December 2018

2019-01-09T10:38:28+00:001st December 2018|Latest blog|

Thanks for joining me for the last blog of 2018.

This month our IVF engagement phase has launched and we want to hear your views on the proposal to change the number of fully funded rounds for patients in Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale. You can read the guidance document and share your views by following this link:

Also this month the Integrated Commissioning Board has agreed changes to the procedures that are used by the Posture and Mobility Service covering Heywood Middleton and Rochdale. The Posture and Mobility Service assesses patients’ needs for wheelchairs and associated equipment. The changes will ensure that processes are more needs-based to help reduce waste and duplication of equipment. This will help to make the best use of resources and deliver a high quality service to those patients who require a wheelchair or other item.  The changes mean that there will be new criteria for patients on the end of life pathway and in care homes for their eligibility to wheelchair. There will also be a different system for the provision of chairs for children and adults who have no postural or permanent mobility need but may use a chair on an infrequent basis. The new system will be monitored and an update on how the service is performing will be provided in 12 months’ time.

It’s that time of year when we GPs are beginning to see more patients with winter bugs and viruses. These spread fast and can be dangerous for some. That’s why it’s so important to protect yourself and those around you this winter.

There’s still time to get to get your flu vaccination and I urge you to book an appointment with your GP or pharmacist if you’re a carer, over the age of 65, pregnant, have a long term health condition like asthma or diabetes, or have a body mass index (BMI) of more than 40. Toddlers aged two and three can get a free nasal flu vaccination at their GP surgery and school age children from reception up to year five can get a nasal vaccination at school with the consent of a parent. Having the flu vaccination is the best way to get protected from the virus, so even though the groups I’ve described are the ones that are seen as at risk and are eligible for a jab courtesy of the NHS, any other adult who wants it can get the flu jab at a pharmacy for a small cost.

It’s also important to keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home, and please make sure you take all medicines that are prescribed for you. Remember: don’t run out of your prescribed medicine either – put in your order for repeat prescriptions in good time. For details of pharmacy opening times over the Christmas and New Year holidays, click here.

If you need an appointment to see a GP or nurse outside standard opening times, there are appointments in the evenings and at selected locations across the Rochdale borough. To book an appointment, call the central booking line on 0161 763 8292. Urgent on the day appointments may be subject to triage.

During the festive period, GP practices in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale will be open as usual 8am-6.30pm on 24, 27, 28 and 31 December. Appointments will be available at ‘extended hours hubs’ on bank holidays 25 December (6.30pm-9pm), and on 26 December and 1 January (8am-6pm). Call 0161 763 8292 to book.

Keeping warm in winter – both indoors and outdoors – can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and even depression. Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F) and try to have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day to give you energy.  Look out for family, friends and neighbours who may be more vulnerable over the winter, too. Keep in touch with them and help them stock up on food and medication.

Crucially, know where to go for urgent medical help if you need it. Unless it’s a 999 emergency, you can get urgent medical help online at or by calling 111.

You can find more information on how you can help us to help you stay well this winter on our website here or tune in to our  HMR Healthy Advent calendar for healthy tips on social media. We’ve launched this to help local people to stay healthy, safe and well over the festive period. The advent calendar is available on Twitter @NHSHMR and on Facebook NHS.HMR. The campaign hashtag is #HMRHealthyAdvent – check it out and join the conversation.

That’s it for now and I would like to wish you all a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.

Thanks for reading

Dr Chris Duffy