Worried parents need clear advice about when to seek medical help for their children with suspected Strep A, says College Chair
Publication date: 08 December 2022
Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, has called on the Government for clear messaging for parents on when – and when not – to seek medical help as GP teams grapple with Strep A cases.
Professor Hawthorne said: "Across the country, GPs and our teams are seeing a rising number of parents who are concerned that their child is unwell and may have a serious case of Strep A. This is understandable given that we are seeing more Strep A infections than we normally would at this time of year - and especially as several serious cases have had tragic consequences - but many surgeries are struggling to cope with the additional demand on top of existing workload and workforce pressures facing general practice.
"We do not want to discourage patients who are worried about their children to seek medical attention, particularly given the current circumstances. But we do want to see good public health messaging across the UK making it clear to parents when they should seek help and the different care options available to them – as well as when they don’t need to seek medical attention.
"As a matter of urgency, we also need the Government to consider 'overspill' services for GP practices that cannot cope with increased patient demand as a result of Strep A concerns.
“GPs are highly trained consultants in family medicine who are being particularly vigilant in looking for serious, invasive cases of Group A streptococcal infections. Early identification and treatment are key, but it’s vital that we are available for those patients who really need to see us, so we ask the public and the media to act responsibly while we do our best to control and treat serious cases of these infections.”
Strep A and other winter infections
We are working very hard to ensure all patients with symptoms are seen and treated as soon as possible, however the infections that are affecting our patients also affecting our staff, so we have had absences and suspect more will happen in the coming weeks. It is affecting all parts of our working days and thank you in advance for your patience.
We will try to keep you updated on medication shortages because despite announcements in the media, there are shortages and our community pharmacies are doing their best to get supplies and keeping us informed of what they have available on a daily basis.
Data for Planning and Research update
A letter was sent to practices from Jo Churchill, the Minister for Primary Care and Health Promotion, outlining the criteria that will strengthen security for the GP data collection programme. It sets out the tests that must be met for the GP data collection to proceed and means a move away from the fixed start date of 1 September. The letter can be read here.
Use website for patients who suffer from back pain Back Pain video
Over the Counter Medication
The table below shows the guidance that we are required to follow regarding a number of Self Care issues and how patients can purchase over the counter (OTC) medications for that.
Calling all men of the North East
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAAs) are a weakening in the aorta that can swell and rupture causing fatal internal bleeding. They usually don’t have symptoms and are most common in men aged over 65.
AAA screening is a free NHS national programme that invites men in the year they turn 65, to attend a quick and painless 10 minute ultrasound scan.
You will receive your invitation through the post when you’re eligible. Please DON’T ignore it. It could save your life!
If you need to rearrange your appointment give us a call on: 0191 445 8747
For more information visit: QE Gateshead website https://www.qegateshead.nhs.uk/services/aaa/
Watch our AAA Video: https://fb.watch/7tORZvND2n/
We have included details on two studies if anyone is interested, they are available on our Research page - current studies are for Back Pain and Diabetes.
General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR)
Our Privacy notice has been updated to reflect the new rules that come into effect on 30 June 2021, but more information is available from NHS Digital and a Type 1 Opt Out form is available here.
There is a useful source of information to help people who suffer from chronic pain at the Live Well With Pain website available at Live Well With Pain website
ICON is all about helping people who care for babies to cope with crying
ICON is a resource to help people who care for babies to cope with crying - there is a website full of information and this includes Parents advice and explains the crying curve
* I – Infant crying is normal
* C –Comforting methods can help
* O – It’s OK to walk away
* N – Never, ever shake a baby
Painkillers don't exist
Pain medication like codeine, morphine and tramadol can be dangerous if taken for a long period of time. Always ask your GP for a follow up appointment to review your health. Find out more about the dangers of pain medication here: painkillersdontexist.com #PainkillersDontExist
There are over 55,000 prescriptions for opioids and gabapentinoids every month across County Durham and Painkillers are not the only option for persistent pain use the link https://painkillersdontexist.com/ for more information or Download.
CDDFT and the North East Cancer Alliance have produced a patient information video for the 2WW pathway and is available on the following link: Cancer care video
We would encourage that patients return used inhalers to local pharmacies for disposal by incineration or recycling and any blister packs can also be recycled at certain pharmacies waste recycling pharmacies.
This is an initiative to help people to find the most appropriate source of help when they call our practice or pop in to make an appointment.
This means that our specially trained Receptionists/Care Navigators will ask questions about why appointments are required. You are not obliged to answer the questions they ask, however by doing so we can make sure that those people who really need to see a GP can see them as soon as possible.
Everyone who calls to make an appointment asks to see a GP, but very often help will be available more quickly from other highly skilled medical professionals such as nurses or pharmacists, or from other services, including the voluntary sector, they can support people with a wide range of social, emotional or practical needs.
Our trained Receptionists/Care Navigators will be able to offer you the most appropriate help using the range of information they have access to.
If you would like any further information about Care Navigation, please speak with one of our Care Navigators or our Practice Office Manager.
Extended Access Service
With effect from the 1st September 2017, there is an extended access service, running Monday to Friday evenings, and Saturday and Sunday. Please just ask Reception staff for details.
Both GP and Nurse or Health Care Assistant appointments are available.
This is an extension of the GP service that runs as normal throughout the day, and is aimed firstly for those people who, for example, work and find it difficult to get to see a GP or Nurse or Health Care Assistant during the day.
This poster offers more information
Extended GP access
'Healthier & Wealthier' telephone advice is now available via the Practice
Citizens Advice County Durham is now offering quick and easy telephone appointments to patients all over the country, giving free advice and helping solve a range of problems that could be causing you serious worries or even affecting your health.
They are experts in:
- Staying Warm and Healthy
- Work, benefits and income
- Debt and managing money
- Legal matters and rights
- Caring or disability
- Relationships or bereavement
- Housing or consumer issues
Evidence suggests a strong link between getting this kind of advice and staying physically and mentally well, especially if you have long-term health problems.
By asking the Practice to arrange a telephone appointment, you could get a free call-back at a convenient time Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm - and often on the same day.
Just ask at Reception for more information.
There is no longer a Health Visitor service operating out of the practice, following a review by the provider, Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, patients can now attend the community clinic every Friday at Bullion Children Centre from 09.30-11.30.
Further information is on the Facebook page for CLS Health Visitors.
"Out of Area" Patients
These are at the discretion of the practice, taking into account the feasibility of being able to provide good GP services "at a distance" - basically it depends on medical and geographical considerations and it is vitally important that all parties are clear who will be responsible for home visits and emergency care.
Any such registration requests will be considered by the Partners on an case by case basis.
If an application is successful, the patient is registered as an "out of area" patient on the understanding that they will not be able to receive home visits from Bridge End GP's, they must attend the surgery in person for all ordinary needs which cannot be sorted out by phone.
If "Out of area" patients need urgent attention or a home visit, this will be arranged via the NHS phone service 111.
Out practice boundaries are available on our Catchment Boundary map - just put in your post code.
What is Green Impact for Health?
Green Impact for Health is a tried and tested formula developed by the RCGP and NUS/SOS. In 2020/21 it was by used by over 1000 General Practices across the country.
Put simply it is an online DIY guide to help you make General Practice more environmentally sustainable. Green Impact for Health provides guidance about the small changes that should improve the environmental sustainability and is something that Bridge End is striving to deliver.