If you can’t go then act now – GPs warn constipation is no laughing matter

GPs across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are urging people to take steps to avoid getting constipation, a significant cause of emergency hospital admissions in the county.

Over half of over 60 year olds admitted as emergencies to hospital with stomach and intestine-related problems are constipated.

It’s something that can be embarrassing and people often don’t want to discuss it. But in a majority of cases it is relatively easy to avoid.

My Diabetes sessions – 90 minutes that could change your life

New 90 minute courses aimed at educating people with type 2 diabetes are starting to have an impact across Staffordshire.

Type 2 diabetes, which can be controlled by leading a healthier lifestyle, is one of the county’s leading health challenges. Six per cent of all adults have been diagnosed with the condition, and the cost to the NHS is rising by an astonishing £10 million per year in Staffordshire alone.

The My Diabetes sessions will be held in locations across the county and will be conducted by a diabetes educator.

Over 60? Don't ignore constipation

Constipation is common and it affects people of all ages. Don’t ignore constipation, particularly if you’re getting on. If you ignore it, you could end up in hospital when it’s usually simple to treat at home.

Constipation can usually be treated at home with simple changes to your diet and lifestyle.

Don’t be caught out by the May Bank Holiday

Health leaders across South and East Staffordshire are reminding us to think about our local community pharmacists for common health conditions May Bank Holiday Monday (7 May).

With GP surgeries closed and hospitals dealing with the most urgent, life-threatening cases, pharmacies are the go-to service for help with common illnesses like coughs and sore throats, and minor emergencies such as rashes and insect bites.

Put the risk of diabetes into reverse for life not just for Diabetes Prevention Week

Around 27,500 Staffordshire patients who are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes are being urged to make changes to their lifestyle to reverse that risk during Diabetes Prevention Week.

Around six per cent of Staffordshire’s population already has a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes with the number growing year-on-year.

But many of those identified at being at risk of diabetes can take action that could mean they never become diabetic.

The estimated cost to the local NHS of treating diabetes in 2015 was £222 million. This is estimated to rise to £273 million by 2020 if trends go unaddressed, meaning that costs of treating a largely preventable condition are rising by roughly £10 million per year.

General Practice Extended Access Update

The six Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent will seek to commission extended access services directly from general practice on the basis that the services are list-based primary medical care that cannot be delivered by any other providers.

Formal proposals for delivery the services will be invited from general practice and it is anticipated that these will come from groups of practices working together at scale as localities or Federations although there will be no mandatory requirement for any GP to deliver the services. Proposals will then be assessed by a non-conflicted panel ahead of making any contract award decisions. The extended access contract(s) will not impact on existing GMS, PMS or APMS contracts and their requirements, currently in place.

Dying Matters to us: what about you?

Talking openly about death and dying

In the run up to Dying Matters Awareness Week 2018, Staffordshire’s Health and Wellbeing Board, alongside Together We're Better, have launched a campaign to encourage people to speak openly and honestly about death and dying and ensure their final wishes are known.

‘Dying Matters, Staffordshire’ aims to help people drop the euphemisms about death, and instead talk openly about what they want to happen when they die.

The campaign will end with national Dying Matters Awareness Week in mid-May.

Don’t suffer stress in silence – why April is the perfect month to take back control

April is Stress Awareness month and a good time to resolve to reduce the stresses in your life and get the help you need. Health bosses in Cannock Chase are urging anyone who thinks they might be suffering from it to speak up and get some help.

We all need some pressure in our lives. It helps us to get out of bed in the morning and get things done, but stress is different. Whether it’s caused by work or by events in your personal life, if it goes on for too long it can contribute to raised blood pressure, heart disease and stroke and encourage you into unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking and over-eating.

Research into stress suggests that there are five steps that everyone can take to develop their emotional strength, de-stress and improve mental wellbeing. These are:

  • Connect – invest time in developing your relationships with your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours
  • Be active – take a walk, go cycling or play a game of football. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your life
  • Keep learning – developing new skills can give you a sense of achievement and build confidence. Why not sign up for a course or develop a new skill?
  • Give to others – volunteering for a good cause or helping a neighbour can improve your mood, boost emotional wellbeing and help you build new social networks
  • Be mindful – be more aware of the present moment, including your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this ‘mindfulness’. It can change your feelings about life for the better and help you approach challenges positively.

There is more information about these five steps, as well as other useful information to help people combat stress, on the NHS Choices website: www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression

Dr Paddy Hannigan, a GP in Staffordshire says that Stress Awareness Month offers us all a welcome opportunity to think about our own mental wellbeing: “Stress can affect everyone but can be very different for each individual. If you feel that you might be under stress, try some of the five steps to improve your wellbeing, or you can self-refer to Starfish Health and Wellbeing on 01543 572161 if you need more support."

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