Stop smoking and good things happen
Stoptober is back, calling on smokers in England to join the 2.5 million others who have made a quit attempt with the campaign since it first launched. Over 5 million adults in England still smoke, and it remains the biggest behavioural cause of preventable illness and death, with 64,000 deaths a year.
This year's Stoptober mass quit attempt is as important as ever, with quitting remaining one of the best things a smoker can do for their health. That’s why this year’s Stoptober campaign is encouraging smokers to join the thousands of others who are committing to quitting for the month of October – quit smoking for 28 days and you’re five times more likely to quit for good. When you stop smoking good things start to happen - quitting will allow you to start moving better, breathe more easily and give you more money to spend.
Stoptober offers a range of free quitting tools including: the NHS Quit Smoking app, Facebook messenger bot, Stoptober Facebook online communities, daily emails and SMS, and an online Personal Quit Plan tool. It provides information and advice on proven quitting methods: the range of stop smoking aids, including further information on how vaping can help you quit, and expert support from local Stop Smoking Services. Just search ‘Stoptober’ for more information or visit the Better Health Quit Smoking Website.
Coping with Fireworks
We know many of our Plymouth Locals are eagerly anticipating the upcoming British Firework Championships on the 16th and 17th August 2023. However, while fireworks bring excitement to many, they can also be a source of distress for some individuals, such as veterans, people with sensory processing disorders, and those with autism, as well as people affected by community trauma.
To ensure that everyone can enjoy the event in a way that works for them, we've compiled a list of tips to help manage through the fireworks display.
Tips for coping with Fireworks:
- Be Prepared: Before the fireworks commence at 21:30, take some time to plan your evening. Decide whether you want to watch the fireworks, make alternate plans, or stay comfortably at home. Prioritise your comfort and well-being.
- Identify triggers and Use Sensory Aids: For those who find the bright lights, strong smells, or loud sounds of fireworks overwhelming, consider using sensory aids. Ear defenders, essential oils, or soothing music can provide a sense of comfort and help manage sensory triggers.
- It's good to talk: If you are finding fireworks hard to deal with tell someone close to you and make sure they know how you would like them to support you if you need them.
- Grounding yourself: Identify some things you see around you, focusing on how they look, smell, feel, sound or taste. This can help bring you into the present moment, especially if you're feeling overwhelmed or experiencing vivid memories.
- Breathe: If fireworks are causing anxiety, use your breath to calm your body. Breathe at a pace that feels comfortable and ensure that your out-breaths are long and slow to help calm you down and reduce your anxiety.
- Distractions: Some people find the best way to manage is to provide a distraction. If you don’t want to go outside, try playing predictable music, a favourite TV show or even computer game that will cover the sound.
- Prepare for Road Closures: Many roads in Plymouth close early to prepare for the event. Make sure you have a safe route to wherever you would like to be in plenty of time, and if you choose to attend the event make sure you are able to leave if you need to.
- Second Hand Stress: It can be hard to remain calm if people around you are anxious too, this also goes for pets. If your furry family members are prone to anxiety because of fireworks, make sure you have plans to support them too, so you don’t have surprise loud noises or extra worries.
- Watch Online: If you'd like to be part of the experience without attending in person, the firework shows are often live-streamed online, allowing you to enjoy the event from the comfort of your own home.
We hope these tips help you make the most of the upcoming British Fireworks Championships while prioritising your comfort and wellbeing.
Please note that we are not affiliated with the British Firework Championships. For more about the event please visit: www.britishfireworks.co.uk.
The Welcome Wagon
A warm welcome to our new starters getting settled into the reception team! We’re in the process of setting up and training our newest team members so please bear with us while we get them up to speed.
We also have new additions to the clinical team, nursing team, and our regular pool of locum doctors. We will also have some news very soon about another GP due to be joining us in September.
We are also looking forward to having Dr Gillard back on site with us over the coming months.
We hope you’ll give them a warm welcome!
NHS GP Patient Survey
You may have already seen the GP Survey results in the news, while the coverage may not always be ideal, we’re glad to see awareness being raised as it helps find out what’s going well and what could be better. If you haven’t seen the coverage, patients were asked at random by the NHS to submit a survey for their GP practice, these results are then released centrally by the NHS.
Generally, we have mixed feelings about our results, it highlights areas we should look at and helps us to appreciate the areas we are best at. We have been told that our locality received better results than we would normally expect, which is great news, albeit a little surprising due to the survey unfortunately occurring during a Flu and Strep-A crisis which added additional pressure to local services! Regardless, we are a little disappointed with our practice result and are already planning long term solutions to big issues while attempting some quick fixes in the meantime.
Many of the improvements we have already put in place are taking time to have noticeable improvements, such as the telephone system implemented six months ago, while this is hugely improving waiting times, it is less notable by patients who are less regularly in contact with the practice.
Fortunately, we are thrilled with how our team scored, both reception and the clinical team scored very well, we’re really glad people are recognising our great staff who are doing the best they can with NHS pressures. Internally we are doing our best to help support staff morale and remind our team that issues around access and systems are not the fault of any of the front-line team and the importance of remembering that.
We are aware of other things that cause frustration for patients getting through to us, like the methods of booking appointments which we are considering solutions for. Of course, we would like to improve our scores, but our main aim is and will always be, to provide the best care, for the most people, in the most need and in the most efficient way. If you have any ideas or feedback about improving the patient journey, then please let us know.
A Big Birthday 🎂
We've Been Framed!
Have you spotted our new poster wall?
We've set up a shiny new section of posters in our Lisson Grove Reception foyer and we're already excitedly getting them filled up with useful information.
We're planning to display a mix of information about local services, ways to give feedback and other NHS services.
If there is something you would like to see more of in our displays, please let us know!
The Name Game
We're renaming our rooms! After some debate and group discussions we have decided to theme our rooms around trees, birds and flowers to help us and patients better navigate and communicate! We hope the new names will be more welcoming and clear.
- Woolwell rooms are now named after plants and flowers, such as Arnica, Tulip and Thistle
- Lisson Grove ground floor rooms are named after trees, such as Oak, Pine and Hazel
- Lisson Grove upstairs rooms are named after birds, such as Sparrow, Robin and Dove
Signage and systems are being updated gradually, so apologies for any confusion in the meantime! We hope you like our new system, please let us know if you have any concerns or suggestions!
Thank you for your feedback ❤️
16 tips to prioritise your health and wellbeing
Blue Monday this year is on Jan 16th 2023, so we've put together 16 tips that might help you prioritise your health and wellbeing; and ensure that you are able to take some time out today, or any day for that matter, to focus on you:
- Talk to someone who makes you feel safe. This could be family, a friend, a neighbour or a professional. Sometimes just a chat can make you feel much better.
- Work on your sleep routine. Sleep is important to wellbeing and structure can help. There’s nothing wrong with having a set bedtime!
- We can't expect miracles of ourselves. You're not a superhero, it’s hard to meet life's demands sometimes. On any given day, our best is enough, and our best is different on different days; that’s okay, that is normal.
- Celebrate your wins! Write down 3 things you've achieved today, even if that's 'just' getting out of bed, facing the day can be enough of an achievement.
- Just breathe. Breathe in slowly through the nose to the count of 3, then exhale through the mouth to the count of 6. (Be careful with breathing exercises is you’re pregnant or have health risks!)
- Blow away the cobwebs. Spend a bit of time outside for fresh air and daylight, and with the long nights, maybe consider if you are getting enough Vitamin D.
- Set some little goals for your day to help with sense of purpose. Water the plants, walk the dog, finish that jigsaw, whatever works for you.
- Eat regular and healthy meals to ensure your body is well fuelled. Finding the time to eat well can often be really difficult. If you have times when you're feeling well and enjoying preparing food, try making some extra meals to store.
- Try mindfulness apps on your phone, they can provide really useful techniques.
- Make a Mental Health First Aid Kit. Keep some of your favourite things in a box for the really rough days. Break out that good coffee, a feel-good book, the hidden chocolate, a face mask or craft kit to treat yourself, and maybe add details for Mental health helplines just in case.
- Make time for your favourite things, If something helps you relax, try to fit it into your day. Some people find art, walking, or a bath can help
- If you find that being on your phone or computer a lot is making you feel busier and more stressed, try to take a break. Give yourself a digital detox for an hour or so. (Be careful not to isolate yourself though!)
- Look after yourself. Self-care and hygiene, like brushing your teeth or having a shower can be hard sometimes, but it is important for your health and can help you feel better. If you’re really struggling, try to start small and work your way up, like freshening up with baby wipes or a chewable toothbrush.
- Try to avoid drugs and alcohol. You might feel like using drugs or alcohol to cope with any difficult feelings. But in the long run they can make you feel much worse. Mind has some helpful information on recreational drugs and alcohol
- Write yourself a love letter. When you're feeling good, think about what you would want to tell your future self if things get tough and you find you need more support. Reminding yourself of what's keeping you positive right now can help you through more difficult times in the future.
- Most importantly be kind to yourself, it's okay not to be okay.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, don’t ignore it.
Find out more about mental health here: www.nhs.uk/mental-health