What you need to do to get the best from your health service

Could a private GP help me?

exist increasing number of surgeries by private GPs offering help online or in person, often on the same day, for example through Boots, Superdrug or Bupa. According to the British Medical Association, as long as the GP is fully registered, they can also refer you to the NHS for further diagnosis, tests, treatment or a hospital consultant. This will be treated in the same way as a referral from an NHS GP.

Patients do not need permission from an NHS GP to go to an independent private GP service.

How can a pharmacist help me?

Pharmacists have at least five years of training and can offer treatment for many minor ailments, from coughs, colds, and minor skin conditions to conditions such as conjunctivitis and fungal nail infections, persistent minor pain or digestive problems, as well as immunizations and health checks. .

This makes them good people to see if you can’t get an appointment with your GP as quickly as you’d like. If you develop a more serious illness, the pharmacist can refer you for an urgent appointment with your GP or refer you to an urgent care facility, such as the emergency department, if necessary.

In an upcoming pilot plan, staff at community pharmacies will refer directly to hospitals if they detect signs of cancer. People with symptoms including a cough that lasts three weeks or more, difficulty swallowing or blood in the urine can be referred for scans and check-ups without needing to see a GP.

How can I save on repeat prescriptions?

If you need regular supplies of medication but aren’t eligible for free prescriptions, you can save money with a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC).

A PPC covers all your NHS prescriptions, including NHS dental prescriptions, no matter how many items you need. A three month PPC costs £30.25 and will save you money if you need more than three prescription items in three months. A 12-month PPC costs £108.10 and will allow you to save if you need more than 11 items prescribed in a year. You can save up to £340.70 a year if you need four items each month and have a 12-month PPC, and you can pay the PPC in ten monthly direct debit installments. You may buy a PPC online and will be effective from the day you submit your application. Or call the PPC order line on 0300 330 1341.

How can I persuade my doctor to give me a new drug or test me?

The websites of many charities have lists of clinical trials for people with relevant conditions. For example, Cancer Research has a database of clinical trials with information on how to get involved: cancerresearchuk.org.

The website Be part of the investigation allows you to search for trials in the UK for different conditions. The NHS website also has information on trials.

Can I skip the waiting list?

Medical waiting lists are not like bus lines. Lists are prioritized based on need, so two people referred for the same condition on the same day may end up waiting at different times. But did you know that in most cases you have the legal right to choose the hospital or service you would like to go to, as well as the clinical team led by a consultant or designated healthcare professional? You could even choose a private hospital if it provides services to the NHS and costs the health service no more than a referral to an NHS hospital.

Your GP should discuss your options.

Often you will be given a reference number and password to book your own appointment online or over the phone. Before accepting or booking your first hospital appointment, you can use the my planned carThe website to compare waiting times in different hospitals. The Patients’ Association has estimated that patients may need to travel just 13 miles to reduce waiting times by more than three months.

Under England’s NHS Constitution, patients have a legal right to start non-urgent consultant-led treatment within 18 weeks of being referred by a GP, unless they choose to wait longer or there is a reason. clinic to do it. According to the NHS: “You have a legal right to request that you be seen or treated by a different provider if you are likely to wait longer than the specified maximum waiting time for your treatment.” It says, “The hospital will need to research and offer you a variety of suitable alternative hospitals or clinics that can treat you sooner. If you are not satisfied with the organization’s response, you can make a complaint by following the NHS complaints procedure.

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