This week we bring you two Health Mat­ters col­umns, look­ing at ac­cess to GPs and blood pres­sure

Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

●● WITH Dr Paul Bowen, a GP with McIlvride Med­i­cal Prac­tice, Poyn­ton, and ex­ec­u­tive chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group (CCG). IT is of­ten only when peo­ple move into this area that GPs are given a sense of the ex­cel­lent ser­vice they de­liver – pa­tients can­not be­lieve the lev­els of ac­cess and ser­vice that are de­liv­ered by eastern Cheshire doc­tors and nurses.

While the pres­sures on gen­eral prac­tice are no dif­fer­ent in Mac­cles­field than else­where, it is widely ac­knowl­edged that the na­tion­ally re­ported queues out­side surg­eries, or three to four-week waits to see any GP do not ex­ist in lo­cal prac­tices.

Recog­nis­ing and re­ward­ing this level of care is dif­fi­cult, and pat­ting our­selves on the back at such stress­ful and over­worked times is dif­fi­cult.

How­ever the re­cent na­tional GP sur­vey placed eastern Cheshire surg­eries well above av­er­age for over­all ex­pe­ri­ence, with some surg­eries scor­ing ex­cel­lent re­sults in many ar­eas.

Another mea­sure of qual­ity is the re­sults of Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion (CQC) in­spec­tions, tak­ing place in prac­tices through­out 2015.

Ev­ery eastern Cheshire GP prac­tice that has been in­spected by the CQC this year has been rated ‘good’ or ‘out­stand­ing’ – a phe­nom­e­nal achieve­ment and great news for eastern Cheshire res­i­dents.

In­deed, Mac­cles­field’s Bro­ken Cross Surgery, which re­ceived an ‘out­stand­ing’ rat­ing, was praised by the CQC for its well-led ser­vices which are re­spon­sive to peo­ple’s needs.

The CQC re­port stated that: “The prac­tice had a clear vi­sion to de­liver high qual­ity care and pro­mote good out­comes for pa­tients.

“There was strong lead­er­ship, gov­er­nance ar­range­ments and strate­gic vi­sion within the prac­tice.”

The other eastern Cheshire prac­tice to be given an ‘out­stand­ing’ rat­ing this year was The School­house Surgery, in Dis­ley.

In­spec­tors found The School­house to be par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive in its pro­vi­sion of ef­fec­tive care, as well as be­ing well-led.

The ac­com­pa­ny­ing re­port stated: “The team worked to­gether to en­sure that when any pa­tient was dis­charged from hos­pi­tal, all sup­port ser­vices were in place and any newly pre­scribed medicines were avail­able when needed.”

Two other surg­eries be­sides Bro­ken Cross have been in­spected by the CQC this year – South Park Surgery and Park Lane House Med­i­cal Cen­tre – both re­ceiv­ing ‘good’ rat­ings.

The CQC re­ported that pa­tients at Park Lane were treated with com­pas­sion, dig­nity and re­spect and that they were in­volved in care and treat­ment de­ci­sions.

In ad­di­tion, in­spec­tors stated that South Park had ‘a good track record for main­tain­ing pa­tient safety’ and that ‘pa­tients were lis­tened to and feed­back was acted upon’.

To view the full CQC re­ports, visit and, for the na­tional GP sur­vey re­sults, visit gp-pa­

DID you know one in three adults in the UK have high blood pres­sure?

This re­sults in un­nec­es­sary deaths from strokes, heart at­tacks, heart fail­ure and kid­ney fail­ure due to poor blood pres­sure con­trol.

As such, my GP col­leagues and I are back­ing the na­tion’s big­gest blood pres­sure test­ing event, Know your Num­bers, in the hope that we can re­duce the large num­ber of pre­ventable deaths caused by high blood pres­sure.

The Blood Pres­sure UK cam­paign is tak­ing place from Septem­ber 14 to 20 and en­cour­ages the public to know their num­bers by get­ting their blood pres­sure checked for free at par­tic­i­pat­ing phar­ma­cies across eastern Cheshire.

You can also get your blood pres­sure checked as part of an NHS Health Check, which in­volves a more in depth check and needs to be booked with your prac­tice nurse in ad­vance.

Cru­cial fol­low-up guid­ance will also be pro­vided as part of the ser­vice if nec­es­sary.

A blood pres­sure of above 140/90 is con­sid­ered high in an oth­er­wise healthy adult and may need treat­ment.

If you have di­a­betes or some other med­i­cal con­di­tions your ‘tar­get’ blood pres­sure is slightly lower.

High blood pres­sure is known as the ‘silent killer’, as typ­i­cally there are no no­tice­able symp­toms, although it causes pro­gres­sive dam­age to the car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem.

Very low blood pres­sure can be just as se­ri­ous as hav­ing high blood pres­sure, as it can re­strict the blood flow to vi­tal or­gans.

Con­se­quently, I would rec­om­mend reg­u­lar blood pres­sure tests to mon­i­tor lev­els and de­tect any ab­nor­mal­i­ties.

You are more likely to be at risk of hav­ing high blood pres­sure if you: ●● Don’t eat enough fruit or veg­eta­bles ●● Have a high salt in­take ●● Don’t do suf­fi­cient ex­er­cise ●● Are over­weight ●● Drink al­co­hol ex­ces­sively ●● Smoke regularly

The Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion of­fers hints and tips on how to change your lifestyle to main­tain a healthy heart and blood pres­sure rate. Find out more at

Adapt­ing your way of life and know­ing your num­bers can re­duce your health risks sig­nif­i­cantly.

All it takes is a pain­less, free, two-minute test that could save your life!

●● Dr Paul Bowen

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