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Cervical screening saves lives

On 14 February, The Department of Health and Social Care, together with NHS England and NHS Improvement, launched a Help Us Help You – Cervical Screening Campaign, to highlight the benefits of cervical screening and remind people that that it can help stop cancer before it starts. The campaign encourages those eligible for screening – women and people with a cervix aged 25-64 – to respond to their cervical screening invitation letters and to book an appointment at their GP practice if they missed their last one.

Two women die every day from cervical cancer in England. Yet it is one of the most preventable cancers and getting screened can help stop it before it starts. Screening checks for certain types of the HPV virus that can cause cell changes to your cervix. Cell changes are easily treated and this prevents cervical cancer.

For more information, visit www.nhs.uk/cervicalscreening

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Covid-19 Urgent Eyecare Service

If you are experiencing any of the following:

  • red eyes
  • flashes or floaters in your eyes
  • recent or sudden loss of vision
  • Foreign body in the eye

you can access free NHS appointments at local opticians as part of the urgent eyecare service (CUES). To find your nearest practice and information on how to access it, please visit Find a Practice – Search for your nearest participating optical practice (primaryeyecare.co.uk) Please be aware this is not a sight test.

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Important information regarding the Covid-19 Booster Vaccines

It was announced on Sunday, 12 December 2021, that the NHS will offer a booster vaccination booking to every adult by the end of December in response the Omicron variant.

Please note that you should not contact your GP Practice to book your booster jab, you should use the National Booking Service or call 119. Some vaccination sites may offer a walk-in service but the best way to ensure you get a jab is to make an appointments through the nationals booking service.

General practice is working hard to support the covid-19 vaccination programme, but we are still here for you but the way you access care may be different:

  • Face-to-face appointments are available to all patients where there is a clinical need. You will be asked to first discuss your conditions over the phone or online with a member of the healthcare team to assess what would be most appropriate for you and which practice member would best provide it.
  • Most common conditions can be assessed and diagnosed by your doctor by telephone or video consultation. They are experienced and skilled in doing this. Using technology like this will help to protect you, your family and loved ones – and GP practice staff from the potential risk of the virus.
  • General practice services are extremely busy and are working hard to treat as many patients as possible.
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Proof of Medical Exemption – Covid-19 Vaccination

Some individuals are unable to be vaccinated and also, in some cases, tested for medical reasons. You can apply for proof that you have a medical reason why you should not be vaccinated or why you should not be vaccinated and tested.

If you get this proof of medical exemption you’ll be able to use the NHS COVID Pass wherever you need to prove your COVID-19 status within England.

Until 24 December 2021, you can self-certify that you’re medically exempt if you work or volunteer in a care home.

Some businesses in England choose to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry. Until 24 December, businesses can decide whether to allow in people who self-declare that they’re medically exempt.

From 25 December, if you’re unable to get vaccinated, you’ll have to use the NHS COVID Pass in the same way that people who are fully vaccinated use it.

For full information on the requirements for proof regarding being exempt from Covid-19 vaccination please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-medical-exemptions-proving-you-are-unable-to-get-vaccinated

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Clarification on Covid Face Covering Exemption Cards/Certificates

With the new legal requirements regarding face coverings coming into effect in England, we thought it might be useful to explain when and who requires a covid exemption card/certificate.

If you have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering:

  • You do not routinely need to show any written evidence of this
  • You do not need to show an exemption card

This means that you do not need to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about your reason for not wearing a face covering.

However, if you feel more comfortable showing something that says you do not have to wear a face covering, this could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or sign. Carrying an exemption card or badge is a personal choice and not required by law.

If you wish to use an exemption card or badge, you can download and print out or show these templates: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own

Exemptions from face coverings

In settings where face coverings are required in England, there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear them, so please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances.

Some people are less able to wear face coverings, and the reasons for this may not be visible to others.

This includes (but is not limited to):

  • children under the age of 11 (The UK Health and Security Agency does not recommend face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
  • people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • people for whom putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause severe distress
  • people speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate
  • to avoid the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
  • police officers and other emergency workers, given that this may interfere with their ability to serve the public

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering:

  • if asked to do so in a bank, building society, or post office for identification
  • if asked to do so by shop staff or relevant employees for identification, for assessing health recommendations (for example by a pharmacist) or for age identification purposes, including when buying age restricted products such as alcohol
  • in order to take medication
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Alcohol Awareness Week

Alcohol Awareness Week is about raising awareness of the dangers alcohol can have on your health and wellbeing and it’s about campaigning for change.

Cutting back on alcohol consumption can be a really effective way to improve your health, boost your energy, lose weight and save money!

The NHS Better Health Campaign have a free ‘Drink Free Days’ app, allowing you to track your alcohol intake, view tips on cutting down and receive reminders when you need them most. The app is available for FREE on the app store or Google Play.

However, if you are struggling with your drinking and it is becoming an issue for you or your family, help is available, and many people seek it every day – https://alcoholchange.org.uk/help-and-support/get-help-now

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Stress can have a detrimental effect on your mental health

We know feeling stressed and being under pressure is a normal part of life but becoming overwhelmed by stress can lead to mental health problems or make existing problems worse.

This stress awareness day the aim is to highlight the ways stress can affect people and what you can do to manage your stress before it becomes a problem.

Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. When you are stressed, your body releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.

Stress is your body’s reaction to help you deal with pressure or threats. This is sometimes called a “fight or flight” response. Your stress hormone levels usually return to normal once the pressure or threat has passed.

A small amount of stress can be useful. It can motivate you to take action and get tasks completed. It can also make you feel alive and excited. But too much stress can cause negative effects such as a change in your mood, your body and relationship issues.

To find out more information about stress and what you can do to manage it, visit https://www.nhs.uk/ or https://www.rethink.org/

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Have you thought to ask your local Pharmacist?

It’s ‘Ask Your Pharmacist Week’ and this year’s campaign aims to make you aware that your local pharmacy can help with a variety of medical problems.

Pharmacies are part of the NHS family and the range of clinical services provided by community pharmacies has expanded significantly in recent years – with several more services being added during 2021.

So, for NHS services, convenient access to medicines, support for healthy living and prompt clinical advice, Ask Your Pharmacist!

In addition to your Pharmacy, self-care is also important especially during those long winter months. Watch this informative video to find out which recommended products should be in your medicine cabinet to help you self-care this Winter!

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Recognising the symptoms of Lung Cancer could save your life

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and as it’s the most common cause of death from cancer in both men and women claiming almost 35,000 lives a year, the campaign is encouraging people to visit their GP sooner if they have symptoms.

Early detection of lung cancer makes it more treatable, so encouraging people to recognise symptoms such as a persistent cough, breathlessness and sudden weight loss and to see their GP could save lives.

To find out more about Lung Cancer Awareness Month, visit https://roycastle.org/.