We hope that you are all keeping well and wherever possible, enjoying the better aspects of lockdown – fewer cars on the road, sunshine, thriving gardens etc.
The financial health and well-being of our clients is what Acumen is all about but we are also mindful that our remit often stretches further than this so we will be looking at a few areas where our connections across various disciplines can bring some added value for everyone.
This is the first such article, and it is focused on what has to be the most important thing of all – our health.
Dr Simon Frampton MRCGP, a GP in a local practice, has taken a bit of time out of his day to underline the importance of looking after yourself.
“Quite rightly, we are all focused on protecting ourselves & others from Covid-19 infection at the moment. Nevertheless, GPs like me are also very concerned about the fall-off in the number of patients complaining of symptoms that could suggest cancer. Like so many other practices, I am still holding two surgeries a day, albeit virtual by phone or video link, and they still fill up! However, contrary to expectations perhaps, the problems I am dealing with tend to be musculoskeletal problems or other infections aside from Covid-19.
“Although routine monitoring eg high blood pressure etc is suspended because of social distancing we are still open for other necessary screening like blood tests and immunisations for babies & children. This lockdown is a great opportunity for YOU to take hold of your own monitoring though so if you have high blood pressure, maybe think about buying your own electronic BP machine and keeping a record at home? After all, it’s more important to you & your doctor that your BP is normal out in the community than in the rather false surroundings of a GP surgery. Take a reading twice a week at a time when you’re relaxed, keep a record and then send in, say, 3 months’ worth of readings by post, fax or email. I bet your GP will be absolutely delighted!
“You may already know that the NHS has had a wider concern about the UK’s performance on Cancer diagnosis & treatment when compared to other developed countries. It’s always hazardous to draw too much from this sort of exercise; cultural differences, the manner of delivery of healthcare, etc, can mean you are “comparing apples with pears”. Nonetheless, as mentioned earlier, we have a current serious worry about patients “sitting on” symptoms because they don’t want to attend their GP surgery either from concern about catching Covid-19 there or because they ‘don’t want to bother the doctor’.
“Firstly, you will be infinitely safer in the surgery than the supermarket.
“In all practices, isolation rooms have been set aside in which to see patients, bringing them in one at a time & cleaning the room between consultations, and the healthcare practitioner you’ll see will be wearing PPE to protect you further.
“All the hospital, the ‘within two weeks suspected cancer’ clinics are still working normally throughout this crisis and they DO have the capacity to see all the patients expected at any given time. A major point I would like to get across is that many symptoms that could point to cancer can be referred on to one of these clinics without your having to go to your GP. The service is there to diagnose cancer as early as possible, of course, but it also functions as a way to EXCLUDE cancer, reassure you and discharge you minus your worry.
“In conclusion, I would urge you to call your GP with new symptoms. Every GP would prefer to be able to tell our patients that they are clear of anything serious than have to break the news of a cancer diagnosis. I’m not going to give an exhaustive list of the things that should concern you but I would impress upon you to check on the NHS website where you can get clear, sensible advice on when to contact us.
Don’t forget it’s YOUR NHS: we’re here for you & we want to hear from you! “
We will be bringing you further financial updates, insights and stories from other areas of our work in the weeks to come. We hope you find them interesting and useful and until we can “meet again” we’ll be on the end of the phone and available whenever you need to speak to us.
Best wishes from Angela, Jon and all the Acumen team.