Bishopton Medical PracticeGreenock RoadBishopton, PA7 5AWTel: 01505 863223
Every year, millions of us visit our GP with minor health problems that can be easily resolved without a doctor's appointment.
It is estimated that every year, 50 million visits to the GP are made for minor ailments such as coughs and colds, mild eczema, and athlete's foot. By visiting your pharmacy instead, you could save yourself time and trouble.
Keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet at home can help you treat many minor ailments. Colds, coughs, indigestion and many other minor complaints can all be treated with medicines that are available over the counter.
Your pharmacist can advise on what you might find useful to keep in your medicine cabinet. Always follow the instructions on the medicine label and consult your doctor if the illness continues or becomes more severe.
Pharmacists offer professional free health advice at any time - you don't need an appointment. From coughs and colds to aches and pains, they can give you expert help on everyday illnesses. They can answer questions about prescribed and over-the-counter medicines. Your local Pharmacist can also advise on healthy eating.
Pharmacists can also advise on health eating, obesity and giving up smoking. Some pharmacists have private areas where you can talk in confidence. They may suggest you visit your GP for more serious symptoms. It is possible to purchase many medicines from the chemist without a prescription. Watch this short video on how you can get the most out of your local pharmacy
NHS Walk-In Centres offer convenient access to a range of NHS services for patients based in England only. You can receive treatment for many ailments including:
NHS Walk In Centres treat around 3m patients a year and have proved to be a successful complementary service to traditional GP and A&E services. Some centres offer access to doctors as well as nurses. However, they are not designed for treating long-term conditions or immediately life-threatening problems.
Major A&E departments assess and treat patients who have serious injuries or illnesses. Generally, you should visit A&E or call 999 for emergencies, such as:
If you're injured or seriously ill, you should go, or be taken, to A&E. If an ambulance is needed you can call 999, the emergency phone number in the UK. You can also dial 112, which is the equivalent for the European Union.
Major A&E departments offer access 365 days a year and usually open 24 hours a day. Be aware that not all hospitals have an A&E department.
There is good online guidance from the NHS on how to learn to take pills. Not all medication is available in liquid form and liquids are often in short supply or significantly more expensive than their capsule or tablet forms. Unfortunately for patients who can swallow food, this cost is often not justifiable by health boards and GP practices.
Guidance can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/problems-swallowing-pills/
There is also very good guidance for teaching children to swallow pills on a printable leaflet here: http://www.ruh.nhs.uk/patients/services/clinical_depts/paediatrics/documents/patient_info/PAE043_How_to_swallow_tablets.pdf
Acute diarrhoea is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection and affects almost everyone from time to time. A common cause in both children and adults is gastroenteritis, an infection of the bowel lining; this is usually viral and tends to go away on its own in about 3-5 days. You will usually not need to see a doctor unless you havd underlying health problems such as kidney problems or heart problems or diabetes.
Bouts of diarrhoea in adults may also be brought on by anxiety or drinking too much coffee or alcohol. Diarrhoea may also be a side effect of a medication
NHS Choices Symptoms, causes, treatment and information
Macmillan Cancer Support Diarrhoea as a result of cancer treatments
To save them on your computer, right-click on any of the links below and then click 'Save Target As..." . Click on any of the links below to play the audio files:
Burns - Explains the immediate treatment for burns and scalds.
Fits - How to deal with fits (convulsions/seizures) in adults and young children.
Wounds - Immediate actions for wounds, bleeding, and bleeding associated with fractures.
Unconscious patient who is breathing - How to deal with an unrousable patient who IS breathing (includes recovery position)
CPR for adults - Adults who have collapsed, unrousable and NOT breathing.
CPR for babies - Babies who are unrousable and NOT breathing.
Collapsed patient in detail - Explains the complete scenario including checks for breathing, circulation, etc.
These files have been prepared by Sussex Ambulance Service and comply with European Resuscitation Council Guidelines.
British Red Cross - First Aid Tips Simple, straightforward and easy to understand first aid tips
St Johns AmbulanceSt John Ambulance believes that everyone should learn at least the basic first aid techniques.
These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
A cold is a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It can cause nasal stuffiness, a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat and a cough, which may be productive. Usually it's a self-limiting infection – this means it gets better by itself without the need for treatment. Additionally antibiotics have absolutely no effect on viral illnesses and this is why doctors are less likely to prescribe them for these type of symptoms.
On average, adults have two to five colds each year and school-age children can have up to eight colds a year. Adults who come into contact with children tend to get more colds. This is because children usually carry more of the virus, for longer. Babies in their first year of life tend to get 12-18 viral infections and then 6-12 per year between the ages of 2-5. Viral infections tend to last 2-3 weeks each time in children.
In the UK, you’re more likely to get a cold during the winter months although the reasons why aren’t fully understood at present.
For most people, a cold will get better on its own within a week of the symptoms starting without any specific treatment. However, there are treatments that can help to ease your symptoms and make you feel more comfortable. These are available from your pharmacy, which means that you can treat yourself, rather than needing to see your GP.
There is no cure for colds. Antibiotics, which treat infections caused by bacteria, don't work on cold viruses.
There are a number of self-help measures that may help to ease the symptoms of a cold.
You should try to make sure you get enough rest if you have a cold. It’s not usually necessary to stay off work or school.
Colds & Flu A factsheet on the causes, symptoms, treatment & prevention of colds & the flu
NHS Choices - is it the common cold or the flu? Colds and flu can share some of the same symptoms (sneezing, coughing, sore throat) but are caused by different viruses, and flu can be much more serious. Find out
Factsheet - Common ColdInformation about the diagnosis, treatment and symptoms of the common cold
The signs to look out for for adults and children with a possible tonsillitis which may require antibiotic treatment are:
If you have 3 or more of these symptoms it would be worth seeing a GP to discuss possible antibiotic treatment. This is not given to take the tonsillitis away (it actually only improves things for 1 in 18 people and shortens the illness by about 24 hours). Antibiotics in tonsillitis are given to reduce the chance of having a tonsillar abscess which can require further treatment.
For sinusitis, which tends to present as a cold with added facial pains around the nose area, a nasal spray is usually the best initial treatment, since antibiotics are usually only used in sinusitis that fails to improve with nasal sprays.
A nasal spray can be easily obtained from most pharmacies under the minor ailments scheme without the need for a prescription from a doctor.
Nasal sprays should be used correctly to be most effective; they should be pointed backwards towards the ear, not upwards, for maximum effect, and the nose should be cleared of mucus before use.
Another useful treatment option for sinusitis or recurrent nasal congestion in both children and adults is sinus rinsing. Sinus rinse kits such as the Neilmed Kit are available online or over the counter and can provide good symptomatic relief. A video detailing how these work is available here:
The symptoms of hay fever include itchy or irritated red eyes, runny nose, tickly throat and sometimes a cough.
The best initial treatments are antihistamines. A range of these are most easily available from the pharmacy without prescription or via the minor ailments scheme.
Nasal sprays and eye drops can also help and can also be obtained directly from the pharmacy without the need for a doctor's appointment.
Local honey (this must be produced in the local area) can also be of use in managing hay fever.
Should initial treatments fail please consult one of the doctors at the practice. This can usually be most quickly and easily achieved by organising a telephone appointment.
Conjunctivitis is a mild irritation or inflammation surrounding the eye itself. It usually results in a gritty, red, itchy eye which may be watery and sometimes has some discharge.
The best immediate treatment is to bathe the eyes frequently in a very weak soap solution; this helps clear away any eyelid debris which can trap infections and can irritate the eye.
Put ONE DROP of baby shampoo or similar into a small glass and then fill this with boiling water. WAIT FOR THIS TO COOL TO ROOM TEMPERATURE BEFORE USING. Then, at least 3-4 times a day, use this and a cotton wool ball to swipe the affected eye(s) from the nose, towards the ear. This should improve things in a few days but if it is not helping then please do consult a nurse at the practice.
CHILDREN DO NOT REQUIRE SCHOOL OR NURSERY EXCLUSION FOR CONJUNCTIVITIS (unless they are otherwise unwell with a different illness at the same time).
You can self refer to podiatry via the booking line for simple foot problems such as ingrowing toenails and nail bed infections, as well as some foot problems like persistent foot pains and over-riding toes. They can be reached at 0141 347 8909 or by e-mailing AHP.email@example.com
There are many causes for abnormal looking nails. If you suspect that you have a nail infection, the best course of action is to inform our reception staff. A doctor will then request a sample of nail clippings. The more nail sample that can be sent from the affected nails, the better.
If testing shows that you do have a fungal nail infection you can be treated with a course of tablets for 3-6 months. It is not necessary to see a GP regarding fungal nail infections.
Infections around the nail fold or cuticle (the part where the skin of your finger or toe overlaps the nail) do not usually respond to antibiotics very well. Soaking the affected finger or toe in warm soapy water and gently pulling back on the cuticle away from the nail in order to release the infection is the most effective way of treating these yourself. Should this fail after one week it may be worth consulting a doctor for review, even though the advice may not change.
Warts are caused by a virus that lives on the skin; as with all viral infections, it is not possible to treat these with antibiotics. Several over the counter methods of treatment are available. Aerosol sprays to freeze warts, and gels or salicylic acid treatments are all equally effective. Verrucas on the feet can be particularly resistant to treatment.
Over the counter treatments such as freeze sprays are just as effective if used as per the instructions as anything a GP can offer. We would encourage patients to visit the pharmacy regarding wart management.
Irritable bowel syndrome has had recent advances and there are apps that can help with specialised diets. One of the most useful of these is the FODMAP diet which can be accessed via an app - for example the Android FODMAP App and iOS FODMAP App. This can also often be managed using buscopan which is available over the counter via a pharmacy.
Haemorrhoids or piles are enlarged veins around the back passage that can sometimes cause fresh red bleeding on wiping. They tend to be caused by increased pressure in the veins which is often caused by mild constipation further around the bowel. If you have a change to your bowel motions such as persistently looser motions then you need to see a doctor. Haemorrhoids can be treated over the counter by increasing your fluid intake, using mild laxatives such as lactulose or fybogel, and trying some haemorrhoid cream or suppositories. If this doesn't work it is still worth seeing a doctor as there are other things we can offer.
Skin tags are caused mainly by friction in an area and are very common. The easiest way to deal with these is to wait until there is a "stalk" to them and tie 4-5 loops of sewing thread around the base. This cuts off the blood supply and if the thread is left on they will eventually painlessly drop off.
Molluscum contagiosum are small 1-2mm round spots that have whiteish heads and dimples in the centre. They are very common in children and are caused by a virus which infects the skin. Antibiotics unfortunately do not help since this is a viral infection. They last for 2-3 years on average and are spread by scratching and contact. The best management is to leave them alone since treatments such as freezing them do carry a risk of scarring.
If you have back pain with any warning signs such as a sudden change to your bladder or bowels or any weakness, numbness or tingling, it is essential to speak to a doctor urgently.
Most sprains and strains and joint pains are best treated with regular painkillers which are available over the counter and physiotherapy exercises. Regular paracetamol and ibuprofen (provided that this does not cause stomach upset or breathing problems) are useful initial painkillers for most bone and joint pains.
Physiotherapy exercises should be completed 2-3 times daily and can easily be accessed via Physioadvisor which also has a free smartphone app - www.physioadvisor.com
The NHS MSK Physio Help App is also available free on the iTunes store:
NHS MSK iPhone App NHS MSK Android App
The NHS inform Physiotherapy website is available here:
Printable exercise advice leaflets are available via the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists at the link below.
Foot pain, Carpal tunnel syndrome, Knee pain, Neck pain, Shoulder pain, Tennis Elbow, Back Pain, Achilles Tendinitis
Self-referral to physiotherapy is available without needing to see a GP via the printable self referral form below. These can be handed in at any of the Glasgow hospitals including the RAH, or at the new Renfrew Health Centre
Many causes of vertigo type symptoms are simply a viral infection and can be improved using Brandt-Darroff exercises. For further information regarding this please see the leaflet below.
There are free pain education sessions available through the NHS for anyone who has had pain for longer than 12 weeks. These can give you a better understanding of your pain and how to manage your condition more effectively in the long term. They are run by a trainer who has chronic pain themselves, a volunteer, and a small group of patients are present.
To book them, call 0300 323 9966 or text 07548 229 958 (for a call back).
The practice is able to suggest many accredited and verified websites which are very effective in helping people overcome periods of stress or depression if used regularly (initially every 2-3 days).
These websites are FREE and listed below. If you do have severe symptoms (for example thoughts that life isn't worth living), or should you wish to see a doctor regarding this then please make an appointment.
Erskine Crisis Counselling: 0141 8128474
Recovery Across Mental Health (RAMH): 0800 221 8929 or www.ramh.org
Emergency out of hours crisis team: 0845 650 1730
Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87
www.moodgym.anu.edu.au - now a paid service
There are also very useful and popular FREE apps available for your smartphone which can help with depression and anxiety on a regular basis. Examples of such apps include:
Stop Breathe and Think (iphone) / Stop Breathe and Think (android) / http://stopbreathethink.org/
Self Help for Anxiety Management app (iphone) / Self Help for Anxiety Management (android)
the mindfulness training app should you wish to try these.
Calm Harm app (helps stop self harm)
For bereavement specific resources a very helpful charity is Cruse Scotland who do counselling and specific bereavement related reading materials; they are also available over the telephone on 0845 600 2227.
There is also online information available via NHS Inform and NHS GG&C
For younger people coping with bereavement, Hope Again is also a very useful website.
For younger people dealing with low mood, the Safe spot app is very good and can be obtained for iphone and android at http://safespot.org.uk/
The Wynd Centre in Paisley are helpful in organising counselling for teenagers and adolescents suffering from low mood or stress. They can be contacted on 0141 887 4647 or via
The Wynd Centre on Facebook
There is lots of good advice online regarding sleep hygiene to improve your sleep without the use of medication which is frequently addictive and can be less effective than routine modification.
The leaflets and resources below contain information on how you can improve your sleep:
Sleep Hygiene Do's and Don'ts
Sleep hygiene how-to
Sleeping Problems NHS
Moodjuice Scottish Sleep Advice
There are many reasons why GPs are unable to routinely prescribe medication for fear of flying - mainly because of the increased risks that these medications cause. For example, diazepam is directly contraindicated for phobias as it can significantly worsen your phobia of flying. It can also significantly increase the risks of potentially harmful conditions such as DVT.
There are several courses available online for fear of flying - one that comes highly recommended is the easyjet fearless flyer course.
Their FREE PDF can be downloaded HERE
You can also find out about face to face courses at https://fearlessflyer.easyjet.com/ but you do have to pay for these.
Another FREE booklet can be downloaded via Flying Without Fear
There is very useful and accurate guidance on how to judge when your child is unwell and required the attention of a doctor, you can use this to assess your own child in much the same way as your doctor will assess young children in the surgery.
This is available for free at http://www.whenshouldiworry.com
The NHS Child Health App is available here for iPhone and Android
Minor Head Injury Advice is available at NHS Choices Head Injury Advice
Fever advice from http://www.kevinmd.com/
Exclusion for five days:
German measles (rubella):
Exclusion until condition has settled for 24 hours
Exclusion until lesions crusted or healed
Exclusion from school until treated
With respect to hepatitis A:
With respect to gastroenteritis:
Conditions where there is no recommended period to be kept away from school (once the child is well):
infected children should be kept away from school while they are unwell. The child should not be kept away from school till the last blister disappears, providing the child is well (5).
If you have had a positive pregnancy test and are wishing to register with a midwife for routine ante-natal care then this is now run via a self-referral service.
The central ante-natal booking line can be contacted via telephone on 0141 2324005.
If you have had any problems in early pregnancy (before your booking visit) such as bleeding, then it is advisable to contact the early pregnancy assessment service.
The early pregnancy assessment unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital can be contacted on 0141 3146953.
Pregnant patients who require physiotherapy should contact maternity physio directly themselves. The current number is 0141 3146765 (Royal Alexandra Hospital). This number should also be in the pack that the patient is given at their booking visit.
Sexual health services (for example coil and implant insertion and changes, and sexual health checks) are available via the Sandyford Institute; the closest one is in Paisley and appointments are available on a self referral basis over the telephone on 0141 211 8130 (or 0141 314 9402).
The BUMPS website provides excellent information regarding the safety and best use of medications in pregnancy (and breastfeeding) and is a very good NHS resource for women considering pregnancy or who are newly pregnant. It can also be found at http://www.medicinesinpregnancy.org
Medication is available to delay periods for holidays but if this is not covered as a medical condition and is for convenience, GPs are currently unable to offer NHS prescriptions. Our practice policy is to direct patients wishing to delay their period for a holiday to their local pharmacy as most Boots, Superdrug and Lloyds pharmacy branches now offer this service directly. If your periods have been worsening over a few months then we would recommend that you book a routine GP appointment once you are back from your holiday. Medication to delay a period for a holiday will no longer routinely be offered by the practice.
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