Anstey Road, AltonHampshire GU34 2QX
Monday - Friday8:00am to 6:30pm
Many of you will have read the recent discussions in the popular press about the use of β-blockers. These are a class of drug that are widely used in the treatment of heart disease and high blood pressure. Recent research has shown that in the treatment of blood pressure, for some people, there are more effective medicines than β-blockers.
The doctors at the Wilson Practice have been aware of the published work on β-blockers for some time. Many people who would previously have been commenced on β-blockers for high blood pressure, have been started on different drugs over the past year.
If you are on a β-blocker for high blood pressure do not panic! The drugs are safe and effective. In those people who should be on other medicines, we are changing them over at the time of their routine blood pressure review. Please do not stop your medicine without discussing your treatment with your doctor or clinic nurse.
Please remember that many people use β-blockers for reasons other than high blood pressure e.g. angina or migraine. There is no evidence suggesting that these people should change to another drug and we would ask you to continue with them.
Summary: Beta-blockers are safe drugs for most people
We are glad to say that moves to buy the Health Centre are progressing. The Health Authority’s efforts to sell it from under our feet in April were brought to nothing.
We are grateful for all the supportive letters from patients and for the actions of our local MP which undoubtedly put sufficient pressure on the Health Authority to think again.
They have continued to negotiate since then and we are hopeful for a more realistic solution. We feel it is vital to get a building suitable for healthcare in the 21st century.
We continue to hope for a newly built health centre on the back of the current site with similar or slightly more space but certainly with improved design and with more light and air than we are used to. The current health centre would then be demolished. We have been trying for this solution for at least ten years but are really optimistic that we are getting near the realisation of this.
Many of you may have been involved in helping us with the patient survey which took the form of a questionnaire answered on our touch screen after you had seen the doctor. The survey ran between December and February 2005/06. Each full time partner was required to have 50 patients respond to the questionnaire and the part-time partners a slightly smaller number on a pro rata basis. 388 patients completed the questionnaire and we are extremely grateful to those who took part in the survey. The results have been shared amongst the partners, the managers and all of the practice staff. They have also been discussed at some length during a presentation given to the Wilson Practice Participation Group. We have left a number of completed survey results in the waiting room for our patients to peruse at their leisure. The results were very gratifying in that they showed a high level of overall satisfaction with the practice, over 97% of patients were either completely, very or fairly satisfied with the practice. Less than 3% were either neutral or less than satisfied. The only area of concern which was highlighted where satisfaction levels were slightly lower than this was over access via the telephone. As some of you may be aware, we installed a new telephone system approximately one year ago and it is a disappointment to us that this system has not lived up to our expectations in terms of providing a better services for our patients. Our managers are currently undertaking a review of the telephone system to see if we can improve matters further.
It is extremely helpful for doctors, nurses and receptionists to receive feedback and we take your comments very seriously and continue to strive to provide an excellent level of service at all times.
The new GP contract which commenced in April 2004 contains a whole area dedicated to quality assurance within the practice. This is divided into both non clinical and clinical domains. The non clinical areas cover such things as record keeping, information for patients, education and training for doctors, nurses and staff, practice management and medicines management. The clinical domains essentially cover our management of patients with chronic medical problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, stroke and mental illness. All members of the practice team have worked very hard to achieve the highest possible quality for the practice and it is to their credit that we achieved full points in all these areas during last year, being one of only a handful of practices to achieve this in the whole of Hampshire. I am pleased to be able to report that with continued hard work we have again achieved a full score in all areas for the year 2005/6.
Bird flu is caused by a virus which usually affects birds. It can occasionally cross the species barrier and infect humans. At present the bird flu viruses cannot be passed from one human to another and infection depends on close contact with infected birds.
Recently, one form of bird flu has been identified which is associated with a very high death rate when humans are infected. This strain of flu virus does not have the capability to cause a pandemic at present, however if it was ever to mutate so that it could be transmitted between humans, a pandemic could follow.
There is no way of knowing if and when this may happen. Vaccine cannot be produced until it happens as we do not know what virus to manufacture vaccine against. Antiviral drugs exist but until we know what virus we are dealing with we will not know how effective they will be.
Flu Pandemic- How can I protect myself and my family?
You can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading influenza during a pandemic by:
If you do catch flu:
Children who have had one blistering episode of sunburn in childhood are far more likely to suffer from melanoma later on in life. It appears that young skin is more vulnerable to UV light than adult skin because it contains immature pigment cells which, when exposed to UV light, divide more rapidly. It is thought that this rapid proliferation increases the chance that DNA damaged cells will reproduce, and in the future, produce a tumour.
In addition, UV exposure can affect the developing immune system of a child. This reduces the chance of producing an immune response, which could destroy the tumour when it starts developing.
Research shows that up to the age of 19, the risk for a future melanoma is accrued with all exposure to UV light, making it vital that we protect our children from excess UV radiation until their adolescence, at the very least. Taking any child abroad to a hot climate before the age of 9 will give that child an ‘Australian’ risk of melanoma for the rest of their life. Most melanomas will develop after the age of 50, and are not always found on sun-exposed parts of the body.
Sunscreens will avoid sunburn, but it is far from clear that they lessen the risk of skin cancer. They can lead us into a false state of security, leading us to believe that our children are safe in the UV light. What is clear is that covering ourselves and our children up and staying out of the sun is effective in reducing skin cancer risk.
So what can you do to protect your child?
Avoid the midday sun- stay in the shade or indoors during the middle of the day
Cover up-make your child wear a wide brimmed hat and long sleeved clothes ALL the time you are outside.
Use sunscreen every day- look for a sunscreen that protects against both UVA, with a star rating of 4 (****) at least, and UVB rays (at least factor 20)
The Australians say ‘No hat, no play’. Teach your child safe sun behaviour
There is a national increase in mumps and cases have occurred in young people at Alton College –
What is mumps?
Mumps is an infectious disease caused by the mumps virus. It is a mild disease in most people and may even go completely unnoticed. Symptoms begin with a headache and fever, followed by swelling of glands in front of the ears on one or both sides. Rarely, it can cause complications which could be unpleasant and require admission to hospital. These include viral meningitis, hearing problems and inflammation of the testicles. It is spread through coughs and sneezes. People with mumps should stay at home for 5 days after the start of swollen glands and avoid contact with other people where possible. There is no treatment for mumps.
How can it be prevented?
The only way to prevent mumps is to be immunised with MMR vaccine Many young people are not fully protected against mumps as they have not had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine. (Students immunised in 1994 at school would have received the MR vaccine which only protects against measles and rubella, not against mumps. Students bom before 1987 generally will not have had MMR vaccine as young children.) You are advised to check with your surgery who will be able to offer you MMR vaccine if you are not fully protected. Immunisation is recommended for those born after 1980 as older people are more likely to be immune.
The vaccine is extremely safe. Further information is available on www.mmrthefacts.nhs.uk. Medical reasons for not having the vaccine include a very weak immune system and pregnancy ~ pregnancy should be avoided in the month after immunisation,
Many universities are requesting that new students are immunised before
starting their courses. This is because large outbreaks have happened in
AVOID MUMPS BY BEING PROTECTED WITH MMR
The Committee of Safety of Medicines has recently decided that Co-proxamol will be withdrawn in the next twelve months. This is in response recent research that shows it is not as effective as once thought and that it can be dangerous if taken with alcohol.
The arthritis drug Vioxx (Rofecoxib) has been withdrawn throughout the world. Trials have shown that, when taken for some years, it increases the chances of having a stroke. This risk rapidly falls once the drug is stopped
The Committee on safety of medicines advice is:
In many cases the best alternative is paracetamol. It is well tried and tested and works surprisingly well. The older anti-arthritis drugs (ibuprofen, diclofenac etc) are available but have the possibility of causing indigestion. Some people need to take a pill to protect the stomach (omeprazole, lansoprazole) before it is safe to take these. The other newer anti-arthritis drugs (celebrex) remain controversial; Vioxx’s bad effects could occur with this whole group of drugs; no one is very sure. Your doctor will probably have some good advice.
Many of you will be aware that HRT has recently received a significant amount of adverse press, relating to its long term risks versus benefits. This was precipitated by publication of trials from the USA and , more recently, the UK.
The latest evidence suggests that HRT provides effective relief from menopausal symptoms and is effective in preventing osteoporosis and fractures, in the long term. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Against these benefits, HRT increases the risk of breast cancer, endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer in a duration dependent manner. There is no evidence for a beneficial effect of HRT on cardiovascular disease – in fact the risk of heart attack and deep vein thrombosis is increased in the first year of use. The risk of stroke is also increased.
The Committee on Safety of Medicines have reviewed HRT and have made the following recommendations.
Key messages for patients on HRT
More information is available at www.mhra.gov.uk