March 2012 Newsletter

Prepare Before Your Appointment »
What Does it Cost the NHS »
Body Image Dance Consortium »
Good Grief – Sculpture Exhibition »
Skin Cancer – BCC »
Shine – small c – Cancer Support »
Prescription Pre-Payment Certificate »

Prepare – Make the most of the time spent with your Doctor

A ten minute appointment is not a long time to tell the Doctor what is wrong with
you, for them to make a diagnosis and decide on a course of action or treatment.
To get the most out of your consultation time a little planning and preparation
on your part can make a huge difference.

To give yourself and the Doctor the best opportunity to get your diagnosis right
first time and reduce any delay in treatment follow six simple steps

Steps To Help You Prepare

  1. Plan ahead – think about why you are going to see the Doctor and write
    down any questions you may have. Make a list of any symptoms, how long you
    have had them, how often they occur and any treatment or medication you have
    been taking to alleviate them.
  2. Explain to the Doctor what has been happening since you first felt
    unwell – this is called ‘the history’ and helps the Doctor to diagnose the
    possible cause of your illness.
  3. Prioritise your problems – your allotted appointment time is only ten
    minutes and if you have a number of problems talk about the one that concerns
    you most first. Don’t talk about minor issues and then just as you are
    leaving say ‘Oh, by the way Doctor I also have a persistent cough/some rectal
    bleeding/a nasty looking mole…etc.
  4. Ask questions – if you are concerned about something you have seen on
    the TV or read in newspapers or if a friend or family member has similar
    symptoms just ask. Also, if the Doctor offers a diagnosis and you are concerned
    about the long term effects or proposed treatment tell the Doctor and ask questions.
  5. Return – if you don’t feel any better or your symptoms don’t improve come
    back to see the Doctor. A diagnosis will become clearer over time as symptoms
    evolve. Don’t ever feel that you are bothering the Doctor unnecessarily.
  6. Explore other options – if you are not happy with the Doctor’s explanation
    it’s OK to challenge them and ask questions. If you think you have an illness
    and the Doctor disagrees they will be able to explain exactly why that is the
    case. If you are still unhappy with the diagnosis you can ask to be seen by
    another Doctor in the Practice for a second opinion.

It is over a hundred years since Lord Baden Powell gave the Scouting movement
the motto – Be Prepared. It is still very good advice.

What Does It Cost The Nhs?

The average GP appointment – £25

A visit to A & E – between £59 to £117

A Walk in Centre or Minor Injuries Unit – £63


Self Care – free advice on a range of conditions, from colds and flu to
backache and stomach upsets from NHS Choices:
– free online help and advice.

NHS Direct 0845 46 47 is a 24/7 phone line for advice and information. Call
costs a max 5p?? (should this be per minute?) from a BT line.

There is also free expert and confidential advice on a range of minor
conditions from your local pharmacy.

And how about taking a First Aid course? How long ago was it when you did one?

Body Image Dance Consortium

BID was set up in April 2011 to produce “Dance 123” – an original score and
dance work intended as a basis for developing a workshop to improve young people’s
relationship with their bodies by developing a positive body image.

A pilot study collaboration between Newcastle under Lyme College (NULC) and
Staffordshire and Derby Universities (funded by Big Lottery) has results which
demonstrate that a BODY IMAGE Workshop has unique benefits in relation to building
self-esteem and confidence.

Both universities and NULC have agreed to go on to develop a proposal for
extended research. It is supported by the national charity Beat as well as
Staffordshire Youth Service, Public Health and Staffordshire Child Heath Service

With sufficient funding they hope to work with a number of Staffordshire’s
young people later in the year to test the pilot study results. Those involved
will take part in a number of exercises exploring awareness of their bodies to
see if the exercises help improve feelings of confidence and self esteem.

There is a mini-documentary at: or

Good Grief: Bald Statements – The Exhibition

A collection of eight alabaster sculptures illustrating the feelings of grief
and loss will be on show at the Douglas Macmillan Hospice during September.

There will be no charge for entry

Sat 8th September10.00am – 1.00pm
Sun 9th September2.00pm – 5.00pm
Thu 13th September5.00pm – 8.00pm
Tue 18th September5.00pm – 8.00pm
Sat 22nd September10.00am – 1.00pm
Sun 23rd September2.00pm – 5.00pm
Wed 26th September5.00pm – 8.00pm

The Douglas Macmillan Hospice is situated on Barlaston Road in Blurton – ST3 3NZ

For further information contact Tina Forrester:

By phone – 01782 344300 or


Visit the website:

Skin Cancer – Basal Cell Carcinoma

It was over 14 years ago I became aware of a red, itchy patch of skin on my
face to the side of my eye. It did not respond to various creams. I went for a
biopsy that confirmed it was Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC). This is the second most
common form of skin cancer after Malignant Melanoma.

It is not usually life-threatening but, if ignored and not treated, over time
it can erode tissue, muscle and bone – usually on the face – leaving gaping holes
near eyes, nose or mouth. These are also known as Rodent Ulcers. Two-thirds
of BCC’s are caused by sun-damage or over-use of sun-beds, but one-third can
occur by a genetic link.

After diagnosis the only treatment I was offered at that time was radiotherapy.
This would have left a white keloid scar and, being near the eye, there was no
guarantee my optic nerve would not be damaged. Plastic surgery was also an
option but being on my face, neither option appealed.

With lengthy research on my part, I discovered Photo Dynamic Therapy (PDT) was
being used to treat this form of skin cancer with amazing results. This was not
available in Staffordshire so I had to go to London for the treatment.

Two years later with a recurrence of it on another area of my face I was
treated at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, as the London hospital was no longer
offering PDT. At a later date, with yet another area of BCC appearing on my
face, I was referred to the Christie Hospital, Manchester.

In Manchester a cream (SPF) was offered which gave me the same amazing results
as PDT. As with PDT, this cream causes the affected area being treated to breakdown
– resulting in a sore, raw area. But after about 2 weeks, new skin grows and,
even better, there is no scar tissue to be seen.

SPF creams and lotions were unheard of in the 40’s and 50’s when I was a child
growing up, nor the knowledge of how much damage the sun and sun-beds could
actually do to exposed, unprotected skin.

ABC (PPG Member)

As mentioned in the above article, some skin cancers can have genetic links,
but it is well worth remembering to put on some sun protection and always wear
a hat in the sun.

Shine – 20-40 something cancer support network:

The small c is a project run by Shine to identify and address some of the unmet
needs of young adults who have a cancer diagnosis. They are looking at hosting a
national multi-day retreat in 2013 for people in the age group 20 to 40 years.

Shine would love to hear from you whether you are interested in finding out
more about the project or want to help shape the event.

They would like to hear about your experiences via an online survey or at one
of their development workshops.

To find out more take a look at the website
or contact by email:

Prescription Pre-Payment Certificate (Ppc)

Do you need 4 or more prescription items every 3 months? Or more than 14 items in 12 months?

You could save money by buying a Prescription Pre-payment Certificate.

Check first whether or not you can get free prescriptions.

There are three ways of buying a PPC:

  1. Ring the order Line: 0845 850 0030
  2. Visit the website:
  3. Fill in an application form – you will find these in the surgery – and post to the address on the form.

You can buy a 3 or a 12 month certificate.

You can pay by Cheque or Postal Order – see note on the application form.

You can pay in 10 monthly instalments by direct debit through your bank or
building society. However, this direct debit option is only available when
buying a 12 month certificate.