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Lostwithiel Medical Practice Newsletter

Thursday 13th December 2012

Welcome back to the Lostwithiel Medical Practice newsletter – this is the second edition.  

With the help of the newly-formed Patient Participation Group (more news about the group coming soon) we are extending the circulation of this newsletter so that it reaches not only those patients who visit the practice but also those who do not!   We hope you will find it informative.

The Common Cold

“A cold needs the cook as much as a doctor” – Scottish Proverb

The common cold is a very common infection caused by a wide range of viruses (which is why we do not have a ‘cure’ for it).   It usually comes on quickly with sneezing, dry sore throat, runny nose and often a headache.   It usually settles within a week or two (sometimes longer).   It will usually clear up on its own as your body fights the infection.   Sometimes complications like middle-ear infections, sinus infections or, very occasionally, pneumonia may happen because the virus inflames the breathing tubes and allows other bugs to take hold.

Things that are likely to help are:   

  • decongestants – although long-term use of nasal sprays can make congestion worse when they stop being used, making you think you need more when you do not
  • anti-histamines – can help improve a runny nose and sneezing after a couple of days
  • paracetamol – will help bring your temperature down or ibuprofen can relieve headache.   If you want
  • to save a bit of cash before Christmas don’t buy the expensive brands advertised on the television; those sold in the supermarkets for around 60p are exactly the same drug!
  • supportive treatment – good diet and rest

Things which may help but there is no evidence to support this are:

  • vitamin C and zinc
  • Echinacea
  • steam inhalation

Things which will not help or may even be harmful:

  • antibiotics – these do not kill viruses and often have nasty side-effects that you could do without. Most people get better without antibiotics and we would only prescribe them if we think there is a secondary infection with a bacterium that will not clear by itself

Sometimes a cold can make existing breathing problems like asthma or COPD worse and you will need extra help;  if you think the cold has gone to your chest then we need to see you.   Cold and ‘flu germs can live on some surfaces for hours.   To protect yourself and others this winter always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze.   Bin the tissue and to kill the germs wash your hands with soap and water or use a sanitiser gel.    These are the best ways to help slow the spread of viruses

Catch it…….. bin it……..kill it!      

Triage Appointment System

The telephone triage system has now been extended to include both nurses and doctors.   Each weekday morning patients requesting an urgent on-the-day appointment will have their telephone calls returned promptly by the duty clinician.   Together you will decide and agree upon the best approach for your urgent problem.   The system for booking routine appointments in advance remains the same;  these are available throughout the working week, four weeks in advance for nurses and two weeks in advance for doctors. 


Are you looking after a family member, friend or neighbour who needs help because of illness, disability of frailty?   If so you are a “carer”.   We would like to note this within your records as our awareness will help us help you.   Please speak to reception with your details.  
In addition, specialist support is available with particular emphasis on learning disabilities, mental health, autism and young adults through the Cornwall Carers Service.   Leaflets are available in the surgery or you can telephone direct on 01872-266383 


Do you have difficulty getting to and from the surgery or the hospital for your appointments?   Did you know that the WRVS Restormel car service is a not-for-profit organisation that may be able to help for just the cost of petrol.   For more information, please ring 01726-63770, Mondays to Fridays between 10.00 am -12.30 pm and 2.00 pm – 4.00pm

MacMillian Nursing

Most people associate MacMillan nurses with palliative and end-of-life care.   However, many people with a cancer diagnosis need help and advice with a wide range of issues.   The MacMillan Cancer Support Service provides highly trained staff, equipped to deal with offering advice and support on types of cancers, symptoms and treatment options.   The service also provides information for carers as well as help and advice with financial concerns, employment issues, physical and emotional wellbeing, diet, lifestyle changes and relationship difficulties.   The MacMillan support specialists are available for patients, families and carers to discuss a variety of practical, financial and emotional aspects of cancer.   The support line is open Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 8.00pm on 0800-8080 000.    Visit the website:

Bowel cancer

Bowel cancer is this country’s second most common cancer.   If this is caught in the early stages the chances of successful treatment greatly increase.   If you have had blood in your stool or looser stool for three weeks or more you should see one of the doctors here.   Other symptoms might include a pain or lump in your stomach, feeling more tired than would be usual or losing weight without dieting.   These symptoms do not mean that you do have cancer but it would be sensible to seek appropriate advice.

There is also the national bowel cancer screening programme which is currently offered every two years to people aged between 60 and 69 years of age.   The programme is extending the service to include the 70 to 74- year age group.   You will hear direct from the screeners in due course and the test and instructions are very simple.   However, if you have already been referred to hospital for bowel investigations or have had previous bowel surgery the screening programme may not be appropriate for you.   Please contact the screeners direct on 0800 707 6060 for further advice if this is relevant to you.  

'Flu Day

A big thank you to everyone for the success of the influenza vaccination day on 2.10.12 in the community centre.   745 patients were vaccinated on the day and at the time of going to press we have achieved 70% of our “at risk” patient population.  Queuing was kept to a minimum and the tea/ coffee and biscuits a definite bonus! 

The only hold-up in our programme was the delivery of the second batch of vaccinations – now received.   The eventual percentage of “at risk patients” being either vaccinated or declining will be in the region of 85% which is a tremendous achievement at such an early stage of the winter months.   

Thank you also for completing and returning the health questionnaires which has enabled us to bring your records up-to-date for the year 2012-2013.

Practice E-mail Address: This e-mail is for general use by everyone for inquiries or requests for information.   It is also being used more frequently for prescription requests.   We are also keeping a list of patients who would like to receive the newsletter by email;  please let us know if you would like to be included.

Website:   Our current website can be found here

Comments or requests: Your comments, suggestions or requests for articles in future newsletters are all very welcome. Please write to the practice manager at the surgery.