Local NHS prepares for impact of forthcoming industrial action
You will be aware that junior doctors will be taking five days of strike action in February. There will be a full walk out from 7am on Saturday 24 February 2024 until 11:59pm on Wednesday 28 February 2024.
The local NHS will be under significantly more pressure than usual during this time and is therefore encouraging people to be prepared for their medical needs in advance and to know what to do should they, or a family member, become unwell.
The information below explains about the likely impact of strikes in mid and south Essex and information about how you can help us to get important messages out in our communities.
A dedicated webpage is also available with further information and guidance.
Lots of careful planning is taking place, however it is anticipated that both routine and emergency care are likely to be significantly affected. In order to prioritise life-saving emergency treatment for people who need it, hospitals are highly likely to postpone some non-urgent operations, treatments and routine appointments. Where this is the case, patients will be contacted directly.
GP practices will also be without junior doctors during the industrial action. Please be patient with practice teams as they try get through large volumes of calls and prioritise care accordingly.
What can you do to help?
Please ensure that regardless of any action taking place, if you need care you should continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-saving cases.
Top tips for local residents
- If you need urgent health help, use NHS 111 online (111.nhs.uk) or call 111. Your symptoms will be assessed, and you will be provided with healthcare advice or an appointment to see a doctor or nurse if this is needed. NHS 111 can also send an ambulance and can book an appointment for you in some services.
- Adults experiencing a mental health crisis, can speak to a mental health professional anytime, day or night, by calling NHS 111 and selecting the option for mental health. Call 0800 995 1000 for under 18s who need urgent mental health support.
- The NHS websitehas lots of advice for minor symptoms. There is also information about what is a serious medical emergency: When to call 999 - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Pick up a few medicines while you’re shopping so that you can look after very minor illnesses or injuries yourself. You can buy basic essentials like paracetamol, ibuprofen, plasters, antiseptic cream, allergy medicine and indigestion remedies from pharmacies and supermarkets for less than the cost of a prescription. Remember, cheaper non-branded versions of medicines work just as well as branded products.
- If you need to order prescription medication or repeat prescriptions, please allow 72 hours notice, to both the GP practice and the pharmacy.
- You can find a list of pharmacies by visiting nhs.ukand using the ‘Find a Pharmacy’ tool.
- GP phone lines are likely to be even busier than normal, so please be patient as practice staff try to help as many people as they can. If you have a computer or smartphone, you can use the NHS App or your GP practice’s e-consultation service, which directs your query quickly to the right member of practice staff, and helps free up the telephone lines for those who aren’t online.
- Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments at our hospitals only have the capacity to treat people who have serious or life-threatening conditions. If you use emergency services with a minor issue you are risking the lives of others and may not get the treatment for your symptoms as quickly as you will elsewhere.
- Do not visit health settings or care homes if you have recently had diarrhoea or vomiting. Stomach bugs are easily spread, make already ill people very seriously unwell, and can lead to whole hospital wards being closed. Please wait 48 hours after your last bout of sickness or diarrhoea before visiting anyone who is vulnerable.
For more information visit: Industrial action advice - Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System (ics.nhs.uk)
Discover the success of our recent Diabetes Support Day held at our practice this past Sunday!
Discover the success of our recent Diabetes Support Day held at our practice this past Sunday! The response was overwhelming, highlighting a clear demand for support among individuals living with diabetes. Collaborating with the Southend Victoria PCN clinical team and the regional diabetes EPUT service, we hosted two engaging 2.5-hour sessions.
During these sessions, participants received personalised attention, undergoing essential diabetes care checks, including blood pressure, foot examination, and BMI assessment. Venous blood sampling was also available as needed. Attendees seized the opportunity to consult on their medications and gain practical guidance from an enthusiastic representative from Diabetes UK.
Our friendly PCN Social Prescriber team was out in full force, offering non-medical support and explaining their crucial role in chronic disease management. To enhance the experience, we provided hot beverages, healthy snacks, and fresh fruit for everyone.
The highlight of the day featured our amazing Chief conducting two live cookery demonstrations, complete with food samples and recipes for attendees. A local representative from 'Freestyle Libre' was on hand to provide advice and initiate eligible individuals on their monitoring devices.
Our dedicated dietitian and lifestyle and wellbeing coach curated an impressive nutritional food display, bringing food labels to life. They offered invaluable advice and scheduled follow-up encounters for interested participants. Additionally, our PCN first contact podiatrist provided essential support and guidance for those with foot-related concerns.
The day was a remarkable experience, though admittedly exhausting! Our passionate team was thrilled to share their knowledge and provide unwavering support throughout the event. We look forward to continuing our commitment to diabetes care and support in the future. Thank you to everyone who made the day a resounding success!
Almost all pharmacies now offer the Pharmacy First service, giving advice and, if needed, NHS medicines to treat seven common health conditions – and all without the need for a GP appointment.
🗨️ Ask your local pharmacy for more information about this free NHS service.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION - Queensway Carpark
To all patients, it with much regret, Queensway surgery car park will permanently close to patients from 6th November 2023 on health & Safety grounds. We have in the past 2 years seen the car park being overused by commuters, people who live locally and people who just want to go shopping. There has been no way to manoeuvre once a car has entered and found no space to park and other cars double parking. This results in cars being hit by other cars. We had left the Coleman St entrance open to alleviate the situation, but that made matters worse with people using the car park as a cut through and driving through at speed with near misses to both staff and patients along with several altercations leading to verbal/physical abuse.
Clinicians have arrived for work with nowhere to park and 2 of the staff have had their cars stolen in the past few months.
We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause but this is now the only course of action left open to us.
Queensway is in the fortunate position that we are surrounded by several council car parks for people that need to travel by car to attend the surgery.
We are a Safe Surgery
A Safe Surgery can be any GP practice which commits to taking steps to tackle the barriers faced by many migrants in accessing healthcare. At a minimum, this means declaring your practice a ‘Safe Surgery’ for everyone and ensuring that lack of ID or proof of address, immigration status or language are not barriers to patient registration.
Safe Surgeries recognise the barriers to healthcare access that exist, particularly for migrants in vulnerable circumstances, and believe that small changes in practice can make a difference. They are willing to lead by example and work to ensure that nobody in their community is excluded.
The Virtual Views Panel is looking for your help
Do you want to have your say on local health and social care services? Do you want your voice to be heard by local health and care decision-makers?
The Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System has a Virtual Views Panel which is looking for your help. By signing up you can help us make the right choices in how we plan for the future. Your feedback will help us continually improve, develop and work together to provide health and care services to the different communities we serve in Southend and Castlepoint and Rochford (the South East Essex Alliance footprint).
As a Panel member you will also find out about new plans and ideas from the Integrated Care System. This includes local authorities, hospitals, charities, GPs and other health care providers.
Signing up is easy – simply scan the QR code or go to https://www.midandsouthessex.ics.nhs.uk/get-involved/how/ for more information.
Population Health Event Day
A pop up Health Event was held on Thursday 27th October in response to a request from local residents at an engagement event the Communities Team held regarding the councils Poverty Strategy. They put forward an idea that health information and health colleagues might be more accessible if they were in spaces where the public were. It was agreed that an event would be held on Southend High Street, Forward Motion had a great spot on the High Street and very kindly invited us to share their space on the day.
Click on the Population Health Icon to read thier story
Council announces extra support to help residents through cost-of-living crisis
A package of initiatives to continue to help local people through the cost-of-living crisis has been announced by the council, with a four-point plan focussed on helping those that need it most.
Click on the Cost of Living Icon for to read more.