The Royal College of GPs’ are running a new ‘3 before GP’ campaign.
This campaign is about getting patients to ask themselves three questions before booking an appointment with their GP. The three questions are:
The College hopes that this simple slogan will encourage patients to think hard about whether they need to see a GP during another busy winter period for general practice – or if they can deal with the problem in a different way.
To find out more about the campaign visit the RCGP website.
The common cold, although frustrating, is a mild viral infection that usually clears up on its own within a week or two. In most cases there is no need to see your GP, however, your local Pharmacist may be able to advise on over-the-counter medications to help with your symptoms.
The main symptoms of a common cold include:
There is no cure for the common cold, but there are things you can do to self-care at home;
In general, a person is contagious a few days prior to any symptoms occurring until all their symptoms have gone. There are a number of ways you can help stop the cold virus spreading:
You can find more information about coughs and colds and information on your nearest pharmacy at NHS Choices.
Christmas can one of the busiest times of the year for everyone which is why NHS South Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Vale Royal CCG are telling us that having essential medicines at home, will keep us enjoying the festive season.
During the festive period, your first point of call for advice and support should be your local pharmacist. They can give you expert help on common illnesses including coughs, colds, aches and pains and they can answer questions about prescribed and over the counter medicines.
Your local pharmacist is trained and qualified to give professional, free advice and will have a wide range of remedies available. You don’t need an appointment and they all have private consultation rooms to talk in confidence.
You can stock your medicine cabinet with Christmas essentials for around £10 to tackle minor conditions at home:
Always ensure remedies which are already in your medicines cabinet are still okay to use. If any medicines are past their use-by-date, don’t take them and return them to your local pharmacy for disposal.
Dr Andrew Wilson, GP and Chair of NHS South Cheshire CCG, said: “It is important to plan ahead, stock up on your medicine cabinets with plenty of time to spare.
“By doing this you’ll be able to treat minor injuries and illnesses at home, avoiding unnecessary trips to the doctor, waiting for an appointment you probably don’t need.”
During the busy winter period across the NHS, if you have a minor ailment seeing your local community pharmacist will mean you’ll be tackling your symptoms sooner, whilst also relieving pressure in the rest of the healthcare system.
Dr Jonathan Griffiths, GP and Chair of NHS Vale Royal CCG, said: “As Christmas approaches it is important to know all pharmacy opening times, just in case you do feel ill over winter.
“Community pharmacists offer confidential advice and treatment for all minor health problems including coughs, colds, minor injuries and general aches and pains. You don’t need an appointment and they all have private consultation rooms.”
To find out when your local pharmacy is open on Christmas, Boxing and New Years Day, go to your local CCG website; www.southcheshireccg.nhs.uk
If you need medical advice, but you’re not sure where to turn, The NHS 111 telephone service is a free call number, provided by North West Ambulance Service and gives confidential health guidance and advice, 24 hours a day 365 days a year. They will also direct you to other local services where appropriate.
For more information on all essential medicine must-haves visit the NHS Choices website – www.nhs.uk
Your local Pharmacy offers a minor ailments service providing advice and treatment for the following conditions:
You can pop into your local Pharmacy for a free and confidential consultation with a qualified Pharmacist without an appointment. Pharmacists can supply some medications that would normally require a prescription from a GP, without the need for you to see your GP.
The consultation with a Pharmacist is free and if the Pharmacist prescribes a medication it will be:
Your local Pharmacy can also offer advice and over-the-counter medication for a number of ailments including coughs, colds, sore throats, back pain and headaches.
Opening times for your local Pharmacies can be found at www.nhs.uk
Self-care can be the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. A range of common illnesses and injuries can be treated at home simply by combining a well-stocked medicine cabinet with plenty of rest.
Make sure that your well stocked medicine cabinet is out of the reach of children.
Over the counter medicines are available from pharmacies, local stores and shops. They include paracetamol and ibuprofen for common complaints such as colds and flu. These over the counter remedies can be bought quickly and easily for much less that than the cost of a doctor’s appointment. It is estimated that it costs the NHS around £50 for a consultation and prescription for a minor condition that can be treated for no more than £10 and as little as a few pence
Locally it is also estimated that doctors could have an extra hour every day for other appointments if they didn’t have to deal with a range of common conditions which could be helped instead with over the counter remedies.
We have created a simple list of over the counter medicines to have at home. The prices for each suggested item are estimates based on a range of local high street pharmacies, shops and supermarkets:
Total – £9.78
Having these remedies at home could help relieve most minor conditions where the best thing to do is let nature takes its course.
It is a misconception that antibiotics are a cure all and in fact for the most common viral illnesses, such as colds and flu, they just don’t work and you have to let nature take its course.
If you’re not sure which is the best treatment for you or you need advice you can always just call in and have a chat with your local pharmacist. Pharmacists are trained and qualified to give professional, free advice and have a wide range of remedies available. You don’t need an appointment to see a pharmacist and many of them also have private consultation rooms.
There is also help, any time day or night, from the NHS Choices website or by calling NHS 111 free of charge to be connected to an adviser.