World Suicide Prevention Day
On the 8th of September, World Suicide Prevention Day is taking place.
More than 800,000 people take their lives each year across the world. In the UK and ROI, more than 6,000 people die by suicide a year - an average of 18 a day.
Reaching out to people who are going through a difficult time can be a game changer. People who are feeling low or suicidal often feel worthless and think that no-one cares. Small things like hearing from friends or family, feeling listened to or just being told that 'it's ok to talk' can make a huge difference.
This year's theme is about connecting with others and letting people know that #ITSOKAYTOTALK
What you can do?
Start a conversation today if you think a friend, colleague or family member may be struggling. You can also join us on Twitter to spread the word.
How to start a difficult conversation
Worried about someone?
LiveWire Health Walks
September Health Walks
Stay Safe this Summer
Windows - As the weather heats up and we throw open our doors and windows, remember to be extra vigilant. Falls from any window or balcony – even on the ground floor – can be serious. If you’ve got young children, keep low furniture away from windows so that they can’t climb up and fall out. It’s a good idea to install window catches (to limit how far they can open) and locks if you can.
Ponds and pools - If you have a garden, remember that babies and toddlers can drown in as little as 5cm (2”) of water, so supervision around ponds and paddling pools is essential. It’s a very good idea to get into the habit of emptying paddling pools when young children have finished playing in them. Think about your neighbours’ gardens too – young children can wander off into them and drown in garden ponds, even if you don’t think they have access.
Barbecue safety - A barbecue/fire-pit can stay hot enough to cause a serious burn for a long time after they’ve been used. All barbecues produce carbon monoxide which is fine outdoors, but is deadly poisonous in an enclosed space. Never take a lit or smouldering one inside a house, tent, caravan, or boat.
Sun safety - Out in the sun? Sunburn doesn’t often cause serious accidental injury to children. But it’s important to protect children from sunburn due to the long-term damage it can cause.
Drowning - It’s not just young children at risk. Older children and teenagers who are competent swimmers can still get into trouble and be at risk of drowning. In the UK, incidents of drowning from swimming in inland water are more common than those in the sea. Abroad, in the past six years, 30 children from the UK have drowned whilst on holiday. Don’t assume hotel pools have lifeguards – provision and legislation varies in different countries, and lifeguards may have other duties. Also don’t assume that your child will shout or scream if they’re in trouble: drowning happens silently.
Holiday rentals and hotels - It might sound obvious, but remember to exercise the same caution in holiday accommodation that you do at home.
- keep medicines and cleaning things out of young children’s reach
- move furniture away from windows, and if your holiday home or hotel room has a balcony, ensure young children are supervised
- tie blind cords out of reach of young children
- children under six shouldn’t sleep on the top bunk of a bunk bed
- check the smoke alarms are working when you arrive
Camping, caravanning, motor homes, camper vans and boats – If accommodation has a fuel-burning appliance, it’s important to get it serviced regularly and, have an audible carbon monoxide alarm. If you’re renting, it’s a good idea to take one along with you.
Change4Life - 10 Minute Shake Ups
Change4Life have just launched a national 10 Minute Shake Up programme with Disney, Sport England and schools to help get the nation's children active. Kids need at least 60 minutes of activity each day to stay healthy. 10 Minutes Shake Ups are an easy and fun way to get your kids active, improve their heart and bone health, and build up their social skills. It's also a great way to kick-start a more active lifestyle all year round.
Each week over the summer holidays a new 10 Minute Shake Up from Change4Life will be released on the Change4Life website. The new Shake Ups feature characters from Disney Pixar's latest animations Cars 3, as well as Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Moana, Frozen Fever, Zootropolis and The Lodge.
- 22 July – Padgate Fun Day, Padgate Community Centre
- 22 July – Radley Community Fun Day, Radley Common
- 1 August – VPX – Victoria Park
- 6 August – Fairfi eld Fete, St Elphin’s Park
- 8 August – VPX – Victoria Park
- 9 August – Birchwood Family Fun Day, The Encounter centre
- 15 August – VPX – Victoria Park
- 19 August – Bewsey by the Sea
- 22 August – VPX – Victoria Park
- 3 September – Woolston Show, Woolston Park
- 10 September – Whitecross Fun Day, Whitecross Community Centre
*Please note that dates can be subject to change or cancellation due to adverse weather conditions.
Come down to the surgery to pick up a 10 Minute Shake Up Passport and stickers to play along with the fun!
Bridgewater Community Health Care are inviting Warrington residents to join the conversation about how NHS community healthcare could be provided in the future. Everyone's ideas and opinions are important - patients, carers, families, friends etc. Its a chance for you to help improve existing community services and come up with great new ones.
Bridgewater has 531,393 contacts with patients in Warrington per year and provides services including Health Visiting, District Nursing, Sexual Health, GP Out of Hours and Out of Hospital Therapy Services. Director of Strategy Mike Barker said: “We would like to see and meet as many people as possible to help us understand the views and needs of our patients and local communities. This event is one of several we are planning across the boroughs where we work so that we can ensure that the services we deliver and the way that we do this really are fit for the future.”
The event is being held at Orford Jubilee Hub, Jubilee Way, Orford, WA2 8HE from 9:00am to 1:00pm on Friday 21st July. Everyone is welcome to attend.
To book a place please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01925 482676. Also visit www.bridgewater.nhs.uk for more information or to give your views.
Cancer Health & Wellbeing Event
Wednesday 26th July 2017 at The GateWay, 89 Sankey Street, WA1 1SR. Running from 4:00pm to 7:00pm the event offers health advice, lifestyle information, make overs, mindfulness, Tai Chi, a free prize draw, exercise and diet, body image information, information for carers and families, goody bags, support services and benefit advice.
There is no need to book - just drop in.
For more information contact: email@example.com or call 01925 843774
National Diabetes Audit
The GP Practice is taking park in an important national project about diabetes care and treatment in the NHS. The project is called the National Diabetes Audit (NDA). To take part, we will be sharing information about diabetes care and treatment with the NDA. The type of information, and how it is shared, is controlled by law enforced, strict rules of confidentiality and security.
For further information about how your information is used please see the NDA patient information Leaflet: NDA Leaflet
Taking part in the NDA shows that this GP practice is committed to improving care for people with diabetes.
If you do not want your information to be used, please inform the receptionist, your GP or nurse. This will not affect your care.
Diabetes Week 11th-17th
Know Diabetes. Fight Diabetes.
While a lot of people have a good understanding of diabetes and how to manage it, many others aren’t getting the right help and support to look after their diabetes.
Today, 65 people will die early from the condition and hundreds more will face life-changing complications that could have been avoided or delayed if they'd had the right knowledge and support to manage their diabetes.
For more information please visit https://www.diabetes.org.uk/ or if you have any questions about Diabetes Week, contact Diabetes UK at firstname.lastname@example.org
Protect Yourself in the Sun
Too much Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin cancer. In the UK more than 8 in 10 cases of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, could be prevented through enjoying the sun safely and avoiding sunbeds.
There are two types of UV rays that damage our skin. Both types can cause skin cancer:
- UVB is responsible for the majority of sunburns
- UVA penetrates deep into the skin. It ages the skin, but contributes much less towards sunburn.
Sunburn is a clear sign that the DNA in your skin cells has been damaged by too much UV radiation. Getting sunburn, just once every 2 years, can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer.
Getting sunburnt doesn't mean you will definitely develop skin cancer. But it does mean there's even more reason to protect your skin in future, so as not to add to any damage.
Five S's of Sun Safety:
- SLIP on sun t-shirt
- SLOP on SPF 30+ broad spectrum UVA sunscreen
- SLAP on a broad brimmed hat
- SLIDE on quality sunglasses
- SHADE from the sun whenever possible
Show your doctor if you notice any changes in how your skin looks or feels, or if you have moles and notice that one looks different to the others. Also show your doctor if you notice:
- a new growth or sore that will not heal
- a spot, mole or sore that itches or hurts
- a mole or growth that bleeds, oozes, crusts or scabs
For more information visit:
Cancer Research UK
Skcin - Sun Safety and Skin Cancer
NHS England have been offering health checks for people aged 40-74 to identify if the person is at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease. As a Practice we have identified low uptake of the checks and are working alongside Warrington Borough Council and Salford Health Improvements to provide increased access to the checks at times that are suitable for working patients.
Below you can see a case study showing you what happened when attending the health check.
- Age when first invited for a NHS Health Check? 52
- How were they contacted about the NHS Health Check? Through an invite letter sent by Stockton Heath Medical Centre
- How did they go about booking their appointment and where was their NHS Health Check carried out? I rang the free phone number to make an appointment with the Salford Health Improvement Service. I was given a choice of a few dates and also asked if I had a preference where the check took place (the surgery its self, a local church hall or a mobile unit). I made an appointment to have my health check aboard a the bus and was told where it would be parked. I was also sent a text reminder the day before which was helpful as my appointment was a month or so after ringing.
- What happened during the NHS Health Check, how long did it take, was it easy and simple? I arrived around ten minutes early and was welcomed on to the bus by the driver who handed me a form to start filling in. The check started on time and the adviser did my height and weight and then asked me to sit down in a curtained off section of the bus which felt a little cramped. After having a discussion about the purpose of the check, a small amount of blood was taken from my finger to test my cholesterol. Then the advisor took my blood pressure 3 times and measured my waist - his was the end of the actual ‘tests’. What took place then was an chat about my lifestyle including some questions about how active I am and how much alcohol I drink; I was told that this was all linked to the results of the tests that had been done. The advisor then calculated my risk of having a heart attack or a stroke in the next ten years. The advisor was very professional and friendly and I felt that they listened to my answers. Although I was a little surprised that it wasn’t a nurse or doctor any reservations were quickly disappeared as they obviously understood what they were doing and explained it all really well to me.
- How did the diagnosis come about and what was it? Although there was nothing that I needed to be sent back in to the doctors, I was told that my cholesterol ratio or balance between good and bad wasn’t as good as it should be and I was a little overweight for my height, which I already knew. What was worrying is that my waist measurement was quite far in to the red, I was told that this is the worst place to carry extra weight. My ten year risk score was, on the face of it, quite low, but I was shown my heart age as well which was actually a little bit ahead of where it could be for my age. This worried me a bit and I wanted to know what I could do about it.
- What happened next? Were they referred for further tests / screening? I was in the low risk category and none of my results flagged up as being too high I wasn’t sent back to the doctors. It was a relief to know I didn’t need anything else done. I was told I can have another health check in 5 years, but if I am concerned about anything before this to go and see one of the GP team.
- What treatment followed the diagnosis? Is this a permanent or temporary treatment option? Answered above
- Were they also given lifestyle advice to help manage the condition? If so, what was this and have they taken it on board and for example, lost weight or cut down on drinking? I wasn’t actually given any advice, the advisor asked me how I felt about my result I told them I wasn’t happy; they asked me what I thought I needed to do and we worked out a realistic plan together. The results of my exercise and alcohol tests on their own showed me that there are some changes I can make. The advisor also told me about other services that I can go to, that helps reduce my drinking and increase my exercise, if I wanted to. On reading the leaflets I felt confident and motivated that I could make the changes without going to these and decided I would make the changes on my own.
- How did they feel about the diagnosis? I was quite shocked by having an older heart age and really want to get this back to normal for me; especially through losing some weight round my middle. Having results that show what your lifestyle is doing to your health and what problems it could cause in the long term is a real eye opener, but is also really helps to know you can do something about before it causes any real problems.
- How important is/was it to get an early diagnosis? Although the health check didn’t flag say I had any immediate problems, it did point out things I could definitely work on to stop my health getting worse and to make me healthier. I think preventative measures like this are really important – especially when we are tightening our belts as a country. If I go away from the check, lose weight and get healthier it could maybe stop me needing treatments in the future which could be expensive.
- How do they feel now? I feel great - I am quite impatient by nature and would like to have seen more results from the changes I have made so far, but I remember the advisor telling me that losing weight slowly means it is more likely to stay off. The biggest difference is that I don’t get out of breath as much and my asthma is better through me getting fitter and losing some weight.
- What recommendation would they give to others who get invited to attend a NHS Health Check? Go and have the check done, it is a really useful for finding out your risk , if you’ve any problems now a or may have later on. The beauty is though, is that you can go away and do something about it now, either on your own or to the services that we’re told about.
Smoking Cessation Team
Julie (term time) and Margaret (covers Julie) from LifeWire Smoking Cessation Team attend our surgery each Wednesday between 10am to 12pm. Since June they have seen 16 patients - 4 have quit. The remaining 12: some are currently part way through their quit or just at start of their quit.
Margaret met with our admin team during our July Protected Learning Time. She discussed why smoking becomes so addictive and triggers and associations which make it difficult to stop. The different methods that are used to support people who want to quit were also discussed – Nicotine Replacement Therapy Products; gum, nasal spray, patches, inhalators or medication. She also discussed the benefits of stopping smoking
20 minutes - Blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal.
8 hours - Oxygen levels in the blood return to normal.
24 hours - Carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body.
- The lungs start to clear out mucus and other debris.
2–12 weeks - Circulation improves throughout the body.
3–9 months - Lung function is increased by 5–10%.
5 years - Risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker
10 years - Risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker. Risk of a heart attack is the same as for someone who has never smoked.
During October they will be encouraging people to quit through the annual Stobtober event. The event encourages people to stop smoking for 28 days. Research has shown that after stopping for 28 days people are more likely to stay smoke free. Look out for posters and leaflets at the surgery or contact Livewire Stop Smoking Programme:
Telephone: 0300 003 0818
It’s that time of year again, we are now taking bookings for the annual flu vaccination. Please speak to our receptionist.
For further information please visit Flu - NHS Choices
The national shingles vaccination programme is recommended for people aged 79 -79, but is being introduced in phases. The vaccine is currently being offered to those people who were 70, 71, 72, 78 or 79 on 1st September.
So if you were born on or between the dates below you may be eligible for free shingles vaccination this year.
02/09/1942 and 01/09/1945
02/09/1935 and 01/09/1937
Please contact our receptionist to book your appointment.
Young teenagers, sixth formers and 'fresher' students going to university for the first time are now routinely offered a vaccination to prevent meningitis W disease.
The Men ACWY vaccine protects against four different causes of meningitis and septicaemia – meningococcal (Men) A, C, W and Y diseases.
All 17- and 18-year-olds in school year 13 and first-time university students up to the age of 25 are eligible for the Men ACWY vaccine as part of the NHS vaccination programme.
For further information on all the programmes above please visit NHS vaccination programme
Stockton Heath Medical Centre Newsletter August 2015
Our telephone upgrade is now complete. Although it won’t stop the morning rush, patients should now find that their calls are answered quicker/calls are no longer cut off. Our lines seem to be a little quieter now in an afternoon, could this be that we are dealing with the calls more efficiently earlier in the day? It would be helpful if we received phone calls for queries in an afternoon; we do however understand that some people have restricted times to make calls.
Sign up for electronic prescriptions
Do you struggle to get to the surgery to order your prescription every month? Do you have a stable medical condition and collect your medication from the same pharmacy each month?
The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) is an NHS service. It gives you the chance to change how your GP sends your prescription to the place you choose to get your medicines or appliances from. Read more here: http://systems.hscic.gov.uk/eps/library/patientfact.pdf
Health Check van
NHS England have been offering health checks for people aged 40-74 to identify if the person is at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease. As a Practice we have identified low uptake of the checks and are working alongside Warrington Borough Council and Salford Health Improvements to provide increased access to the checks at times that are suitable for working patients. Patients who have not been seen will be sent invites to make an appointment. For the next 12 months at regular intervals there will be a bus on the car park offering the checks to our patients. Times vary and some appointments will be available on Saturdays. Rather than having to have blood tests a week prior to the consultation, the testing can be done at the same time and health advice will be given depending on the results. Supportive and informative lifestyle advice will also be given. Read more here: Home - NHS Health Check
During this 12 month period, our staff will also receive training:
- Health Care Assistants – NHS Health Check Training
- Admin team – Understanding Health Improvements Course. This will help them to signpost to local and community services.
(Our admin team will also be having training with Warrington Borough Council – Make Every Contact Count prior to this in August 2015). This is similar to the ideas about public health training that has been reported on BBC News 21 July 2015. Watch the video clip here: Public health workforce in local community - BBC News
Stockton Heath festival
The Practice and Warrington Health Plus had a presence at Stockton Heath Festival on Sunday 5th July. Bev Hackwell, Executive Lead, Julie Scholes, Health Care Assistant and Sue Wallis, Warrington Health Plus (WHP), Project Manager Communications and Engagement were on hand alongside members of our PPG; Susan, Diane and Kath, to talk to people attending the event about the work being done for our Patients and residents of South Warrington . One of the WHP pilot schemes is addressing increasing demand for access to GP appointments. Extended access appointments are offered at evening and weekends (Saturday and Sunday 8am to 8pm) at Bath Street, Warrington. This service is for patients who have a new problem. Appointments are aimed at working people or students who cannot attend the surgery during core hours. Patient needs to request password from our reception team.
The Practice also entered a scarecrow into the competition. The scarecrow was made for us by Walton Lea Project. The Practice team have adopted Walton Lea project as a local charity to support from funds raised on “non-uniform Fridays” at the end of each month.
Patient Participation Group (PPG)
Our PPG has been active since January 2011. They are a group of volunteers with an interest in helping us to improve aspects of our services to our patients. They help us to gather patient feedback. Support us in mini-events that we hold. Give a patient perspective for any changes we are making. We view our PPG members as a “critical friend” who gives us constructive advice and support. We have a group who meet at the surgery at least every 2-3 months. Our Practice Manager, a GP, Assistant Practitioner and a Receptionist also attend. This helps to address any issues raised and for ideas to be discussed fully. Attendance at the meeting is welcome for a period of up to 3 years. The PPG agreed that this will keep the group fresh and enable new ideas to be raised. We would love to see some new faces; so if you are interested please contact Karen Chriscoli, Practice Manager at the surgery, email@example.com All ages are welcome.
We also have a group of patients who have signed up for our “virtual” patient group. These patients receive the agenda prior to the meetings and are given the opportunity to give their feedback for sharing at meetings. This format works well for patients that cannot attend the meetings due to other commitments but who wish to be involved with the PPG.
Our PPG members say the following:
“I feel it is very rewarding to be a member of the PPG. It helps me to understand the issues involved in a large practice such as the Forge. I would like to think I reflect the views and needs of patients where I can, and hopefully contribute in some way to the practice becoming a more patient friendly organisation.” DL
“I believe that it is important for those who can spare a little time to get involved in some aspect of improving things for society in general” PW
Have a look at our website which has the minutes from previous meetings which will give you an insight to the work they do. It will also show the “terms and conditions” and “code of conduct”. Patient Participation Group
Why is our practice so busy
Our practice has got busier and busier over the past few years. This is partly due to more-older people living longer with complex health needs that require a lot of medical care and support as well as rising public expectations for immediate access to our services. The 65+ age group accounts for 33% (3804) of our Practice Population. Data for the population South Warrington shows that the 65+ age group accounts for 19% of the residents, which illustrates that a large proportion of these older residents are registered with our Practice which puts extra pressure on our services. We also care for 152 of our registered patients who are resident in Nursing Care Homes. Their complex health care needs also places more demand on our services
New telephone lines
Throughout June, we will be improving our telephone lines; upgrading from analogue to digital lines which will work more efficiently for us all. The first stage was completed on 4 June 2015.
Currently our system is eight lines from two numbers. The current two numbers work in isolation, so you will be waiting in a queue for one of the lines when the other line is clear or not bus. With the up-graded system, your call will be routed to the next available receptionist who has a free line. This should really help reduce blocked lines and reduce the number of calls lost through poor connection.
We have also had an intermittent fault of crackling lines which been frustrating for both our patients and our team for the last few weeks; the upgrade should remedy this.
Online Booking of Telephone Consultations
We are now offering online booking for our early morning appointments.
We have listened to patient feedback about frustrations in not being able to book in advance and are aiming to alter the system to allow people to book telephone consultations with a GP and nurse appointments in advance. We aim to make 25% of these appointment available for advance online booking.
We hope this will help patients who can use online services and help make our phone lines less busy for those who can’t. We propose that these appointments would be better suited for workers or students. We have a finite number of appointments so please be aware of this when booking appointments. We deal with a high demand for access from our patients and are working hard behind the scenes to deliver improved accessibility to appointments.
You can book online here:
Stockton Heath Medical Centre - How to make an appointment to see your doctor or nurse at the surgery
Local tests and nursing services
Did you know that we offer a wide range of diagnostic tests and nursing services on site within the practice rather than asking our patients to travel across town to receive these services?
These include blood bests, ECG, spirometry (lung function test) and a range of dressings. We often carry out in excess of 1000 diagnostic tests per week!
We think that being able to offer these services at our practice is a big benefit to patients. However, it is does put extra demand on our telephone as we need to manage calls not only from people booking appointments but also from patients following up these diagnostic tests. So please bear this in mind when calling the practice.
How can you help?
We want to provide the best care we can with the resources that are available to us for your care. We work really hard to do this and hope you will help us too.
We know that every week, many appointment slots are used to treat patients with minor self-limiting illness, such as sore throat, common cold and back pain which could be helped by advice from other sources such as their local pharmacist or from reputable, robust and effective online sources such as
NHS Choices - Your health, your choices
Self Care Forum
Symptom Checker, Health Information and Medicines Guide | Patient
We strongly recommend only visiting reputable sites for on-line advice.
Seeing patients who do not necessarily need to see a GP has significant impact on the availability of appointments for people who do need to see a GP and this then takes us to the situation when we only have appointments available for urgent problems.
We encourage patients who have these minor self-limiting illnesses to support us in meeting demand for appointments by using alternative sources of support whenever possible. We have included information and links to self-care advice on our website which helps to signpost patients to the most appropriate route of care. Information leaflets with the advice are also available upon request for patients without online access from our receptionists. Information can be found on our website:
Stockton Heath Medical Centre - GP Surgery Website. All about your doctors surgery, the opening times, making appointments, ordering your repeats, health information and more
Let us know what you think
Thank you to patients who have completed the Friends and Family feedback form. This is a new scheme introduced across the country to gain the views of patients about whether they would recommend their GP practice to friends and family. Feedback is sent to NHS England who publishes it on its website – however the first results are not yet available yet.
Each month we will display our results (both in the surgery and on our website) and our response to some of the comments we have received. We use this feedback to help us in our decision making about the services we provide. We try to approach feedback received in a balanced way, we also look at compliments received – we find that people are quicker to tell us when things are going wrong so it is lovely to receive positive feedback about the work our team does too. We discuss complaints and compliments with our Patient Participation Group.
Results from the 2015 GP Patient Survey for our Practice highlighted:
- 94% of responders had confidence and trust in the last GP they had seen
- 84% of responders stated that the last GP they saw was good at involving them in decisions about their care
- 89% of responders stated that the last GP they saw or spoke to was good at explaining tests and treatments.
- 94% of responders stated that their last appointment was convenient for them.
- 99% of responders had confidence and trust in the last nurse they saw.
Annual reviews for people living with long term conditions
Many of our patients are aging and living with more than one long term clinical condition, such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension. We have introduced a new system for annual reviews to make it easier for these patients.
We encourage our patients who are living with long term clinical conditions to attend an annual review of their conditions. This allows us to carry out health checks and review your medication so that we can check you are a healthy as possible and pick up any problems early.
We have recently introduced a new audit process which will identify review dates for patients. Invites will be sent to them requesting attendance to see our Health Care Assistant for diagnostic tests; bloods, blood pressure etc.
On review of these results the GP will then decide whether the review can be completed over the telephone or will arrange a face to face appointment. We hope this will be much more convenient for patients and make best use of the appointments available.