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How Can Pharmacists Support GPs to Cut Waiting Times and Reduce the Strain on the NHS?

Posted Thursday 05 July 2018 10:36 by in Primary Care Givers by Harman Bhamra

As the NHS turns 70 we should all take a moment to be thankful for the incredible work being done across the length and breadth of the country to keep the population healthy and well. Indeed, for many countries around the world the concept of such a well-developed universal healthcare system is a distant dream.

Yet there is no denying that the NHS is under great strain in 2018. And there are increasing calls for the burden of minor and more general medical appointments to be taken away from overstretched GP surgeries and placed in the hands of other primary caregivers such as pharmacists.

If more low-risk appointments were seen by pharmacists and not in the GP's surgery it is estimated that the NHS could save an extra £727m per year. Such an overhaul of the appointment and care system may seem controversial, but think tank Reform argues that models of care have changed very little since the NHS's inception. This, it says, has contributed to the increased and, in some cases unnecessary, burden on the health service and its professionals.

As it stands, appointments relating to minor ailments and problems concerning the use or side effects of certain medications currently account for around 15% of a GP's workload, a workload that is already widely believed to put them under too much pressure to be able to treat patients effectively.

It has been argued that pharmacists are the best placed to relieve GP's surgeries from the responsibility of seeing low-risk patients who present with common symptoms or side effects. Pharmacists are highly trained medical professionals and are more than equipped to deal with a broad range of low-risk conditions and general queries.

More work does, however, need to be done in raising awareness of pharmacists as primary caregivers and offering patients confidence in alternative medical professionals.

“The process of trying to steer patients away from the GP's waiting room and to their pharmacist for treatment and advice has been a slow one, but we're finally starting to see results across the board,” says Express Pharmacy’s Daman Bhamra.

“Pharmacists are in a great position to offer primary care solutions to those who need them but don't necessarily need to see a doctor. Patients would still get the same level of expert treatment and knowledgeable consultation and GPs would have more time to spend on those who really needed them and not just a medical mind to talk to.”

Reform believes that increasing the amount of appointments handled by pharmacists would not only save the NHS money, but would also increase the length of most appointments to around twenty minutes at a time. The think tank also stated in a report released back in April 2016 that making better use of clinicians outside of the GP's surgery would allow the government to scrap it's lofty target of recruiting the extra 5,000 GPs it believes is needed to allow current patient numbers to be seen.

The report was the result of interviews with 22 important stakeholders from within the NHS, the healthcare consultancy, private healthcare groups and the government. One of the other findings of Reform's findings was that pharmacists should also be relied upon to deliver ongoing support for GPs after a diagnosis and treatment plan has been established, with pharmacists delivering reviews and medication monitoring services for chronic conditions such as asthma.

“In reality, pharmacists can do a lot more than dispense your medication after you've seen your GP,” says Daman. “Pharmacists are an essential part of the care process already but we can, and should, be taking on much more of the responsibility for patients’ broader needs.”

If you require health advice or guidance, why not consult one of our qualified pharmacists over the phone on 0208 123 0703.

Comments

Peter Kay on Saturday 14 May 2016 17:19

I'm 73 and now see things as a waste of time due to this " B" ED. I am still able to heave 3x2 paving flags about but have to turn my back on my wife because I'm a failure.How can I

find a way back, any guidance much appreciated.

Reply
on Saturday 14 May 2016 17:25
Reply to Peter Kay

Dear Peter,

Thank you for reading our blog. Erectile Dysfunction is a common problem in men which can be resolved with a range of different treatments. We offer private prescriptions for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, which can be viewed on our website, under the 'Treatments' tab.

If you require any further assistance or advice from a pharmacist, please call us on 020 8123 0703.

Thank you,

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The Simple and Safe Way to Delay Your Period

Posted Thursday 28 June 2018 09:32 by in Period Delay Treatment by Tim Deakin

Period delay is a term used to describe the process of delaying your period from occurring at its usual time by using safe and effective medication. For many women, this is an attractive option when it comes to occasions like weddings, holidays and even sporting events that may otherwise fall in line with their period.

Understandably, many women are curious about the nature of period delay medication and want to know more before committing to it. Here, we’re going to tell you some of the important aspects of period delay, including how to delay period onset in the first place.

When Can You Delay Your Period?

There are no set rules for when it is appropriate to delay a period; it really depends on the personal discretion and situation of each individual woman. A period should not be delayed for a long period of time, but delaying it in the short term is perfectly common and is safe when done under the direction of a trained pharmacist. Your period can be delayed for up to two weeks using effective medication.

Some of the most common reasons why you may choose to delay your period include:

  • Going on holiday
  • Your wedding or the wedding of a friend or family member
  • Another family event
  • Your honeymoon
  • A weekend away
  • An upcoming festival
  • Going on a long haul flight
  • A sporting event, such as a marathon
  • Swimming (whether on holiday or for sport)
  • When working a particularly busy week

However, there may be other events that call for period delay. Whatever your reasons, there are effective ways to do it safely.

What Are The Benefits Of The Period Delay Pill?

Of course, the most obvious benefit to using medication to delay your period is that you obtain an increased level of control over when and where your period occurs. However, there are also several other key benefits to the period delay pill, which include:

  • Decreasing premenstrual symptoms such as mood swings and cramps, meaning you can enjoy an important event without worry.
  • Reducing painful periods, as these can be extremely debilitating – especially when trying to make the most of a holiday or partake in a sporting event.
  • Helping to treat the discomfort and pain associated with endometriosis.
  • Reducing heavy bleeding during or between periods. For women who often experience heavy flow as part of their period, this can be a concern when a big event is on the horizon.

For women in the advanced stages of breast cancer, period delay treatments have also been found to help significantly increase comfort levels.

How To Delay Your Period

period delay medicationNorethisterone to delay period

Norethisterone is a progestogen-type hormone which alters the balance of the female hormones oestrogen and progestogen. By providing this additional hormone dosage, the balance is shifted and the period is delayed until these extra hormones are removed from the body – i.e. when you stop taking the period delay medication. Your period will start within 2-4 days of stopping the treatments.

You should start taking Norethisterone tablets three days before you expect the start of your next period. Take one dose three times a day until you are ready for your period to return. You can delay your period using Norethisterone for up to two weeks.

Norethisterone side effects

Like all medications, Norethisterone may cause some mild side effects. The most common of these (thought to affect between 1 in 100 women and 1 in 1000 women) include:

  • Change in period patterns – e.g. irregular spotting, breakthrough bleeding or periods stopping altogether
  • Headaches
  • Nausea

Less common side effects include:

  • Breast soreness
  • Bloating
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Fluid retention, which may worsen pre-existing migraines
  • Jaundice
  • Epilepsy

In very rare cases it is possible for users to have an allergic reaction to Norethisterone – a reaction that may even be life-threatening. Early symptoms of an allergic reaction may include wheezing and breathing difficulties, faintness, itchy skin or a rash, and swelling of the face, tongue, feet or hands.

If you believe that you may be allergic to Norethisterone, always consult a medical professional before taking the medication. More information about the potential side effects of Norethisterone may be found in the patient information leaflet that accompanies the pack.

Norethisterone effectiveness

Norethisterone is an extremely effective form of period delay treatment. When taken correctly, this medication will delay the onset of a period within 48 hours. It is possible to experience some light bleeding whilst on the medication but most women experience no bleeding at all.

Norethisterone alternatives: taking the pill back to back

While Norethisterone is a convenient and effective period-delay treatment, some women prefer to take their combined contraceptive pill back-to-back in order to delay a period. It is important to state that not all contraceptive pills can be used in this way and you should always consult your GP or healthcare provider before running medication back to back in this way.

Unless advised otherwise by your doctor, you should avoid taking more than two packs of the contraceptive pills without taking a break, as this may lead to side effects that include unexpected vaginal bleeding, stomach pains and bloating.

Effective period delay medication like Norethisterone is available safely and speedily through Express Pharmacy. If you have any queries about period delay, don’t hesitate to contact our team by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.

Tags: Norethisterone Period Delay Women's Health

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Cystitis: Is It Time to Stop Reaching for the Cranberry Juice?

Posted Monday 25 June 2018 09:40 by in Women's Medication by Tim Deakin

Let’s take a look at what it really takes to beat urinary tract infections

Every year, an average of 4 million women in the UK suffer from cystitis. This common urinary tract infection (UTI) leads to symptoms such as bladder pain and a burning sensation when passing urine. Although it may not sound like the most debilitating of issues, cystitis can actually be incredibly uncomfortable. Worldwide it is estimated that more than 150 million people are affected every year.

Yet despite how common the condition is, information on how to accurately diagnose and treat a UTI has been limited. Misdiagnosis is common, and many women turn to household remedies like cranberry juice for results. But is this really the most effective way to beat a UTI and, if not, what should you be doing to treat cystitis for good?

Does cystitis only affect women?

Speaking about the male to female ratio of UTI patients, Professor James Malone-Lee, who runs a specialist clinic for chronic UTIs in London, says: “They are more common in women. There’s a peak when women become sexually active, and then a further increase in later life.”

In fact, statistics reveal that one third of women develop a UTI before the age of 24, and 10% do so before they turn 16. However, this doesn’t mean UTIs only affect women. Men can develop UTIs as a result of prostate problems.

Prof Malone-Lee says: “I’m a bit suspicious that UTIs get overlooked in men, across all age ranges.”

How do urinary tract infections develop?

The most common belief is that UTIs are caused by a single bug invading the bladder, although there is some challenge against this as even a healthy bladder isn’t sterile. Studies have discovered more than 450 different bacteria in a healthy bladder, compared to 600 bacteria in UTI sufferers.

There is also some evidence that an element of genetic susceptibility plays a part in UTIs, as they often run in families.

How serious is cystitis?

Typically, a short course of medication can treat cystitis effectively. However, for 20-30% of patients the effects can be more long term. Infections which are left unchecked can progress into a condition known as pyelonephritis, which requires hospital admission. Pyelonephritis is a severe urine infection involving the kidneys which can lead to sickness, high temperatures, vomiting and pain. If pyelonephritis isn’t brought under control, it can develop into septicaemia, which is life-threatening.

Does cranberry juice actually help?

For many years, cranberry juice has been the first port of call for people suffering from cystitis. The idea behind this is that proanthocyanidin – a compound found in cranberries – is able to inhibit bacterial growth in the urinary tract.

However, research from Yale University suggests that this is an urban myth. The study looked at 185 women living in nursing homes over the course of the year, and found that cranberries had no significant effect on bacteria in urine.

There is also little evidence to suggest that drinking water helps beat UTIs, despite this being a common piece of advice shared by GPs. The bacteria responsible for cystitis are often found inside the cells of bacteria or are attached to cells via a glue-like substance. This means that they can’t be washed out. Water only dilutes the urine, which can create the illusion that the patient has been cured as diagnostic tests come back negative.

What treatments are available?

So if cranberry juice isn’t effective, what should you be using instead to treat cystitis? The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is cystitis medication.

MacroBID (Nitrofurantoin) is an antibiotic medication used to treat and prevent infections of the kidneys, bladder and other parts of the urinary tract. This prolonged release capsule should be taken as a 3-day course at meal times with food, in order to provide the best chances of beating a UTI. MacroBID (Nitrofurantoin) is available from Express Pharmacy.

For effective treatment against urinary tract infections, visit Express Pharmacy. You can also contact us for help and advice by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet Live Chat service.

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5 Benefits of Exercise, Other Than Weight Loss

Posted Sunday 17 June 2018 20:45 by in Weight loss by Tim Deakin

There are plenty of reasons why we should be moving more

It’s no secret that exercise is a positive thing. We all know that working up a sweat is good for us, and that we should probably do more of it. From mobility to hormone release, keeping our bodies moving can have significant benefits, both physically and mentally.

Regular exercise can improve our blood flow, strengthen muscles and lead to healthier heart and lung function. And yet, the main motivator for exercise continues to be weight loss. As summer gets underway, many of us become motivated to try and achieve our ‘summer bodies’ and lose a few excess pounds.

But exercise must be seen as more than just a quick fix for our body goals if we’re ever going to reap the true rewards of its health benefits. A body that is aesthetically pleasing and easy on the eye is merely an indicator of the more important underlying health benefits.

Here are five incentives to get up and get moving outside of achieving your weight loss goals.

Exercise reduces your risk of serious conditions like cancer

The most important benefit of exercise is that it can improve your health in the long term. Regular exercise is a key component in reducing your risk of developing serious conditions later in life, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

In fact, figures from the NHS reveal that regular exercise can decrease your risk of developing colon cancer by up to 50%. What’s more, it is also thought to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by a fifth (20%). UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines also state that physical activity can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 40%.

Exercise improves your sex drive

It’s not just your physical health that benefits from regular exercise – your mental health can see results, too. One example of this can be seen through the sex drive, which is boosted as you exercise more regularly.

Exercise releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones which can increase your wellbeing and self-esteem, thus improving your libido. It can also improve your blood flow, even to the most sensitive parts of your body.

In fact, one study by the University of Texas found that exercise increases sex drive in pre-menopausal women, and can even help women whose drives have been lowered by antidepressants.

Exercise reduces stress

Another way that exercise can improve your mental health is by tackling stress. There are approximately 3 million people in the UK with an anxiety disorder, and around 40% of disability worldwide is due to anxiety or depression.

Although not an outright cure, exercise can help. Again, the release of endorphins are significant here. According to an online study by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than one in ten (14%) people use exercise as a way to cope with stress.

Exercise helps you sleep

Physical activity is a great way to make you feel more alert for the day ahead, but it can also help you feel more ready to rest when bedtime comes. Exercise is considered a natural way to treat conditions like insomnia, as figures suggest that those who exercise regularly experience better quality sleep at night.

In fact, a poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that exercisers sleep better than non-exercisers, and vigorous exercisers report the best quality sleep. Also, 44% of non-exercisers were found to be at moderate risk of sleep apnoea, compared to 19% of vigorous exercisers.

Exercise can help prevent back pain

More sick days are taken due to back pain than for any other health concern, costing the NHS roughly £500 million every year. But while vigorous exercise isn’t recommended without a GP’s advice if you’re already suffering from back pain, it can act as an effective preventative measure.

Even simple activities like swimming or walking can strengthen muscles and provide extra support to your spine, while popular pastimes like yoga can improve your mobility and flexibility.

There are plenty of benefits to exercise besides weight loss. Yet there are instances where individuals need additional support to achieve a healthy weight and support their long-term wellbeing goals. For safe and effective weight loss medication, contact the Express Pharmacy team on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet Live Chat service.

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Your Questions About Period Delay, Answered

Posted Monday 11 June 2018 11:44 by in Period Delay Treatment by Tim Deakin

It’s that time of year again: when many of us are rushing to get our summer holidays booked. But for a large number of women, you get all booked up only to realise that you’re going to be on your period while you’re away. While not unmanageable, many women would clearly rather not experience their usual symptoms while they are abroad. Suffering from issues such as tiredness, cramps and low mood can all detract from an otherwise enjoyable holiday.

It is for this reason that many women opt to delay the onset of their period when they head on holiday. A reliable and safe medication such as Norethisterone means that you don’t have to worry about going through your period during your travels.

However, if you’re considering delaying your period for your holiday, you probably have some questions. Luckily, we have the answers.

How long can you delay your period for?

You will need to start taking your period delay medication three times a day from three days before your period is due. You can take them three times a day for up to 20 days. This means that you can delay your period for up to 17 days, which is plenty of time to cover a week- or two-week-long holiday.

How does period delay medication work?

Norethisterone is a leading medication for period delay, and contains a synthetic version of the female hormone progesterone. The tablets work in the same way progesterone works: preventing the lining of the womb from shedding as it does during your period. Once you stop using Norethisterone, you will typically get your period as normal within two or three days.

Does period delay medication also act as a contraceptive?

One important distinction to be aware of is that Norethisterone is not a contraceptive medication. So while it will work to delay your period, it will not prevent you from getting pregnant while you’re away. This means you’ll need to use contraception while taking them in order to avoid pregnancy.

Is period delay only for going on holiday?

Period delay medication is not only used by women who are heading off on holiday. There are plenty of other circumstances in which a woman may wish to delay her period. One common example is among women who play competitive sports, as they may want to avoid symptoms like cramps and fatigue before an important race or game. Period delay medication like norethisterone can also be used by women in the build up to an important event like an exam, a job interview or a family event, when you might not want to be distracted by period-related symptoms. In short, you can use Norethisterone to delay your period safely at a time to suit you.

What if I am already taking contraceptive medication?

If you are currently taking the contraceptive pill, you may want to consult your GP before taking period delay medication. However, if you’re taking a contraceptive pill with a 7-day break, you can normally skip your 7-day gap and continue straight onto your next pill packet to miss your period while maintaining full contraceptive cover. In any situation, it’s important to read the Patient Information Leaflet contained in the medication packaging.

Is there a way to delay your period for long periods of time?

Period delay medication is not designed to be used long term, but rather for short term period delay for a matter of days or weeks. If you’re looking for something more long term, there are contraceptive options available, as well as options like hormonal coils which have been shown to help. It’s always best to consult your GP first.

Norethisterone is available from Express Pharmacy as a safe and effective period delay medication. For further information, get in touch with our expert pharmacists today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet online Live Chat service.

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