Beechfield PPG

Beechfield Medical Centre (Spalding, Lincolnshire)
Patient Participation Group Newsletter

Number 3
December 2017


Happy Christmas Welcome to the Beechfield PPG's third Newsletter. Our aim is to keep you informed with snippets of information and updates on the Surgery's and our own activities. The PPG's main objectives are published on our web site at do please have a look - we'd welcome any suggestions for improvement or updates.

It's that time of year...

Baby, it's cold outsideCold weather can be seriously bad for your health. That's why it's important to look after yourself, especially during the winter. If you start to feel unwell, even if it's just a cough or a cold, don't wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist.

You are eligible for the free flu vaccine if you are pregnant, are aged 65 years or over, have a long term health condition, or are a carer. Children aged 2 or 3 years are also eligible. It's an important, easy way to stay well through winter, and if you haven't had your free flu vaccination yet contact the surgery on 01775 724088 to check your eligibility and make your appointment.

Cold weather can affect your health in a number of ways. When the temperature drops to below 8C, some people are at increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, flu, pneumonia, slips and falls and hypothermia. Cold weather can also affect people with dementia and depression. (Ed: Cheery soul, our new and much valued writer...)

Be Prepared
The Met Office provides weather forecasts on radio and TV, so listen in to these bulletins regularly to keep up to date with the weather. Severe weather warnings are also issued on the Met Office website, through the Met Office Twitter feed, or you can call the Weather Desk on 0370 900 0100 or 01392 885 680.

How to keep your home warm and protect your health
Follow these tips to keep you and your family warm and well at home:

Keep warm this winter
  • heat your home to at least 18C (65F)
  • keep your bedroom at 18C all night if you can – and keep the bedroom window closed
  • babies should sleep in rooms heated to between 16C and 20C
  • draw curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts
  • get your heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional
  • wear several layers of clothes rather than one chunky layer – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres help to maintain body heat
  • use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but don't use both at the same time
  • have at least one hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep you warm; and make sure you have hot drinks regularly
  • try not to sit still for more than an hour or so indoors – get up and stretch your legs
  • stay active – even moderate exercise can help keep you warm
  • wrap a scarf loosely around your mouth when outdoors – add a hat and wear shoes with a good grip, too. If you have a heart or respiratory problem, stay indoors during very cold weather
  • look in on vulnerable neighbors during cold weather –make sure they are safe and well, have enough food and medicines and that they are keeping warm.

If you're worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174 (8am-7pm every day).

Help with heating costs
You may be able to claim financial and practical help with heating your home. Grants available include the Winter Fuel Payment and the Cold Weather Payment.

The Energy Saving Trust has advice on how to reduce bills and make your home more energy efficient. They can also advise on grants and schemes available around the UK. Find out more online from the Energy Saving Trust or call 0300 123 1234 (9am-8pm Monday to Friday).

It's worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to before winter sets in. For help with claiming benefits, contact the Citizens Advice Bureau on 03444 111 444 or visit their website.

Arts on Prescription

A suggestion for a programme for Spalding

Arts on Prescription, part of social prescribing, is an asset based approach to improving health and wellbeing. It is a programme of regular creative sessions delivered by a professional artist with the support of a mental health professional, for those who are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain or other long term conditions.

The sessions provide a safe and friendly environment to explore various art techniques including: printmaking; felt making; clay work, sculpture, and digital using iPads provided by the artist.

Sessions can last up to 1½ hours but vary depending on participants’ needs and are open to all abilities. They offer transferable benefits. Taking part in something creative gives the opportunity to increase social interaction, confidence, mood and wellbeing, at the same time developing healthy and sustainable communities.

How could it work?
The sessions can be open access and self-referred. However the schemes work better and in a more connected manner if a large majority of the participants are referred by their GP or other health professional, strengthening links between primary care and the arts sector.

Previous collaborations between artists and health professionals have proved to be very effective and above all, enjoyable.

Art on Prescription Finance
An Arts On Prescription project could be part funded by participant donations and contributions from Public Health or by submitting a funding application.

For Further Details Contact:
CAROL PARKER: socially engaged artist
Mobile: 07771 917882
Artist blog

Ruth's Literary recommendations

"As an avid reader and member of a book group I read a wide selection of books so each month I will bring a title that I have enjoyed or that has stayed with me long after I have finished the book."

Cover of Man without a shadow bookThe Man Without a Shadow by Joyce Carol Oates
This book throws up many ethical and moral dilemmas: How far should doctors and scientists go in the pursuit of a cure before it becomes more about advancement in their chosen field and less about the patient's welfare, where they just become subjects for research, often without a name. I realise that without research much treatment and knowledge of illness would not be known but when it is a problem of the mind and it is known no cure can be found it becomes more problematic.

Eli has a 70 second memory recall due to a devastating illness; for the next 30 years Margot (a neuroscientist) tests and retests Eli - always devising new ways of testing. Their lives become entwined in a less than appropriate way on her side and because of his lack of memory every day is new to him. How much was for The Amnesiac (as he is often referred to) and how much was for Margot to receive high accolades in her chosen field? Read this and make up your own mind; I was left disturbed by this very well written book.


The November NAPP Newsletter is now available from our News Page Here

Surgery Christmas 2017 Opening Hours - Here

Surgery closed periods for Training in 2018 - Here

Lincolnshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership Newsletter - Here

The Monthly Vape

If you or someone you know is seriously considering Vaping as a means to stop smoking - Congratulations! Some of the technicalities can be a little confusing so here's Part One of my quick guide to what you need.

Mods and Batteries
A typical tube mod which uses a single 18650 Li-Ion batteryA vaping device is comprised of two main parts; the battery system and the tank. In most cases these screw together using a de facto standardised thread, usually known as a '510'. Most modern battery systems are of the 'mod' type and are a 3rd or 4th generation device using a modern Lithium Ion battery. The battery is usually a '18650' (18mm diameter and 65mm long) and comes in various capacities from about 2000mAh up to over 3500mAh. This is pronounced 'emm ay aitch', or 'milliamp Hour', but not Marr (as in Andrew Marr...). For the average vaper (there is of course no such person) a 3000mAh battery will last up to 2 days. You will need two, and a suitable Li-Ion charger so that one can be charged while the other is in use. Most modern mods have a variable power setting and this is the easiest way to set the amount of energy that goes into the heating element which is part of the tank system. Modern mods have very sophisticated software and a host of other features, many of which will never be required. The power setting is matched to the coil (which is in the tank) to produce a satisfactory vape.

Box mods come in a range of colours, but most use a single 18650 batteryNext month we'll deal with tank systems, but here's a quick word on juices..
Forget the 'we don't know what's in the juices' claim, that's a complete misrepresentation of the truth which is - we know almost exactly what's in the juice (and it's not 'oil' as sometimes claimed). The juice is mixed from Propylene Glycol (PG, widely used in smoke machines and incidentally, anti bacterial), Vegetable Glycerin (VG), a more viscous clear liquid, and a Nicotine base dissolved (usually) in PG, plus a flavour. PG gives a 'throat hit' which any smoker will be familiar with, and VG tends to produce more visible vapour. A heavy smoker will tend to need a higher Nicotine percentage, but the Tobacco Products Directive (thank you EU...), which strangely and unreasonably regulates some aspects of vaping, restricts the maximum amount of Nicotine to 20mg/ml. It's a completely arbitrary figure with no basis in science. Some smokers would be wise to start on 24mg/ml, or even 36mg/ml, but to do that you will need to buy the ingredients (very easy) and mix your own juice. Commercially available juices are available in a plethora of flavours, with Nicotine amounts varying from 3mg/ml up to 18mg/ml. Although strictly speaking against the TPD and UK law, it's still easy to purchase 72mg/ml Nicotine in PG or VG which can easily be mixed with the other ingredients down to lower concentrations. A typical mix for 18mg/ml would thus be PG - 35%, 72mg Nicotine - 25%, VG - 30% and flavour 10%.

Finally, beware of the vendor that insists you need to be using low Nicotine juices and using high powers - they are just trying to sell you more juice. For the maximum effect in helping to stop smoking, start on high Nicotine juice and only use enough power to achieve a satisfactory vape. More next month...

If you or someone you know would like to consider Vaping then please feel free to call Tony Wright on 01775 714303 for unbiased and helpful advice.

Disclaimer: Tony does not speak on behalf of the NHS and has no commercial interests in Vaping!

That's it

That's it for this month, we'd like to wish everyone a Healthy and Happy Christmas. Don't eat too much, don't drink too much, definitely don't smoke too much, and be nice to everyone!

This Newsletter is also available online at

and as a PDF Here

The views and comments expressed in this newsletter are solely those of the members of the BMC PPG and no agreement to or endorsement of them, tacit or otherwise, should be inferred from any other party including the partners, staff or agents of Beechfield Medical Centre.