Skin Analytics Service

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Skin Analytics is a new service that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and new technology to help GPs make a decision on skin marks or moles (we call these lesions).

When you make an appointment with your GP about a mole or mark you are concerned about, the GP will take a picture of the mark using a special dermascope camera attached to a smartphone.

This will be sent to the DERM AI programme which is able to make a decision on whether this might be skin cancer or just a dermatology referral.

The leaflet here explains more. 

The video below helps you to know what to look out for if you are worried you have skin cancer symptoms.

For information and support about skin cancer, please visit the Macmillan Cancer Support website.

Managing Your Blood Pressure

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A blood pressure test is the only way to find out if your blood pressure is too high or too low because most people won't have any obvious symptoms. Having a test is easy and could save your life.

Patient resources and support

The British Heart Foundation have a wide range of tools, information and support available, all of which can be accessed via the ‘Manage your blood pressure at home hub’ which is a hub created to help measure and manage blood pressure at home: 

How to measure blood pressure at home - video

Video demonstration on with a BHF Senior Cardiac Nurse, demonstrating to patients how to measure blood pressure at home.

High Blood Pressure and Coronavirus

BHF medical experts answer questions about how the Covid-19 coronavirus can affect people with heart disease, including hypertension.

6 tips for reducing blood pressure

Tips to help reduce your blood pressure, or control it following a diagnosis of high blood pressure.

Understanding blood pressure booklet.

Booklet for people with high blood pressure to help them understand the condition. Including information on what high blood pressure is, and how to reduce it. These are available to download or to order in print.

Online community

Free online space for people with heart and circulatory conditions to get information and support from people who are going through similar situations.

Other resources for patients can be found at:

Everyone Health Southend

Everyone Health provides a free service for people aged 16 and above who live or work in Southend or are registered with a Southend GP practice. This includes support to lose weight, eat more healthily and get active.

Visit: https://southend.everyonehealth.co.uk/

Easy Read Advice on Coronavirus

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For the latest easy read posters about Coronavirus, keeping safe and the vaccine, along with audio versions, visit the Keep Safe UK website.

Download an easy read leaflet explaining Why Do I Have to Wait for the COVID-19 Vaccination here

Mencap has also issued an easy read booklet on the coronavirus vaccine.

For general advice and support about Coronavirus, please visit this page on the Mencap website.

Ordering Your Medication

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Take control of your medicines and only order what you need 

Medicine wastage is a growing problem in the NHS. If you have regular repeat medicines on prescription there are some simple things you can do to reduce medicine wastage and save time for you and your GP practice.

Order in a timely manner

It usually takes around 3-4 working days to process and dispense your prescription so order your medicines when you have one week of medicines left but no earlier. Check your medicines cupboards at home immediately before you order to avoid additional medicines being supplied which you do not need.

Order your medicines yourself

You are best placed to order your repeat medicines directly from the surgery and this is best done electronically.

  • You can now order using the new NHS app, which will allow you to see your prescribed medications and order a repeat prescription.

  • The app is quick and easy to use and is available free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store – just search “NHS APP”.

Information for patients about the NHS App (pdf) 

Alternatively you can ask your pharmacy or dispenser for a paper repeat medicines ordering slip. On this slip you can tick the medicines you need and put a line through the items you do not need that month. You will be able to request these medicines in the future if you need them. Take or post the paper repeat medicines ordering slip to your GP practice.

Electronic Prescription Service

Most prescriptions are now signed, sent and processed electronically.

You have two choices for how this works.

  • You can choose a pharmacy or dispenser to dispense all your prescriptions. When you get a prescription, it will be sent electronically to the dispenser you have chosen. You can collect your medicines or appliances without having to hand in a paper prescription.

    or

  • You can decide each time you are issued a prescription where you would like it to be dispensed. When you are issued a prescription, you will be given a paper copy that you can take to any pharmacy or other dispenser in England. The paper copy will contain a unique barcode that will be scanned to download your prescription from the secure NHS database.

Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD)

If you regularly get a prescription for the same medicine(s), this service is of benefit to you.

Your doctor will give your chosen pharmacy or dispenser permission to dispense a series of prescriptions for you. The number of repeat prescriptions you can get will be determined by how frequently your doctor requests that you have a medication review (usually every 12 months).

This means you won’t have to re-order from your GP practice every time you need more medicine. You can go to your pharmacy to collect your medicine when you are due for a new supply. Each time you collect, ‘Open the Bag’ and check you only have what you need- hand back anything that you don’t before you leave the pharmacy.

Golden rules of ordering

  • Only order what you need – If you don’t need the medicine please don’t order it! If you need the medicine in the future you can still request it and it will not disappear from your repeat list.

  • Check your bag of medication before you leave the pharmacy – Even if you never open them, once medicines have left the pharmacy, they cannot be recycled or used by anyone else.

Keeping well in cold weather

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The Met Office has issued a cold weather alert due to the falling temperatures this week.

There is currently a yellow warning for severe cold weather, ice and light snow across Essex. This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services.

For the very latest, visit the cold weather alert section of the Met Office website.

Keep Warm Keep Well

It's not just the icy conditions that can be treacherous during cold spells. The cold weather itself is life threatening, especially for the elderly and those with long-term health conditions.

Every year around 27% more people - the majority aged over 75 - die in the winter months compared to thet non-winter months which is why it is vital people keep warm and safe.

One of the best ways of keeping well during winter is to stay warm and follow the below top tips. Some may seem obvious, but they could help you to stay warmer and maintain good health over the coming weeks.

Heat your home well
By setting your heating to the right temperature (between 18-21ºC) you can still keep your home warm and lower your bills. If you feel cold at night, use a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but never use both together. It is especially important if you’re at home all day.

Wear a scarf when outdoors
Wrap a scarf loosely around your mouth when outdoors – add a hat and wear shoes with a good grip, too. If you have a heart or respiratory problem like asthma or COPD, stay indoors during very cold weather.

Eat well and have plenty of fluids
Food and water are vital sources of energy, and they help keep your body warm. Try to make sure you and your family have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.

Get a flu jab
You can get free flu jabs to protect against seasonal flu from your GP or local pharmacy if you are over 65, pregnant, or have a long-term condition.

Look after yourself and others
On cold days try to avoid going outside. However, if you do need to go out, remember to wrap up warm and take care on slippery surfaces. If you have an older neighbour or relative, look out for them during the winter to make sure they are safe and well.

If you're worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174 (8am-7pm every day).

If you're concerned that the person may be suffering from hypothermia, contact NHS 111.

Keep your medicine cabinet well stocked

If you’re on medication, make sure you get your repeat prescriptions in time so you don’t run out. If you haven’t already, talk to your GP practice about registering for GP online services. Simply complete the relevant paperwork and you’ll be able to request repeat prescriptions online as well as make GP appointments. Check to make sure you have enough over the counter remedies for coughs and colds so you don’t need to leave home unless you have to.

Stay active
Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so indoors – get up and stretch your legs. Even moderate exercise can help keep you warm.

For more information on staying will this winter please visit NHS Choices.