The spring/summer 2021 newsletter can be download here
The spring 2023 newsletter can be download here
The autumn 2023 newsletter can be downloaded here
COVID-19 – Coronavirus
The ongoing situation with respect to the Coronavirus pandemic is changing rapidly. Please check the Public Health England and NHS websites for up to date information.
Covid-19 What We Are Doing to Protect You
The Porch Surgery has always been dedicated to looking after our patients and a global pandemic is no exception! We are still every bit as focused on your health and well-being as we always are, but we have had to make some temporary changes to the way we work to ensure not only your safety but the safety of our staff as well.
We have temporarily suspended all future bookings of GP appointments. All appointments will be same day call backs from one of the Duty Doctors. If needed they can arrange a video call, a home visit or they may ask you to come in to the surgery to been seen in person.
Many of our Nurse Clinics are now being completed over the phone:
- Annual Pill Checks
- Contraceptive Advice
We are working in partnership with the Community District Nursing Team to ensure all those patients who are not able to leave their house are able to receive the treatment they need
The Reception Team are able to take applications for online ordering of prescriptions over the phone. This will not only reduce our paperwork but save you a trip to the surgery to drop off your repeat prescription request.
We would like to thank you all for your patience at this very difficult time.
Open for Business
We are very fortunate to live in Wiltshire as our figures for Coronavirus are incredibly low compared to the rest of England. It is however important to remember that whilst the focus of the nation is on this virus our patients do have other health issues that need to be addressed in a timely manner. We are currently on full staffing and do have capacity to deal with any concerns.
Help for Those Self-isolating
If you are self-isolating due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and you need help as you do not have any family, friends or neighbours you can contact your local town council for support.
They are able to help you with:
- deliveries of food and other essentials
- loneliness and wellbeing
You can contact Corsham Town Council via email at [email protected], Box Parish Council at [email protected] or others in Lacock and Colerne to use their volunteers for general help. A full list is available on our website.
If you have difficulty in servicing basic needs such as purchasing food, prescriptions, isolation you can request additional help from the Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub by calling their helpline on: 0300 003 4576 or via email at [email protected].
It’s available from 8am – 8pm Monday-Friday and 10am – 4pm Saturday and Sunday.
If you live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, you can get an isolation note to send to your employer as proof you need to stay off work. You do not need to get a note from a GP.
Please visit https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/ and follow the on screen instructions.
New Staff Members
Dr Susie Worsley – General Practioner
Debbie Barrett – New Receptionist
Veterans: Priority NHS Treatment
A veteran is someone who has served in the armed forces for at least 1 day. There are around 2.4 million veterans in Great Britain.
When servicemen and women leave the armed forces, their healthcare is the responsibility of the NHS.
It’s very important for continuing healthcare that you register with an NHS GP and remember to tell them that you have served. This will help your GP to better understand any service-related health conditions that you may have and ensure that you are referred, where appropriate, to dedicated services for ex-forces.
Being flagged as a veteran in your NHS medical notes will help to ensure that you are able to access dedicated services for those who have served in the UK armed forces. These include services for mental health and physical health conditions.
Find out more about the range of services and support available to veterans on the NHS website:
Spring has sprung, the nights are getting lighter there has never been a better time to start thinking about your health and wellbeing.
At this time of year hay fever can develop very quickly. Hay fever is a common allergic condition that affects one in five people at some point in their life.
Symptoms: Sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes.
Hay fever is caused by an allergic reaction to pollen. Pollen is a fine powder released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle. It contains proteins that can cause the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses (small air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead) to become swollen, irritated and inflamed.
Currently there is no cure for hay fever, but most people are able to relieve symptoms with treatment, at least to a certain extent. Many people find their symptoms improve as they get older.
Treatment for Hay Fever
Many cases of hay fever can be controlled using over the counter medication from your local pharmacist.
Antihistamines: Non drowsy options such as cetirizine are available without prescription
Steroids: e.g. Beconase nasal spray is available without prescription and this helps reduce levels of swelling and inflammation.
Eye drops: Help to relieve itchiness, redness, and watering eyes
What Can You Do As a Patient?
If you previously had a prescription for seasonal hay fever you can request your prescription in the usual way. If hay fever is a new problem for you, our advice would be to initially visit the pharmacist and try over the counter medication. After a period of time if you feel that the medication isn’t working then please telephone the surgery.
A vaccine to prevent shingles, a common, painful skin disease is available on the NHS to people in their 70s. The vaccine is given as a single injection. You’ll only need to have the vaccination once and you can have it at any time of the year.
The vaccination is expected to reduce your risk of getting shingles but if you do go on to have the disease, your symptoms may be milder and the illness shorter. Shingles can be very painful and uncomfortable; some people are left with pain lasting for years after the initial rash has healed. Shingles is also fatal for around 1 in 1,000 over-70s who develop it.
It’s fine to have the shingles vaccine if you’ve already had shingles. The vaccine works very well in people who have had shingles before and it will boost your immunity against further attacks.
The pneumococcal vaccine, commonly referred to as the pneumonia vaccine, protects against serious and potentially fatal pneumococcal infections such as pneumonia, septicaemia (a kind of blood poisoning) and meningitis. At their worst, they can cause permanent brain damage, or even kill.
A pneumococcal infection can affect anyone. But some people are at higher risk of serious illness, so it’s recommended they are given the vaccination on the NHS. These include:
- adults aged 65 or over
- children and adults with certain long-term health conditions, such as a serious heart or kidney condition
Babies receive 3 doses of vaccine at 8 weeks, 16 weeks, and 1 year.
People aged 65 and over only need a single vaccination. This vaccine is not given annually like the flu jab. People with a long-term health condition may need just a single one-off pneumococcal vaccination or vaccination every 5 years, depending on their underlying health problem.
This scheme provides a variety of physical activity opportunities. To access this scheme, please speak to your GP. www.wiltshire.gov.uk/activehealth
One You Website
There is lots of helpful advice and information on smoking, drinking, eating, moving, sleeping and on stress on the NHS One You website: www.nhs.uk/oneyou
Make Sure You Choose the Right NHS Service
Self Care is the best choice for minor illnesses
- Keep a well stocked medicine cabinet, guidance can be found at: www.nhs.uk/livewell/pharmacy
- Visit www.patient.co.uk. This website is an online resource loaded with tips and advice on the different self care options and help about treating minor ailments.
- Talk in confidence, without an appointment
- They offer expert advice on minor ailments such as coughs and colds, earaches, skin rashes and sore throats
- Some can provide services such as Chlamydia testing, emergency contraception and stop smoking services.
- Call 111 if you need medical help but it’s not a 999 emergency, NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free – dial 111
- You think you may need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
- You need health information or reassurance about what to do next.
Download the Free App HANDi
Not sure what to do when your child is unwell
Why not download the free app HANDi
The HANDi App aims to provide advice and support to parents and carers when your child is unwell. It offers simple and straightforward advice on what to do and who to contact, including illness-specific home assessment guidelines for six common childhood illnesses:
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- High temperature
- Chesty baby (Bronchiolitis)
- Chesty child (Wheeze and Asthma)
- Abdominal pain
- Common newborn problems
Each of the six illnesses has a home care plan to help you provide the best support for your child, and give you confidence in caring for them when they are unwell. You can download the HANDi App from Google Play or the iPhone App.
Help Coping with COVID-19
This is a very stressful time for every one of us, regardless of age, so it is even more important to look after our mental health. The NHS has a wonderful resource to help you with this. If you have internet access please do have a look at https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/. It has a wonderful advice and tips for dealing with the stress coronavirus has brought into each of our lives. There are also several well-being apps available from Google Play and the App Store to help reduce anxiety, stress and to help you sleep better.
If you feel like you need more help or are unable to cope please do not hesitate to contact the surgery – we are here to help you!
Mental Health – Live Well
Low mood and depression
Low mood and depression – difficult events can leave us all in low spirits and can cause depression. It could be relationship problems, bereavement, sleep problems, stress at work, bullying, chronic illness or pain. Sometimes it is possible to feel low without any obvious reason.
What’s the difference between low mood and depression?
Low mood can include:
- Feeling anxious
- Low self esteem
- Frustration and anger
A low mood tends to lift after a few weeks, if it doesn’t go away this may be a sign of depression.
Symptoms of depression include:
- Low mood lasting two weeks or more
- Not getting any enjoyment of life
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling tired or lacking in energy
- Not being able to concentrate on everyday things such as reading the newspaper, watching television
- Comfort eating or losing your appetite
- Sleeping more than usual
- Having suicidal thoughts or thinking of harming yourself
For more information please viist the following website:
If you need to talk to someone about something that’s troubling you, or are worried about your mental health call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.
Self Help for Stress
Stress is our emotional and physical response to pressure. That pressure can arise from external factors including life events, illness (ourselves or someone close to us) living conditions, work, home and family, study, lack of some necessity, or the demands we place on ourselves. Even those events which we see as enjoyable can be stressful, such as holidays, moving home, starting a better job, pregnancy, parenthood, Christmas etc.
Stress can be shown through our:
Emotions – irritable, bad tempered, anxious, angry, depressed
Physical sensations – Heart racing, breathing faster, tense muscles, hot and sweaty, headaches, more forgetful, agitated, bladder or bowel problems.
Behaviour – Unable to settle, sleep disturbances, shouting, arguing, eating more or less, drinking more, using drugs, smoking more, crying.
Try to identify what is making you stressed
- Where am I when I am feeling stressed? What am I doing? Who am I with?
- What helpful changes could I make?
- What is within my control?
- Even if there is little you can do about some situations, maybe making small changes – in routine, in the way you handle things, doing things differently, taking time out, thinking about it in a different way, in getting help, seeking advice – could all make a difference.
Doing things differently
- Do something different (to what you normally do)
- Make time for yourself each day – relaxation, fun, enjoyment. Create a healthy balance – allow extra for activities which give you a sense of achievement, those that give a sense of closeness to others, and a sense of enjoyment. When stressed, it’s often the case we spend more time doing things that help us achieve, but less of enjoyment and closeness to others. Aim for a healthy balance.
For more information please visit the following website:
Help for Older People- The Silver Line
What is The Silver Line?
The Silver Line Helpline is the only national, free and confidential helpline for older people open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. They offer information, advice and friendship through their helpline and services.
Who is The Silver Line for?
The Silver Line is a helpline for older people and most of the people they speak to are over the 60.
Other services offered
- Telephone friendship – a weekly 30 minute call between an older person and a Silver Line friend volunteer.
- Silver Letters – a fortnightly exchange of a letter between an older person and a volunteer Silver Line Friend
- Silver Circles – a call between a group of older people on a shared interest or topic, taking place each week for 60 minutes.
- Silver Line Connects – help with informing and connecting an older person with national and local services.
How can I join The Silver Line?
Research shows that men compared to women are more likely to smoke and drink alcohol and generally lead less healthy lifestyles. In addition, men are more likely to put off routine check-ups and are less likely to seek help even if they are experiencing symptoms.
Five health symptoms men shouldn’t ignore
- A lump on your testicle. If you notice a lump or an abnormality in your testicles please see your GP, most lumps are not cancerous, but it is vital to get any abnormalities checked.
- Trouble urinating. Only men have a prostate gland. When the prostate becomes enlarged, it can press on the tube that carries urine from the bladder. This can make it hard to pass urine and can be a sign of prostate disease.
- Feeling depressed. If you’re depressed, you may lose interest in things you used to enjoy. If you have been having feelings of extreme sadness contact your GP. Depression is a real illness with real effects on your work, social and family life. Treatment can include, self-help, talking therapies and medication.
- Impotence. Half of all men over the age of 40 have had trouble getting an erection at least once. Generally, lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and exercise, can correct the problem. However some men may need medication such as sildenafil (also known as Viagra)
- Moles. Check your moles regularly and be aware of any changes in colour or shape, or if they start bleeding. Most changes are harmless are due to a non-cancerous increase of pigment cells in the skin, but it’s important to get any abnormal or itchy moles checked by your GP.
Cervical Screening (Smear tests)
A smear test is a method of detecting abnormal cells on the cervix. Cervical screening isn’t a test for cancer; it’s a test to check the health of the cells of the cervix.
The aim of the NHS cervical screening programme is to reduce the number of women who develop cancer. All women who are registered with a GP are invited for cervical screening.
- aged 25 to 49 – every three years
- aged 50 to 64 – every five years
- over 65 – only women who haven’t been screened since age 50 or those who have recently had abnormal tests
If you think you are due a smear test but haven’t yet received an invitation, please call the surgery and the receptionist will be able to advise you when your next smear test is due.
Access to Online Services
Due to the current crisis we are taking applications for online access over the phone. This will allow you to access online prescriptions only as the appointment facility is currently disabled. Just ring the surgery on 01249 712232 and the receptionist will go through the form with you.
We are pleased to be able to offer our patients a variety of on-line services.
What are On-line Services?
By accessing this facility you can:
- Order repeat prescriptions
- Book routine GP Appointments
- Cancel appointments
- Update your contact details
- View your Summary Care Record (medication and allergies)
- View your Summary Care Record with additional information
- View your Medical Records from 1st April 2017
How do I access these services?
Due to the confidential nature of this facility, all patients requesting access will need to read the Patient Access to On-line Services Terms and Conditions leaflet and complete an application form.
Where can I find these documents?
- Reception staff will be able to supply you with the information
- Downloadable from the practice web site: www.porchsurgery.nhs.uk under our documents
All members of the Porch team work to the strictest levels of confidentiality and data protection. We can only share information with a third party (husband/wife/partner/friend) if we have your written consent. Some patients find this a convenient option for getting test results.
A form is also available for completion from the reception desk.
Your Medical Records
Your Choice: Sharing Your Health Record
What is your health record?
Your health record contains all the clinical information about the care you receive. When you need medical assistance it is essential that clinicians can securely access your health record. This allows them to have the necessary information about your medical background to help them identify the best way to help you. This information may include your medical history, medications and allergies.
Why is sharing important?
Health records about you can be held in various places, including your GP practice and any hospital where you have had treatment. Sharing your health record will ensure you receive the best possible care and treatment wherever you are and whenever you need it. Choosing not to share your health record could have an impact on the future care and treatment you receive. Below are some examples of how sharing your health record can benefit you:
- Sharing your contact details -This will ensure you receive any medical appointments without delay
- Sharing your medical history -This will ensure emergency services accurately assess you if needed
- Sharing your medication list-This will ensure that you receive the most appropriate medication
- Sharing your allergies-This will prevent you being given something to which you are allergic
- Sharing your test results -This will prevent further unnecessary tests being required
Is my health record secure?
Yes. There are safeguards in place to make sure only organisations you have authorised to view your records can do so.
Can I decide who I share my health record with?
Yes. You decide who has access to your health record. For your health record to be shared between organisations that provide care to you, your consent must be gained.
Can I change my mind?
Yes. You can change your mind at any time about sharing your health record, please just let us know.
Can someone else consent on my behalf?
If you do not have capacity to consent and have a Lasting Power of Attorney, they may consent on your behalf. If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney, then a decision in best interests can be made by those caring for you.
What about parental responsibility?
If you have parental responsibility and your child is not able to make an informed decision for themselves, then you can make a decision about information sharing on behalf of your child. If your child is competent then this must be their decision.
What is your Summary Care Record?
Your Summary Care Record contains basic information including your contact details, NHS number, medications and allergies. This can be viewed by GP practices, Hospitals and the Emergency Services. If you do not want a Summary Care Record, please ask your GP practice for the appropriate opt out form. With your consent, additional information can be added to create an Enhanced Summary Care Record. This could include your care plans which will help ensure that you receive the appropriate care in the future.
Patients are automatically opted in but have the choice to opt out.
Any patient wishing to opt out may do so by visiting The Porch Surgery website: www.porchsurgery.co.uk: Summary Care Record, Opt out form. Download the form, complete it and return it to reception.
Privacy Notice – How we use your medical records
Important information for patients
- This practice handles medical records in-line with laws on data protection and confidentiality.
- We share medical records with those who are involved in providing you with care and treatment.
- In some circumstances we will also share medical records for medical research, for example to find out more about why people get ill.
- We share information when the law requires us to do so, for example, to prevent infectious diseases from spreading or to check the care being provided to you is safe.
- You have the right to access your medical records.
- You have the right to object to your medical records being shared with those who provide you with care.
- You have the right to object to your information being used for medical research and to plan health services.
- You have the right to have any mistakes corrected and to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Please see the practice privacy notice on the website or speak to a member of staff for more information about your rights.
- For more information, please ask for our information leaflet or see our website www.porchsurgery.nhs.uk
We are proud to announce that the Porch Surgery has been awarded ‘Platinum’ accreditation by Wiltshire Investors in Carers for the support offered to our patients who declare themselves to be carers.
Who is a carer?
A Carer is a parent, a child, a partner, a neighbour or a friend. But what makes them a Carer too is down to how much more than the ‘norm’ they are doing for someone else.
A Carer is someone who provides help and support to a family member or friend who could not manage without their help. This could be due to age, disability, physical or mental illness, substance misuse or eating disorder.
They might be helping with everyday household tasks, preparing their meals, making appointments for them, helping with tablets or other treatments. Perhaps they have to help them get dressed and carry out day to day things that most of us take for granted.
They may even be giving them this care and support 24/7.
Do you think you are a Carer?
If you have any questions related to Carers, please feel free to contact Wendy, our Carers Lead, on 01249 712232 or collect a ‘Carers pack’ from the reception desk.
Carer Support Wiltshire is a Wiltshire-wide charity supporting people who care for family members and friends. Caring can be difficult and frustrating; they understand carer’s needs and are able to signpost to a whole range of support services and activities.
All the services offered are both free and confidential.
The surgery holds carer clinics. The clinics offer a well-being check for carers. Afternoon tea meetings are also organised, these meetings are designed to be informal but informative as we recognise time is a precious commodity. Please keep an eye on our Carers Notice Board (located in the Reception) for the date of future clinics.
At the meetings there is an opportunity to meet members of the Porch team and local representatives are also invited to attend the meeting to provide advice and support relevant to carers.
In March 2019 the surgery had a very successful Afternoon Tea in the Corsham Town Hall which was attended by record numbers. We had speakers from Wiltshire Farm Foods and The Bobby Van Trust. A number of our staff attended including Sister Linda Callaghan who provided an amusing and interactive session on ‘keeping our carers healthy’. Babs and Hil Light came along to highlight the local transport service they offer, taking patients to and from medical appointments. We received very positive feedback from patients and guests alike.
Carer Support Wiltshire – Freephone: 0800 181 4118
Or 01380 871690 If you are a carer or are cared for by someone, please let us know. This is useful information for your GP and will be recorded on your medical records.
More information can also be found here
Patient Participation Group
We are fortunate to have an active Patient Participation Group where the retired population is well represented. The PPG would like to engage with any underrepresented and seldom heard groups. This would include patients with mental health conditions or groups with protected characteristics as identified in the Equality Act 2010 (Age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation).
If you would like some more information, please contact Becky Drennan at the surgery.