SPRING IS IN THE AIR
It feels like spring is upon us early this year and with it comes a fine coating of pollen. This is the time of year when pollen release is high –this can be a problem for people who are prone to airborne allergies. Other triggers can be dust mites, pet and mould allergies.
Symptoms of hay fever may include a blocked, runny or itchy nose, itchy watery eyes, bouts of sneezing, headaches, or a feeling of pressure over the sinus area.
How hay fever is treated depends on the severity of your symptoms. Mild symptoms can be treated with over the counter medications such as anti-histamines and eye drops. Try and avoid being exposed to the allergen if possible.
For more severe symptoms consult your Doctor. If symptoms last for more than 4 days a week and are affecting your quality of life and other medical conditions please make an appointment to be reviewed.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms treatment may include a prescription for corticosteroid nasal sprays, decongestants (for short term use) and antihistamines.
CHANGES TO OUR TEAM
Introducing Natasha our new Practice Nurse. Natasha is a new grad and joined us at the end of January. We’re sure you’ll enjoy getting to know her. In her spare time she enjoys singing, dancing, painting and doing creative things. She will be working 4 days a week in the Tawa Practice.
Do we have your most up to date details on file? Keeping our database up to date with accurate patient information is a constant challenge. Have you changed address or phone number recently? Have you given up smoking? Do we have the name and contact details for your next-of kin? Please remember to advise us when you make changes which we may need to know about.
COMMUNITY SERVICES CARD
Do we have your current card number on record? Eligibility for some funding relies on you having a current CSC so please update your information with our receptionists the next time you are in.
ZOSTAVAX (SHINGLES VACCINATION)
From April 1st 2018 Zostavax (the Shingles Vaccine) has been FREE for those aged 65-80.We had some problems with supply in the early days but this has now been sorted.
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes Chickenpox. After Chickenpox heals, the virus lays dormant in your nerves and may later reactivate as Shingles. That is why anyone who has had Chickenpox can get Shingles. Shingles is a painful, blistering rash. There are some health conditions which may mean vaccination is contraindicated or should be delayed e.g. if you are under the care of a specialist, are immunosuppressed or have had recent treatment for cancer. Everyone who wishes to have Zostavax is required to complete a screening questionnaire before being given the vaccine, to ensure it is in your best interests to receive it. Zostavax can be given to patients over 50 but if you are not eligible for a free vaccine there is a cost of $250 which includes the nurse consultation. As with every vaccine you must wait 20 minutes after your vaccination to ensure you have no reaction .
COMMUNICATING TEST RESULTS
Just a reminder on the methods we use to let you know about your test results. If everything is normal you won’t hear form us unless your Dr has specifically told you otherwise .If there is anything to be concerned about we will contact you by phone, text, or the patient portal to discuss the results or ask you to make an appointment to discuss what needs to happen next. Depending on the nature of the test you may not be contacted for up to two weeks until we have received all relevant results—your GP or nurse can give you an approximate indication of the timeframe. If you are concerned you haven’t heard from us at the end of the given timeframe, or you are feeling worse, please give us a call.
UPDATING YOUR SMOKING STATUS AND GETTING ADVICE
The Ministry of Health require us to update the data on our patients’ smoking status, and to provide advice re quitting, once a year. Some of you may feel that we are constantly contacting you to update these details, and have stopped replying to us. If you could please respond to our messages or texts then we won’t have to bother you as often.
When you request a prescription either at reception, on the prescription line or by Manage my Health it is important that you give us as much information as you can to assist us in getting you the right medication and the correct dose. If you want it to be faxed or delivered to a pharmacy it is important that you indicate clearly the pharmacy name and address and if possible fax number. Please note an additional fee is charged for same day, faxed or posted prescriptions. If there is a problem with your request a nurse will ring you so please supply us with the contact number you are going to be on. When you receive a letter advising that you need a clinical review with your next prescription please note that it is a good idea to make your appointment in plenty of time before you run out of your regular medications, as at times, appointments are scarce.
BLUE SEPTEMBER PROSTATE CANCER MONTH
We would like to encourage our male patients to make an appointment for a prostate check with a Doctor. Every year over 3000 NZ men are being diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. Early detection can lead to better outcomes.
PAYMENT FOR SERVICES
We appreciate that there are times when your financial circumstances might be difficult, and you may struggle to pay your medical costs. We are here to help you find solutions to work with us but, to do this, we need you to let us know as early as possible if things are getting tough. We do not want this to prevent you from seeking medical care when you need it. Where we can, if you meet the eligibility criteria, we may be able to source additional funding for you. However, there are a number of patients who routinely do not pay their medical fees and do not respond to our attempts to contact them. After many attempts, we will consider referral to a collection agency. This isn’t something we do lightly as it affects your credit rating. We therefore need to remind you of our standard payment terms - we expect payment at the time that the service is provided unless you have entered into a prior arrangement with us. We wish to advise that procedures, such as minor surgery and unfunded vaccinations (e.g. for travel), will incur additional costs. When discussing the need for these your GP or nurse can advise you of the cost. We accept a variety of payment methods; including cash, eftpos, most credit cards and regular Automatic Payments (many patients find this a useful way of “smoothing” out their medical expenses rather than finding a lump sum). Please talk to one of our reception/administration team if you have any concerns regarding your medical costs.