Author Archives: Tom Dew

  1. Help Us Help You – Lung Cancer

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    Today, NHS England and NHS Improvement, together with Public Health England, are launching the ‘Help Us, Help You’ lung cancer campaign to encourage people with a cough lasting three weeks or more and who don’t have COVID-19, to contact their GP practice.

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some members of the public are reluctant to use NHS services, citing concerns about being exposed to the virus and not wanting to be a burden on the NHS.

    In addition, there is a lack of awareness that a cough for three weeks or more on its own can be a sign of lung cancer, and a need to remind the audience to act on a persistent cough and not wait to see if it resolves.

    While a cough for three weeks or more is probably nothing serious, it could be a sign of something that needs treatment. If it is cancer, finding it early makes it more treatable1 and can save lives.

    The ‘Help Us, Help You’ lung cancer campaign has released a powerful video, featuring Sir Andrew Strauss, Gaby Roslin and members of the public who have first-hand experience of how lung cancer can affect you, your friends and your family.

    The video urges people to contact their GP practice if they’ve had a cough for three weeks or more and don’t have COVID-19. It also encourages friends and family to support a loved one if they are concerned for their health. 

    Your NHS is here to see you, safely. Help Us, Help You.

    Visit nhs.uk/cancersymptoms for more information.

  2. Possible changes to how you collect your prescriptions at Kingston Hospital

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    Help Kingston Hospital decide by sharing your views in this short survey

    The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in lots of changes to the way our patients access health services. This has allowed us to test new ways that people can get their hospital prescriptions. Some of these changes could be made more permanent, but we need know what you think about them first.

    Please share you views by taking 5 minutes to complete the online survey linked below. The closing date is Friday 5th February

  3. Tools and resources to help your mental health and wellbeing

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    It is normal and okay to feel upset, anxious or confused at times. 

    You might be feeling anxious and worried about coronavirus and that it could be affecting your mental health. It has never been more important for each of us to think and talk more about mental health and wellbeing, and to seek support when needed. 

    In London, there are a range of free resources, online tools, and helplines available to help you cope and stay mentally healthy. 

    You should know that even though things can feel very hard at times, support is available for whatever you are going through.

    In this short training video, you can learn more about resilience and get lots of practical ideas and inspiration about how you can strengthen your own ability to adapt well to stressful circumstances.

    Simple ways to improve your wellbeing

    Thrive LDN has put together a list of little things you can do to keep yourself well and some useful ways to get support if you are finding it hard. 

    If you’re feeling anxious or stressed about work, housing or financial difficulties, then explore the helpful range of resources and guidance on City Hall’s Hub.

    Available support now – online tools to help your mental health

    The NHS-approved digital mental wellbeing service, Good Thinking, promotes proactive self-care for the four most common mental health conditions: anxiety, low mood, sleeping difficulties and stress. Take the clinically validated self-assessment tool to get a better understanding of what you’re going through, helpful resources and if necessary, relevant treatment options.

    To help build resilience and maintain good wellbeing, there’s a range of resources for everyone at Every Mind Matters. Including an interactive quiz, the Your Mind Plan, to get top tips and advice relevant for you.

    NHS wellbeing webinars

    A collection of NHS Coping Well During Covid webinars are available if you are feeling anxious about coronavirus and how it is impacting you, your loved ones or your work. The 60-minute sessions will guide you through ideas and tools to support your mental health and wellbeing in an evidenced based and interactive way.

    The webinar topics include managing wellbeing, anxiety, low mood, sleeping difficulties, and mindfulness. Additionally, there are also specific webinars on managing financial anxiety and working from home and staying well.

    NHS psychological treatments

    If you do not require urgent support but are still concerned about your mental health, contacting your GP is a good place to start.

    You can also refer yourself for free, non-urgent NHS psychological therapy (IAPT) services which provide evidence-based treatments for depression and anxiety. These services are open in London [or borough] if you feel like you may need further, professional support. You can find your local service here.

    Getting urgent help for mental health

    A mental health emergency should be taken as seriously as a physical one. You will not be wasting anyone’s time.If you have an existing mental health condition and an assigned care team or care worker, then it’s important to contact them. 

    NHS urgent mental health helplines are for people of all ages. You can call for:

    • 24-hour advice and support – for you, your child, your parent or someone you care for
    • help to speak to a mental health professional
    • an assessment to help decide on the best course of care

    Alternatively, when life is tough the Samaritans are here to listen at any time of the day or night. You can talk to them about anything that’s troubling you, no matter how difficult. Call free on 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website.

    Shout offers confidential 24/7 crisis text support for times when you need immediate assistance. Text SHOUT to 85258 or visit Shout Crisis Text Line.

    The bereavement care charity Cruse is helping families affected by coronavirus. Call free on 0808 808 1677 or visit the Cruse website.

    Useful links

    Financial anxiety and personal difficulties – Debt Free London

    Support for sudden bereavement

  4. Please do not contact the NHS before you’ve had an invitation to be vaccinated

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    The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus. The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.

    We will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then. Vaccinations are by appointment only – please don’t turn up to the hospital to be vaccinated unless you have a vaccination appointment.

    At this time, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals to:

    • some people aged 80 and over who already have a hospital appointment in the next few weeks
    • people who work in care homes
    • health care workers at high risk

    The vaccine will be offered more widely, and at other locations, as soon as possible.

    The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

    Further information:

    For more information visit the NHS England website

    Update 5 January 2021: If you are over the age of 80 and are due to attend an appointment at Kingston Hospital this week, you may be offered the COVID vaccination.

  5. The people’s choice… vote for your favourite animation

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    In spring 2020, first year students from the University for the Creatives Arts embarked on a project with patients and staff to create a short animated film to help people understand pain

    Amazingly students worked through lockdown, battling with technical limitations and the challenges of remote working to come up with their creative endeavours.  The work of four teams was shortlisted over the summer and now your help is needed to choose the winning film.

    You can watch the shortlisted films by clicking on the links below (around 2-3 minutes each) and then vote for your favourite:

    Voting closes on Thursday 24 December

  6. Think you need to go to A&E? Think NHS 111 First

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    If you need urgent, but not life-threatening care, call NHS 111 before turning up to an emergency department. If, following a conversation with NHS 111, it is appropriate for you to attend the emergency department you may be scheduled a time to attend.

    Thinking NHS 111 First will also help you get to the most appropriate service when you may not have to attend the emergency department. This could include self-care or a slot at your GP practice, a GP hub or a nearby Urgent Treatment Centre.

    You can still go to ED and UTC without calling ahead but thinking “NHS 111 First” will mean: ​

    • Shorter waiting times ​via a booked slot at the emergency department or another appropriate service and
    • safe social distancing away from busy emergency department waiting rooms to protect you and others from COVID-19​.

  7. How people access urgent care in London is changing – Think NHS 111 First

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    From next week, anyone who needs urgent, but not life-threatening care is advised to call NHS 111 before turning up to an emergency department in London. If, following a conversation with 111, it is appropriate for someone to attend the emergency department they may be scheduled a time to attend.

    A national advertising campaign will launch next week to support this change, and we will be backing this up locally with a Kingston Hospital focused campaign.

    Tracey Moore, Director of Operations at Kingston Hospital said: “Thinking NHS 111 First will mean that people will be directed to the most appropriate service and may not require to attend the emergency department. These services include self-care, GP practice appointments, GP hub appointments and the Teddington Urgent Treatment Centre. For those who still need to access the emergency department, they will be given an appointment which will reduce the time that they have to wait to be seen.”

    The communications campaign will encourage people with serious or life-threatening illnesses or injuries to continue to dial 999.


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