Stroke Awareness Month, run by the National Stroke Association, is all about wearing purple to raise awareness of strokes and the impact they have.
A stroke is an attack on the brain which happens when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, causing death of that part of the brain. The effects of a stroke vary depending on which part of the brain is affected and how severe the stroke is.
If you suspect you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
Recognising the signs of a stroke
The signs and symptoms of a stroke vary from person to person but usually begin suddenly.
The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST:
Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.
Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakened or numbness in one arm.
Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
Time – its time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
It’s important for everyone to be aware of these signs and symptoms, particularly if you live with or care for a person who is in a high-risk group, such as someone who is elderly or has diabetes or high blood pressure.
More information can be found at
Please be aware that GP Practices will be closed for the May Bank Holiday on Monday 3rd May and the Spring Bank Holiday on Monday 31st May.
If you need medical advice during this period you can:
Visit your pharmacy – Your local pharmacy can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints. Visit nhs.uk to find a pharmacy open near you.
Use NHS 111 – If you need urgent medical advice but your condition is not life threatening. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and you can access either online or by calling 111 from your landline or mobile (all calls are free).
Dial 999 – for a genuine medical emergency including; loss of consciousness, acute confused state and fits that are not stopping, persistent and/or severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding that cannot be stopped dial 999.
New guidance has been issued for the use of the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
This follows further reviews by the independent regulator, the MHRA, and the Commission for Human Medicines, of a very small number of people in the UK who have developed a rare blood-clotting condition since having the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
The MHRA and Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations have emphasised that the risk of this condition is extremely small and that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people. They have recommended that:
· Everyone who has had the AstraZeneca vaccine should still have a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, irrespective of age, unless they have had a blood clot or have an existing risk of thrombosis (blood clotting)
· People aged 30 and over or who have a health condition that puts them at higher risk of severe Covid-19 disease should still be offered the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. The benefits in protecting them against the serious consequences of COVID-19 outweigh any risk of this rare condition.
· People aged 18-29 who do not have a health condition that puts them at higher risk of severe Covid-19 disease will be offered an alternative Covid-19 vaccine where available. (This has been recommended as a precaution as people under 30 are at less risk from Covid-19 and not because they are considered to be at particular risk of developing the rare blood clot.)
· People under 30 can still choose to have the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine if this will mean they can be protected more quickly and they have been made aware of the guidance.
Please see the leaflet below that has been produced by Public Health England and the NHS to answer any questions you may have.
April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Bowel Cancer is the second biggest UK’s killer cancer but that doesn’t need to be the case as it is treatable and curable, especially when diagnosed at an early stage.
Symptoms can include:
There are several possible causes of bleeding from your bottom or blood in your bowel movements (poo). Bright red blood may come from swollen blood vessels (haemorrhoids or piles) in your back passage. It may also be caused by bowel cancer. Dark red or black blood may come from your bowel or stomach. Tell your doctor about any bleeding so they can find out what is causing it.
Tell your GP if you have noticed any persistent and unexplained changes in your bowel habit, especially if you also have bleeding from your back passage. You may have looser poo and you may need to poo more often than normal. Or you may feel as though you’re not going to the toilet often enough or you might not feel as though you’re not fully emptying your bowels.
This is less common than some of the other symptoms. Speak to your GP if you have lost weight and you don’t know why. You may not feel like eating if you feel sick, bloated or if you just don’t feel hungry.
Bowel cancer may lead to a lack of iron in the body, which can cause anaemia (lack of red blood cells). If you have anaemia, you are likely to feel very tired and your skin may look pale.
You may have pain or a lump in your stomach area (abdomen) or back passage. See your GP if these symptoms don’t go away or if they’re affecting how you sleep or eat.
Most people with these symptoms don’t have bowel cancer, there are many other health problems that can cause similar symptoms such as piles, constipation, anal fissures or IBS.
If you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them – book an appointment with your GP.
For more information and advice visit Bowel Cancer UK
A bit of stress is normal and can help push you to do something new or challenging, but too much stress can take its toll.
Lots of things in life can cause stress such as work, relationships, money and sometimes these kinds of stresses can affect how you feel, think and behave. It can have an effect on your sleep, your mood and even your general health.
This weeks aim is to encourage us all to take stock of how we feel and make changes to our lifestyle to help reduce stress levels. For many, self-help will vastly reduce our stresses, but others may need professional help.
Below are several self-help tips you can try to combat stress:
Get Active – Being physically active releases feelgood hormones called endorphins which can help you sleep and feel better.
Talk – Spend some time with friends and family and relax. You might even want to tell them how you’re feeling, and they may offer some practical advice.
Take Control – Try and find a solution to the problem.
Challenge Yourself – Set yourself a new challenge or goal such as walking 10,000 steps a day or learning something new.
Take some time for yourself – Put some time aside to do the things that make you feel good, whether its going for a walk or simply having a relaxing bath.
Write it down – Try writing down your worries. This process can help clear your mind and ease your tension.
If self-help isn’t working for you and you find that stress is interfering with your daily life, then talk to your GP.
Alrewas surgery is participating in the national Covid Vaccination programme.
Covid vaccination appointments are by invitation ONLY and patients will get their invitation either via NHS letter sent directly to you or via contact from the surgery (text message with link or a call from a member of the surgery team).
You can use either method. If you get a letter or a text, please do not wait and act on it as soon as possible. This is because vaccines deliveries are allocated nationally and timescales for deliveries vary. All vaccinations have to be given to patients following the strict guidance from the government. The priority order can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-care-home-and-healthcare-settings-posters/covid-19-vaccination-first-phase-priority-groups
The surgery link is for bookings at Pirelli Stadium or Uttoxeter Racecourse. We are not able to book appointments at Whitemoor Lakes or any of the other centres.
If you are listed as housebound on our records, the surgery will contact you to book your vaccination at your home. If we have given you your first vaccination, we will invite you to your second within 12 weeks. If you have had your first vaccination elsewhere, you should have your second at the same location unless there are extenuating circumstances (e.g. you have moved a significant distance or have become housebound during the 12 weeks)
Patients can also book online via the NHS Covid vaccination site if they are eligible. Book here.
Please do not call to ask surgery staff to book you for a Covid appointment nor ask when you are likely to be invited. We will contact you when it is your turn. Many Thanks.
NHS Blood and Transplant are leading an urgent programme to enable a UK trial that could produce vital treatment for Covid-19 and help save more lives.
This treatment requires plasma donations from patients who have had COVID-19 and are now recovering. NHS Blood and Transplant need to collect high titre plasma from willing donors to see if this might benefit when used early on in a patient’s illness, before hospitalisation and are in particular need of recovering male patients aged 18 – 65 years to take part.
To take part in this vital programme, you can call: 0300 123 2323 or visit https://www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/covid-19-research/plasma-donors/who-can-donate-plasma/.
As you find yourself recovering from COVID-19 you may still be coming to terms with the impact the virus has had on both your body and mind.
These changes should get better over time, some may take longer than others, but there are things you can do to help.
Your COVID Recovery helps you to understand what has happened and what you might expect as part of your recovery. Find out more information at www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk
What has changed? Government guidance:
1. Is it really safe to stop shielding?
We have been clear that each step towards relaxing the shielding guidance should be taken carefully. People classed as clinically extremely vulnerable are still at risk of severe illness if they catch Coronavirus and should continue to take precautions, but the risk of catching Coronavirus is now sufficiently low, the Government believe that the time is now right to further relax the advice. The latest epidemiological data from the ONS COVID-19 Infection Survey shows that the chances of encountering Coronavirus in the community have continued to decline. Four weeks ago, on average only one person in 500 had the virus. Last week it was less than one in 1700. In addition, a test and trace system is now in place, including within schools, and there are robust measures in place to manage potential areas of higher risk.
2. Can I keep shielding if I want to?
The guidance for those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable continues to be advisory, and we have no plans to enforce it, so you can continue shielding if you want to. However, centrally provided food boxes and the Medicines Delivery Service will only be available while the advice is to shield, which is currently until the end of July.
Beyond July, NHS Volunteer Responders can continue to help with collecting food shopping and medicines deliveries. Simply call NHS Volunteer Responders on 0808 196 3646 (8 am to 8pm) to access this support.
3. Can I go to all my hospital appointments now?
The NHS is preparing to gradually increase some important face-to-face services, but only where this can be done safely. Hospitals and other health facilities have been asked to put extra planning and protection in place for people who are at highest risk from Covid-19. These measures should be discussed with you in advance.
Where possible, appointments will be offered using remote services such as a video or phone consultation. If you do need to attend hospital for planned (non-emergency) care, you will be asked to take some steps to ensure you can get the care you need in an environment that keeps you safe, as well as staff and other patients.
• Admissions (including day surgery): if you are being admitted to hospital, you and any members of your household will be asked to isolate at home for 14 days prior. Where possible, you may be asked to complete a test within 72 hours before going to hospital. If you are unable to isolate effectively or be tested before coming to hospital, your admission may be rescheduled. This will be determined by your care team using clinical judgement and in consultation with you. Admissions teams will give you all the information you need when booking you.
• Outpatient appointments: you should only attend your outpatient appointment if you have no symptoms of Coronavirus. While at the hospital/health facility, it is important that you comply with normal social distancing requirements.
4. Can I return to work?
Until the end of July, if you have been able to work at home, you should continue to do so. At this time, we do not advise clinically extremely vulnerable individuals to attend their place of work (workplace/’onsite’) if this requires them to leave their home. This guidance remains advisory.
From 1 August the Government is planning to further relax advice to those shielding, bringing it in line with the advice to the clinically vulnerable group. This means that if they are unable to work from home but can work on site, they should do so, provided the business is COVID-safe.
5. What if I don’t want to return to work?
You should look to come to an agreement with your employer and understand their specific policies around health and safety and workplace attendance, especially in relation to COVID-19.
If you have concerns about your health and safety at work, you can raise them with any union safety representatives, or ultimately with the organisation responsibility for enforcement in your workplace, either the Health and Safety Executive or your local authority.
You can get advice on your specific situation and your employment rights by visiting the Acas website https://www.acas.org.uk/contact or calling the Acas helpline, 0300 123 1100.
6. I still need help with my food shopping?
Those in receipt of centrally provided food boxes, who continue to need help, will receive this support while they are advised to shield, until the end of July. This will give those shielding the time to adapt to advice that visiting shops, including supermarkets, is likely to be as safe as when they stopped these usual daily activities, provided they follow social distancing advice.
Beyond July, NHS Volunteer Responders can continue to help with collecting food shopping. Simply call NHS Volunteer Responders on 0808 196 3646 (8 am to 8pm) to access this support.
The Government also continues to support the use of priority delivery slots to help the clinically most vulnerable where possible. Priority delivery slots are at the discretion of supermarkets, but we can confirm that seven supermarkets have given access to priority supermarket delivery slots that will continue beyond the end of July for those already signed up for support.
7. Can my children go back to school?
From 1 August the Government is planning to further relax advice to those shielding, bringing it in line with the advice to the clinically vulnerable group. This means that children can return to school/nursey. Where possible children should maintain social distancing and try and practise good, frequent hand washing. The latest advice can be found on GOV.UK.
8. When might you bring shielding back?
The latest scientific evidence shows that the chances of encountering Coronavirus in the community have continued to decline. The Government regularly monitors this position and if the rates of infection in the community rise, then it may be necessary to advise that more restrictive measures should be taken.
9. What is the guidance for the clinically vulnerable?
Public safety throughout this period is the Government’s top priority – this includes keeping safe society’s most vulnerable. We advise those who are clinically vulnerable to follow the Staying Alert and Safe social distancing guidance available on the gov.uk website. The advice is to stay at home as much as possible and, if you do go out, take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household or support bubble. By this we mean always staying 2m apart from others outside your household or support bubble, avoiding crowds, and keeping your hands and face as clean as possible.
10. Is the letter I’ve received real, telling me that I don’t need to shield anymore?
The letter you have received is from Government, signed by Matt Hancock and Robert Jenrick. This letter will have arrived between 24 and 26 June. You can find a copy of the letter online at gov.uk.
11. Where can I find accessible or alternative formats of my shielding letter?
Translated, BSL and easy read versions of the letter can soon be found at gov.uk. If a patient is blind or partially sighted they can access audio or braille formats by calling the RNIB helpline at 0303 123 9999.