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Other Information

General Practitioner Registrar and Students

Our practice is a training/teaching practice. Our GP registrars are fully qualified and have a great deal of hospital experience. GP registrars are usually attached to our practice for 12 months. They are at all times encouraged to seek advice when required from the practice partners. The practice also has Foundation Year (FY2) doctors attached for 4-month periods, who are supervised in the same way as registrars.

We are also fortunate to have medical students attached to our practice for short periods. If you do not wish to have the student present during your consultation please inform the reception staff prior to seeing the doctor.

When booking an appointment you may be offered an appointment with one of our GP registrars/FY doctors.

Medical Research

The staff at this practice record information about you and your health so that you can receive the right care and treatment. We need to record this information, together with the details of the care you receive, so that it is available each time we see you.

The information recorded about you may be used for reasons other that your personal care for example, to help protect the health of the general public, to plan for the future, to train staff and to carry out medical and other health research.

We are involved in research studies which require access to anonymous information from patients' notes. You cannot be identified from these notes as all personal details (name, address, post code, full date of birth) are removed. Individual patients' records are added into much larger anonymous databases from many patients across the UK which is used by researchers outside this practice. This will not affect your care in any way.

If anything to do with the research would require that you provide addtional information about yourself, you will be contacted by your GP to see if you are willing to take part; you will not be identified in any published results.

You have a right of access to your health records. If at any time you would like to know more, or have any concerns about how we use your information, please ask reception for more details.

Chaperones

Downs Way Medical Practice is committed to providing a safe, comfortable environment where patients and staff can be confident that best practice is being followed at all times and the safety of everyone is of the paramount importance.

There are occasions where there is the potential for abuse of a person placed in a vulnerable position, and conversely false allegations to be made. This can have serious, long-term consequences for all those involved and my not come to light for many years. This policy is designed to protect patients, staff and doctors from abuse or allegations of abuse and to assist patients to make an informed choice about their examinations and consultations.

Doctors and nurses (both male and female) should consider whether an intimate or personal examination of the patient (both male and female) is justified, or whether the nature of the consultation poses a risk of misunderstanding. There may be a rare occasion when an independent witness to a consultation might be prudent.

If so, the doctor or nurse should explain the nature of the examination, procedure or consultation and the patient must be offered the choice to have a chaperone present in the room during the examination or consultation.

The patient should be offered a trained member or staff to provide the chaperone. It may be embarrassing to the patient if a staff member is known to them, so a choice of alternative staff member may be necessary. If necessary another appointment can be made for the examination - in which case this decision should be recorded.

The patient can refuse a chaperone, and if so this will be recorded in the patient's medical record.

There may be rare occasions when a chaperone is needed for a home visit, in which case the practice will provide an appropriately trained member of staff.

Freedom Of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 obliges the practice to produce a Publication Scheme. A Publication Scheme is a guide to the ‘classes’ of information the practice intends to routinely make available. This scheme is available from reception.


Zero Tolerance

The practice supports the NHS policy of zero tolerance with regard to violence or abuse to the doctors, staff or others on the practice premises or other locations where treatment may take place. Persons abusing this policy may be reported to the police and removed from the practice list.


Clinical Commissioning Group

The practice is part of the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clincal Commissioning Group (DGS CCG).

You can contact the Group at:
DGS CCG
Floor 2
Gravesham Civic Centre
Windmill Street
Gravesend
DA12 1AU

Tel: 0300 042 4913


Self Treatment Of Common Illnesses And Accidents

Many common aches and pains can be simply treated at home without the need to consult a doctor.

Back Pain
Back pain causes 13 million working days to be lost in Britain each year. The spine supports the whole weight of the upper body so it is understandable that it sometimes goes wrong.

Because of the complex nature of the spine it is advisable to consult your doctor if back pain persists for more than a few days. If, as is usual, the pain has been caused by abuse ie lifting too heavy weights etc, be sensible and take things easy. Take care to sit as upright as possible with a support for the small of the back.

Take aspirin or paracetamol which will not only relieve the pain but will help to relieve inflammation. Your doctor may well prescribe stronger drugs, heat treatment, gentle exercise or some kind of supportive corset.

Bed Sores
Bed sores are far easier to prevent than cure. They are caused by prolonged pressure to certain parts of the body when lying in bed for long periods. They can be prevented by encouraging the patient to shift position as often as possible. Take care to smooth out creases in the bottom sheet to avoid irritation. If red marks appear at the pressure points such as heels, elbows, buttocks and hips, inform the doctor before they get worse.

Burns
Apply large quantities of cold water to the affected area as soon as possible and maintain this until the pain subsides. This may take as long as 15 minutes! If the skin is unbroken but blistered, apply a loose, dry dressing.

If the burn is larger than four or five inches in diameter or if the skin is broken, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Colds
Even in this day and age there is still no magic cure for the common cold. Go to bed, take plenty of drinks. If you have a headache or are feverish, take aspirin or paracetamol. Do not bother to take antibiotics as these will have no effect!

Diarrhoea
In adults, diarrhoea is usually caused by a viral infection and is therefore unable to be treated directly. The symptoms can usually be eased by the traditional kaolin and morphine mixture or by medicines containing codeine.

Holiday diarrhoea is often due to bacteria. Again, kaolin and morphine can be taken.

Consult your doctor if the symptoms persist for more than a few days.

Diarrhoea in very young children and babies needs careful attention. Most babies have loose bowel action during their first six months due to their predominantly liquid diet. Sudden bouts of unusually watery diarrhoea should be treated by taking the baby off solids and feeding them a cooled solution of boiled water with a teaspoon of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt to the pint. If the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, or are accompanied by vomiting or weakness, consult your doctor.

Gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis describes a group of diseases affecting the stomach or part of the intestine. Symptoms are often diarrhoea, sickness and stomach ache. Because the lining of the stomach is likely to be inflamed medicines are often immediately vomited up.

Large quantities of water, orange juice, milk or thin soup should be taken to counter the effects of dehydration. Consult your doctor if symptoms persist for more than a day or, in the case of babies or young children, six hours.

Stomach Ache
Most attacks are not serious and are usually caused by indigestion or wind. A hot water bottle will often relieve the symptoms and, in the case of indigestion, a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in half a glass of water will help.

If the pain lasts for longer than eight hours or increases in intensity you should consult your doctor.

Sprains
Treat with a cold compress, containing ice if possible, for 15 to 30 minutes to reduce the swelling.

Then apply, firmly, a crepe bandage and give the sprain plenty of rest until all discomfort has subsided.

Further strain will inevitably lead to further swelling and a longer recovery period.

Nosebleeds
Sit in a chair, lean forward with your mouth open, and pinch your nose just below the bone for approximately 10 minutes, by which time the bleeding should have stopped. Avoid hot drinks or hot food for 24 hours. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

Minor Cuts And Grazes
Wash the wound thoroughly with water and a little soap. To stop bleeding apply a clean handkerchief or dressing firmly to the wound for about five minutes. Cover with a clean dry dressing.

Sunburn
Treat as for other burns with cold water to remove the heat. Calamine lotion will relieve the irritation whilst paracetamol will also help.

Children are particularly susceptible to sunburn and great care should be taken to avoid overexposure to the harmful effects of the sun.

Insect Bites And Stings
Antihistamine tablets can be obtained from the chemist without prescription and will usually relieve most symptoms.

Note: bee stings should be scraped away rather than ‘plucked’ in order to avoid squeezing the contents of the venom sac into the wound.

Head Lice
These creatures, contrary to popular belief, prefer clean hair and are, therefore, not a sign of poor personal hygiene. Medicated head lotion can be obtained from the chemist without prescription.

Chickenpox
On the first day a rash appears as small red patches about 3-4mm across. Within a few hours of these developing, small blisters appear in the centre of these patches. During the next three or four days further patches will appear and the earlier ones will turn ‘crusty’ and fall off.

Calamine lotion may be applied to soothe the often severe itching. Cool baths may also help. The most infectious period is from two or three days before the rash appears and up to five days after this date. Children may return to school as soon as the last ‘crusts’ have dropped off.

German Measles (Rubella)
The rash appears during the first day and usually covers the body, arms and legs in small pink patches about 2-4mm across and doesn’t itch. No other symptoms are usually present apart from occasional aching joints.

It is infectious from two days before the rash appears, until the rash disappears in about four or five days from that date.

The only danger is to unborn babies and, therefore, it is important that all contacts are informed in order that anyone who may be pregnant can contact their doctor.
Immunisation can prevent this disease.

Measles
The rash is blotchy and red and appears on the face and body around the fourth day of illness. It is at its most infectious from two or three days before the rash appears until eight or ten days after that date.
Immunisation can prevent this disease.

Mumps
Symptoms are swelling of the gland in front of one ear often followed, after a couple of days, by swelling in front of the other ear. It is infectious from two or three days before the swelling appears until eight or ten days after that date. If the pain is severe you should consult your doctor. Immunisation can prevent this disease.

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