Beechfield PPG

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

Number 6
March 2018


Only a few weeks to the solsticeLast month we were heralding the start of better weather but best laid plans, and all that, as we currently have 4" of snow (100mm if you're not bi-lingual) and our max/min thermometer registered -6.9 Celcius a couple of nights back! Things will get better, I promise...

The Beechfield PPG's aim is to keep you informed with snippets of information and updates on the Surgery's and our own activities. The PPG has its own web site at do please have a look.

Efficient or, err, not...

Good marks or not South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (SLCCG) have instructed all Community Pharmacies that they may no longer accept Repeat Medication Requests from patients for delivery to Beechfield Medical Centre - the onus is now on patients to deliver their requests directly to us, or to register online with us and make their requests that way. Arrangements have been made for those patients who consider themselves to be "vulnerable" to continue to service their requests through Community Pharmacies on application to the pharmacy. Please note that if you are unable to register for online requests, then the simplest option will be to hand deliver your request outside of normal working hours, and post it in the letterbox for that purpose just to the left of the main entrance to the surgery building.

Please note that this change has not been instigated or driven by the Practice, but we have no choice but to comply with the instructions of the SLCCG in this matter.


Ovarian & Prostate Cancer Awareness month - March 2018

Ovarian cancer image In the UK, 11 women die every day from ovarian cancer. Awareness of ovarian cancer is low, with two-thirds of women diagnosed once the cancer has already spread. The best way to be reduce the risks of ovarian cancer is to be vigilant to the symptoms:

  • Persistent bloating
  • Feeling full quickly and/or loss of appetite
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain (that’s your tummy and below)
  • Urinary symptoms (needing to wee more urgently or more often than usual)
  • Occasionally there can be other symptoms:
    • Changes in bowel habit (eg diarrhoea or constipation)
    • Extreme fatigue (feeling very tired)
    • Unexplained weight loss

Any bleeding after the menopause should always be investigated by a GP.

Target Ovarian Cancer’s campaigns tackle the three biggest barriers to progress: late diagnosis, limited choice of treatments, and the isolation so often felt by women with ovarian cancer. We work with women with ovarian cancer and their families and friends, politicians, policy makers, healthcare practitioners, the media and others in the field to deliver change. For more information, visit their website at or NHS Choices There's also an App to download which can help you track any signs or symptoms, Here

Prostate cancer image Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and it is thought that here in the UK around 36,000 are diagnosed with this terrible disease each year.

4 in 5 men (83%) who are at increased risk of prostate cancer don’t know that they are at greater risk. If you are over 50, of black ethnic origin, or have a close male relative who has had prostate cancer you are at increased risk.

Because of the proximity of the prostate gland in relation to the bladder and urethra, prostate cancer may be accompanied by a variety of urinary symptoms. Depending on the size and location, a tumour may press on and constrict the urethra, inhibiting the flow of urine. Some prostate cancer signs related to urination include:

  • Burning or pain during urination
  • Difficulty urinating, or trouble starting and stopping while urinating
  • More frequent urges to urinate at night
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Decreased flow or velocity of urine stream
  • Blood in urine (hematuria)
  • Blood in semen
  • Difficulty getting an erection (erectile dysfunction) or painful ejaculation

Prostate Cancer UK has a simple ambition – to stop men dying from prostate cancer. Through shifting the science over the next 10 years to focus on radical improvements in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and support, we will stop prostate cancer being a killer. For more information, visit their website at or NHS Choices


World Sleep Day – 16th March 2018

World Sleep Day is an annual event, intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep, including medicine, education, social aspects and driving. It is organized by the World Sleep Day Committee of World Sleep Society (founded by WASM and WSF) and aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep disorders.

Get a good night's sleep The National Sleep Foundation offer these Top Tips for a better night's sleep:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
  • Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Evaluate your room. Your bedroom should be cool, free from noise and free from light.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
  • Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning.
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening.
  • Wind down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading.
  • If you can't sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.

If you’re still having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or to find a sleep professional. You may also benefit from recording your sleep in a Sleep Diary to help you better evaluate common patterns or issues you may see with your sleep or sleeping habits. For more information, visit the National sleep Foundation Website at or or NHS Choices

What's a 'normal' amount of sleep for your age? Check out this link.

And here's a PDF all about sleep. It's long, so try not to doze off while reading it... :-)

Epilepsy Awareness Day - Purple Day - 26th March 2018

Epilepsy is a condition that affects the brain. When someone has epilepsy, it means they have a tendency to have epileptic seizures. Anyone can have a one-off seizure, but this doesn’t always mean they have epilepsy. Epilepsy is usually only diagnosed if someone has had more than one seizure, and doctors think it is likely they could have more. . Epilepsy affects 1 in 103 people in the UK, and can have a serious effect on their lives. It can start at any age and there are many different types. Some types of epilepsy last for a limited time and the person eventually stops having seizures. But for many people epilepsy is a life-long condition.

There are 50 million people worldwide diagnosed with epilepsy, and Purple Day is an international grassroots effort to increase awareness of the condition and its many forms. On March 26th annually, people around the world are encouraged to wear purple and host events in support of epilepsy awareness. For more information, visit the Epilepsy Action website at or NHS Choices

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."

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
Cover of the book, See what I have done

I imagine that many people are familiar with the story of Lizzie Borden of Massachusetts who in 1892 was charged with the hatchet murders of her father and step mother. She was acquitted as the jury could not believe that a woman was capable of such a bloody crime.

A whole industry has grown over the years surrounding this event with many authors having different theories as to the murderer and the reasons why, rather like Jack the Ripper has been regarded in this country.

This book is different in that imagines the events, relationships and atmosphere in this very claustrophobic and unhappy house with much love and hate leading up to that day and the aftermath. It maybe significant that all members were ill in the previous days; were they poisoned or was it the tainted mutton broth which was all they seemed to eat? It is told in four voices and reasons why they may be responsible:

Lizzie: Although her father was wealthy he was mean. and while she was indulged she felt resentment and detested her step-mother.

Emma: the older sister was not at home on that day.

Bridget the maid: wanted to leave their employ.

Benjamin: an evil man with a connection to a maternal uncle who would do anything for money even murder.

Or was it an unknown person, a burglary gone wrong perhaps - you decide...

The house is now a B&B with a museum.


**** Did you know that 1 in 3 women who get breast cancer are over 70? Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re past it!
Know your lemons... and your melons.
Find it hard to imagine what the symptoms of breast cancer might look like? This easy to understand guide (2nd link below) shows what the symptoms might look like, and what to look for when checking your boobs:

**** February NAPP Newsletter now available Here

**** Eating disorders can also affect young children. If you are concerned about your child, you can find help here:
Helpful advice if you have a child suffering from an eating disorder can be found here:


What does - a Nurse Practitioner do?

Nurse Practitioners and the Duty Doctor
Beechfield Medical Centre has three Nurse Practitioners, who work exclusively with the Duty Doctor as part of the practice’s "on the day" Urgent Access Clinic.

Nurse practitioners work closely with Doctors Nurse Practitioners are highly skilled and experienced members of the Primary Care team who have a background in a range of clinical disciplines, which may include Practice Nursing, working in Minor Injury or Minor Illness Units within the Hospital environment, dedicated Walk-In Centres or as a part of the Out of Hours Service. When you need to use the Urgent Access system at the Practice, all patients will be triaged by the Duty Doctor first, via a call back.  From this telephone consultation, the Duty Doctor is able to gauge whether there is a need to be seen at the Practice, and if there is, will normally book an appointment at that time with one of the Nurse Practitioners, as the vast majority of acute issues are well within the vast range of medical disciplines that they are skilled in.

In the event that they need to seek further advice or assistance, they have immediate access to the Duty Doctor – but they can refer externally and prescribe independently as well.


Tonic Health in Spalding

Tonic Health is a Spalding based health and wellbeing charity situated at Broadgate House off Westlode Street. We offer a range of projects and hire out our facilities for complementary therapists, exercise, meetings and training events. Our town centre facilities are all ground floor, step free and fully wheelchair accessible, with on site parking.

Our key projects are for people with dementia and mental health, their carers, and primary aged children offering them diet/nutrition and exercise provision.

We have a weekly dementia café, a dementia day care project, a weekly mental health support group and offer 1:1 peer support for people struggling with their mental health who need some advice and guidance from someone who has lived experience.

All information is on our website: and for news and updates like our facebook page @tonichealthspalding or give us a call on 01775 725059.

Editor's Note: The exercise classes and therapies are paid services but the programmes of support for people with mental health problems and Dementia are free. If food is provided there is a small charge to cover costs.


The Monthly Vape - and 7th March is No Smoking Day

It's true to say that when you are a smoker much of anything to do with smoking and stopping is filtered out. So if you are a smoker, try not to filter this out, but instead have a look at the links below,

NHS Choices stop smoking page, which also includes an App to provide help and advice. It's good to see they also have a link to a separate page for Vaping, Here. The article is generally well balanced, but I wouldn't wait around for a prescription device. There are none, either approved for prescription or in the pipeline.

One other point that struck me; Referring to the TPD (Tobacco Products Directive) which we are obliged to follow (until Brexit), the 'rules' have little to do with safety and quality, and everything to do with EU burocracy and some other aspects of a more shady nature.

To get help in starting to stop the Practice can also provide support and assistance, and certainly point you in the right direction. However, many people get accurate and up to date advice from their already vaping friends, or a Vaping supplies shop. The retail outlets are gaining acceptance with some authorities suggesting moving towards a co-operative scenario. It does seem true that the conventional stop smoking services are losing ground against 'word of mouth', partially because of their late acceptance of the vaping success story.

This Link is a simple to use online calculator which immediately shows how much smoking has cost over 1 or more years.

One bad statistic that's floating around is that the number of people who believe that vaping is much less harmful than smoking has fallen. Unfortunately this is largely due to 'clickbait' or 'junk science' headlines and misleading press releases, oh, and lazy journalists. There is reliable and accurate information about vaping out there, but not everything that's online should be believed, for sure, particularly when it originates from the US or Australia.

Here are a few notable news links from the past month:

The initial outlay to try vaping need be no more than the cost of 2-3 packs of cigarettes - and many people who try substituting vaping for smoking (even partially) will get that money back quickly, sometimes in less than a week. There are many reports of people switching almost overnight, and vaping is statistically more likely to be successful than any of the other commonly used methods. And in many cases, a good deal cheaper too.

And finally, this is the one of the most successful impartial user driven forums, where any questions about vaping will be met with a range of factual and helpful responses:

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

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Thank you to our various contributors - please keep up the good work!

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.