Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

DR Paul Bowen, clin­i­cal chair of NHS East­ern Cheshire CCG, and GP with McIlvride Med­i­cal Prac­tice, Poyn­ton. NEXT time you visit your GP surgery, a med­i­cal re­cep­tion­ist may well ask you to give a brief de­scrip­tion of what’s wrong.

If this hap­pens, it’s not be­cause they’re be­ing nosey – it’s that they want to di­rect you to the most ap­pro­pri­ate ser­vice.

Med­i­cal re­cep­tion­ists across our 22 GP prac­tices have been trained and given a wide range of in­for­ma­tion as part of an Ac­tive Sign­post­ing scheme launched by the CCG to en­sure you get the right help quickly when you fall ill. Our ap­proach recog­nises that many com­mon, self-lim­it­ing con­di­tions like coughs, colds and sore throats don’t need to be treated by a GP.

Self-care is of­ten a bet­ter ap­proach, us­ing reme­dies avail­able over the counter without pre­scrip­tion. There’s lots of great ad­vice on self-care on the NHS Choices web­site.

How­ever, if you’re feel­ing par­tic­u­larly un­well, it may be wise to Think Phar­macy. Your com­mu­nity phar­ma­cist is a highly-qual­i­fied health­care pro­fes­sional who can write a pre­scrip­tion for lots of medicines.

What’s more, many phar­ma­cies have a pri­vate con­sult­ing room in which you can dis­cuss your symp­toms con­fi­den­tially.

Our Ac­tive Sign­post­ing scheme is not only in­tended to help you get bet­ter fast, it’s also de­signed to ease pres­sure on our GPs. The Royal Col­lege of Gen­eral Prac­ti­tion­ers has es­tab­lished that more than 20 per cent of a GP’s time is spent treat­ing pa­tients who would have been bet­ter go­ing else­where – without need­ing to make an ap­point­ment first.

There­fore, Ac­tive Sign­post­ing will give GPs more time to help pa­tients who are se­ri­ously ill or have an ur­gent health prob­lem.

We are pro­duc­ing posters and fly­ers to tell pa­tients more about Ac­tive Sign­post­ing.

They should be in surg­eries by early au­tumn so please look out for them.

In the mean­time, why not visit our web­site at www.east­erncheshireccg.

If you se­lect “your health”, fol­lowed by “self-care”, you’ll find lots of help­ful ad­vice in­clud­ing a leaflet called “seven steps to self-care”.

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