR TELEPHONE TRIAGE. Measles is one of the most infectious diseases and can spread with any face to face contact or 15 minutes in the same room.

Links:
NHS Lothian Press Release
NHS inform page on measles
Immunisation Scotland page on MMR
NHS Scotland leaflet on MMR catch-up campaign

Patients should be aware that there have been some cases of measles in the Edinburgh and West Lothian areas, and NHS Scotland is strongly advising that those in the 10-17 years age group follow the recent advice to have their full MMR course or a booster jag, as appropriate.

Patients coming into contact with suspected cases of measles MUST NOT attend the practice, but should ring to speak to a doctor for further advice.

You can read more about the MMR catch-up campaign on the Immunisation Scotland website.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting woman in the UK. In Scotland 1 in 8 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 Scotland, women between the ages of 50-70 years are invited every 3 years for this examination. Eligible patients registered with Bruntsfield Medical Practice are being invited in May and June this year.

In 2010 during the last screening round, 11 patients from Bruntsfield Medical Practice were diagnosed with breast cancer as a result of the screening.

Woman over the age of 70 are not routinely invited, however you can call the Screening Centre directly on 0131 537 7400 to arrange a 3 yearly assessment. If you miss or do not receive an appointment, and are eligible, you can telephone the Screening Centre also. 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 Terrace. 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 screening saves 3-4 lives every day in the UK.

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 Booklet from NHS inform website:

More information can be found from the following websites:

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

In 2013, Wednesday 13th March is No Smoking Day in the UK.

This year the theme, Swap Fags for Swag, is all about what smokers will gain when they quit – as well as improved health, they’ll have extra cash to spend on whatever they like!

Stopping smoking now could be like giving yourself a hefty pay rise – and it’s one benefit you’ll feel straight away.

a day 1 day 1 week 1 month 1 year 5 years 10 years
5 £1.75 £12.25 £52.5 £638.75 £3,193.75 £6,387.50
10 £3.50 £24.50 £105 £1,277.50 £6,387.50 £12,775
20 £7 £49 £210 £2,555 £12,775 £25,550
30 £10.50 £73.50 £315 £3,832.50 £19,162.50 £38,325
40 £14 £98 £420 £5,110 £25,550 £51,100
60 £21 £147 £630 £7,665 £38,325 £76,650

Based on average price of 20 cigarettes = £7.00

If you would like local help to quit smoking, there are several options open to you.

You can choose to self-refer to the NHS Stop Smoking Service by phoning the number for the South Central area: 0131 536 9759 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm – answering service available out of hours).

The service itself offers several ways to help you stop smoking, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your lifestyle. These include one-to-one support, group support, self-help, NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy), or prescribed medication.

There is a separate number for pregnant women who would like help to stop: 0131 672 9533, young people who want to stop can text ‘Stop Smoking’ to 07969 530266, and members of the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender community throughout Lothian can call 0131 558 9444

You can phone the practice on 0131 228 6081 to make an appointment with one of our practice nurses, who will be able to explain the various stop smoking options to you, as well as offer you motivational support and encouragement. Or if you prefer, you can also speak to your usual GP.

Support is also available from some community pharmacists, who can provide Nicotine Replacement Therapy as well as one-to-one support sessions to help you quit. The list of participating pharmacies in the South Central area is available here.

Our Smoking Cessation advice page goes through many of the benefits of going smoke free, but there are also several other websites online that can help you find what support is available in your area, as well as find useful hints, advice and tools to help you quit, such as at www.canstopsmoking.com.

It’s never too late to give up smoking, and the support is out there to help you once you’ve made that first step in deciding to quit.

If you would like to update the practice on your current smoking status, you can fill out our web form here.


No Smoking Day merged with the British Heart Foundation in 2011. The annual No Smoking Day campaign, which is now in its 30th year, inspires and helps smokers who want to quit, and is supported by an alliance of UK health bodies and charities. For more information about the No Smoking Day campaign visit www.nosmokingday.org.uk or for more on the BHF visit www.bhf.org.uk

Smokers can visit www.WeQuit.co.uk, an online hub full of information and tips on how to quit. It also includes a forum where people can chat with more than 15,000 other quitters about the issues they face.

This year, Alcohol Awareness Week runs from 19-25 November 2012.

Alcohol Concern reported that it has been found by many supporter organisations that a date in the run up to Christmas lends itself to making people think about alcohol and the amount they consume.

With this in mind, the practice plan to focus on alcohol awareness for all patients attending the practice this week.

If you have an appointment with a GP or Practice Nurse this week you will be given a questionnaire by the Reception team to fill out while you wait. This is for you to hand to the Nurse or Doctor at the beginning of your consultation so they can give advice to those who may need it.

This year’s theme for Alcohol Awareness Week is based on “Its Time to Talk About Drinking” and hopefully we are able to highlight some of the health risks associated with drinking.

Patients should feel free to discuss with their Doctor or Nurse any concerns they may have, pick up any leaflets available in the practice, or ask for further information that they may feel helpful.

For further information and advice please see the following websites:
www.nhsinform.co.uk
www.drinkaware.co.uk
www.alcohol-focus-scotland.org.uk
www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk

Did you know?

In 2012-13 the practice had over 2000 patients eligible to receive the seasonal influenza vaccination on the NHS. The Immunisation Scotland website has comprehensive information about the annual flu vaccine, including how it works and who should get it.
© 2013 Bruntsfield Medical Practice Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha